LAG understands that the application process should take no longer than one hour to complete. Detailed notes on how to apply and the eligibility criteria will be available on the website later today. Grants of between £40,000-70,000 will be made to frontline advice providers in England
See the LAG News Blog for further information, here:
Post by Patrick Torsney on Nov 28, 2011 12:23:41 GMT
Some info from the site:
The Government has made up to £16.8 million for a programme called the Advice Services Fund to support organisations in the free advice sector that have been affected by reductions in public spending. The programme aims to enable not-for-profit advice organisations to continue providing free services to people in their communities in England.
Grants of £40,000 - £70,000 are available and, to ensure this funding has the greatest impact, priority will be given to organisations that have experienced high levels of cuts and those that haven’t received funding through the Transition Fund. Account will also be taken of how applicants plan to use their grants, their plans for the future, including ways to improve efficiency, and how the quality of their advice services helps meet local needs.
The Government has identified four categories of advice that the Advice Services Fund will support, as they have been advised by the sector that these are the areas of greatest demand for free advice services. The Advice Services Fund categories are:
Advice on debt Advice on welfare benefits Advice on housing Advice on employment
Follow the link in the previous message for more information
I think the criteria of the fund is appalling, and I wrote to Nick Hurd last week to point out the inconsistencies - mainly that it doesn't seem set to target the gaps in provision of specialist advice that the Legal Aid reforms will produce when many areas go out of scope in 2013 (probably).
Looking at the criteria today, I also realise that there is no mention of specialist advice in the fund's criteria. So the fund may end up increasing the provision of initial generalist advice, without any casework and representation services for those people who need them.
Cack-handed is the most complimentary thing I could say about it.
Assuming everyone who bids gets the lowest amount (£40k), the £16.8 million will be shared amongst a maximum number of 420 organisations in England. I would have thought that it is going to be terribly over-subscribed; not least, as Apek rightly points out, because the Fund does not appear to be specific to specialist advice services as opposed to generalist
I doubt this is an accidental omission on the Government's part. For example, it may have felt acknowledging the need for specialist assistance in these areas of law might have gone against much of what it is saying in the current legal aid reform programme
Who knows. I'd be interested to hear what others think about the Fund
1. Immigration advice doesn't qualify as 'the sector' advised the government that there is more demand for employment cases. Really...? the government impact assessment forecast a reduction in 37,300 legal help immigration cases against 13,300 employment cases...
2. Am I correct that the 10% cut in legal aid fees this year won't, in itself, qualify an organisation to even apply? (the fee cut came in midway through 2011-12 and organisations need to show an OVERALL reduction in funding of 10% for 2011-12 compared to 2010-11)
Post by Colin Henderson on Nov 28, 2011 15:17:56 GMT
They create a fund which is actually big enough to give EVERY NfP delivering SWL legal aid at least a 40k boost, (see my previous calcs) but then say you have to show your SWL funding stream has reduced by 10% when their own fee cuts will show a projected reduction in income up to March 2012 of about 3% (as old cases get billed through).
So you have to demonstrate other existing cuts to SWL funding to qualify, and it's as clear as mud whether core funding cuts (which are the main ones experienced so far) will even count, and it seems agencies without specialist SWL advice can have a try.
What seems clear is that core cuts announced for April 2012 are irrelevant. So those facing that scenario are stuffed. Seems its designed only for agencies who have already survived substantial cuts this year - what's the point of that?
Anyone would think it's designed NOT to help us survive next year.
Oh, right, now I get it...
PS. Very prescient (and polite) letter, apek - do let us know when you get your reply.
Post by Richard Wilkinson on Nov 28, 2011 15:46:24 GMT
Presumably if you have had some sort of monster claw back from our comrades at Provider Assurance or some other sort of cash recovered by via FS, you may well be eligible as you have 10% less cash than the previous year?
Post by Colin Henderson on Nov 28, 2011 16:38:49 GMT
And presumably if an agency took the decision NOT to bid in the last SWL contract round and instead gave up on legal aid in Nov 2010, but continued to provide some sort of SWL eg through FIF, etc. then they will be able to easily demonstrate a contraction of SWL advice services over 10% of income between last year and this, whereas those of us who persisted with legal aid will not?
Or if you decided to (or were compelled to) bid for a smaller LSC contract, then same applies - you qualify, whereas those who were successful and won more LSC work, and are therefore most exposed to the effect of the 10% fee cut next year, won't qualify.
I think we need to start a top ten list of the perversities of these criteria.
paulsweeting Point 2 - It's the total annual funding from public sources that counts, 2010-11 vs. 2011-12, so the 10% cut in fees from October won't in itself (ironically) make your organisation eligible.
Interestingly, SWL schedules only run until February. I don't see how anyone could assume what the schedules for February to March and beyond would be, so this may help towards your 10% cut in funding. I have asked the Big Lottery Fund to clarify this point.
Post by Richard Wilkinson on Nov 28, 2011 21:20:34 GMT
I am thinking of fessing up to a few dodgy cases we MAY have claimed, then am going to extrapolate my findings across the organisation. I will work out the amount overclaimed and write a cheque to the LSC just enough so we can show the 10% loss.
We are used to jumping hurdles to get cash. However, is this the first time we have had to limbo under a bar to get some?