The Advice Services Alliance released the following statement about this online forum:
"ASA welcomes the ‘Legal Aid: have your say' online forum and hopes that advice agencies will use the forum to express their views on the Carter report and the joint LSC/DCA consultation paper on legal aid."
Sophie Brookes, Legal Services Policy & Development Manager Citizens Advice made the following statement:
"I think that 'Legal Aid: Have your say' will be a really useful tool for all NfPs with LSC contracts. It is vital that bureaux and other advice agencies can share opinions across the advice networks and inform each other's work and responses to the DCA/LSC consultation."
Michael Eddowes, CLS Support Director made the following statement:
"The creation of the ‘Legal Aid: have your say’ online forum is important because it allows individuals in advice agencies and networks and others to comment, and share their ideas, on the proposals in the Carter report and the ‘sustainable future’ consultation paper.
I hope especially that advice agencies will it use it to express their views on these documents, which propose massive changes to the relationship between the Legal Services Commission and Not-for-Profit agencies holding a legal aid contract.
I wish the online forum every success in the months ahead."
Phil Jew, Head of Policy & Communications adviceUK[/sup] made the following statement:[/b]
"This is a positive move. We'll be encouraging our members to take part and would like to use comments in drafting our response to the DCA/LSC consultation paper."
Vera Baird QC MP, Government Minister responsible for Legal Aid, made the following statement:
"I will keep taking a look at the forum when and as it progresses and I do welcome it. All the best with it."
Ms Baird has also asked that we again stress that this forum is not a substitute for responding formally to the [sustainable future] consultation, which we are happy to do
I think its a great idea - nice one! Good to see what other people are saying - helps me understand the issues as I'm pretty new to this sector. JUdging by the numbers of 'guests' it looks like people are reading the stuff but not registering their support?
Post by Patrick Torsney on Aug 22, 2006 7:51:44 GMT
I'm glad you've found the forum useful too! I've had lots of supportive messages and emails from a wide range of people over the last couple of days, including network reps. I've even had an email from Vera Baird QC MP saying she welcomed the forum and will be checking back to see how it's getting on - if that isn't a reason to get involved then I don't know what is!
The key thing at this stage is to continue supporting the forum by posting messages and moving the discussions along. I also want to get away from just one person registering on behalf of their whole organisation - this isn't how this forum works - everyone in the organisation, from admin worker to director, who might be affected should register, even if it is just to show their support through increasing the total volume of users and adding their voices/votes to the polls
The forum is only 1 DAY OLD TODAY! So we've got a long way to go yet!
I'm very pleased to see the articulate and thought provoking comments that have already been posted by registered users and fully expect that these discussions will continue. In addition to these broader conversations, I will be posting additional discussion areas at the end of the week which will try to capture individual caseworker's and supervisor's views on their particular subject categories e.g. "What do you as a debt caseworker think about the LSC proposing to pay you £127 per case (approx 2.5 hours per completed matter)? If you think it is too low then what evidence have you got to support this: tell us what an 'average' case means to you!"
I think there is a massive amount of untapped evidence out there so hopefully users of the forum will register and let us know about it - come on people who actually do the work, register and tell everyone about it!
There are lots of other things that will be introduced over the coming weeks as people get more used to and involved with the forum - already a success after day 1 and a long way to go yet - watch this space!
Well done Patrick - I look forward to joining the debate. I think the proposed changes are adding a tremendous amount of stress for many practioners and organisations struggling to keep up with the existing multiplicity of demands that come with funding - the need for a view from the front line has never been more urgent. Ryszard Opasiak Harlow Welfare rights & Advice
Post by Mr Fiona T. Wardle on Aug 25, 2006 12:36:32 GMT
Good hello people.
A very large tip o' the hat to Patrick for getting this thing up and running. I have been telling everybody I can think of who might be interested about it. I have to say it is taking me a little while to get used to the structure of the thing, but I think that is down to my limited experience of using such forums on t'net rather than the particular set up here.
Wrarzo is right, this consultation and the proposals behind it really do call out for every single practitioner on the front line - as well as their supervisers, managers, employers etc, to make their feelings known. The proposals for change appear fundamental in nature, not just tinckering aruond the edges, and once changed, opportunity to alter will be limited. So lets look forward to greater involvement in these forums.
Fiona T. Wadrle - Money Advice Caseworker, Berwick upon Tweed CAB
Thank goodness someone is organising a response from us at the coalface. I will look forward to adding my support (assuming I have time to do this and see god knows how many clients per week!!!) Laina West - LSC Specialist Debt Adviser, Canterbury District CAB
I believe that as many of us should be contributing our views in this forum. However I have noticed that whilst a lot of people are reading the messages there doesn't seem to be many people adding messages. Probably the main reason is that because of the pressure on all of us to reach our monthly hours ,we simply don't have the time? I am lucky in that I have the lowest target within our unit - that was down to the LSC reducing the housing contract some years ago.
But having our say here is very important so I would urge everyone to get involved. If the LSC get their way , we will all be moaning about the pressures we are under so we need to get involved now.
At least I wouldn't feel like I was "hogging " the message board!
I agree with Hgvseven. I viewed the forum for sometime before getting around to registering and adding anything.
I have to say it's very useful for me, living in my particular network advice bubble, to see what other networks/organisations are saying what they do and what they might do to cope with the changes. I also like the fact that there is a range of information and I can find what I want to find in one place without having to search around. Thank you.