I've glanced at the contract spec now and it is indeed a dumbed-down joke. For example work-related cases are simply referred to ACAS.
Here are a few quotes to give you the flavour: "the new service is not intended to be a source of legal advice; that should only be provided by professionally qualified lawyers ... The new service should empower people to resolve their problems informally"
"the advisor is supporting the individual but not representing or assisting the individual in the way that a qualified lawyer would do. It is the responsibility of the new service to ensure that their advisors do not exceed their remit and lead clients to believe they are providing legal advice as would be provided from a qualified lawyer."
"advisors will not be advising on the merits of a particular case. Their role is to identify whether there is a potential breach of discrimination law and if so to advise clients on the options available to resolve the matter"
Post by Colin Henderson on Feb 23, 2012 9:18:00 GMT
I think you're missing my point, network.
Obviously the LCF or individual law centres staffed by lawyers are not going to be interested in tendering for an inadequate non-lawyer call-centre to replace their own casework service. Can't imagine any staff would be willing to do it.
I'll spell it out. I did not post this as an example of a failure to work in partnership in winning contracts, it's an example of one of the big networks having no qualms about picking the bones of another's dead contract rather than taking any steps to show solidarity and resist the government's attack on the EHRC in particular and advice provision generally. Do you really think the government didn't have an inkling who might come forward if a cheap little call-centre contract was dangled BEFORE they came up with this plan?
I think you have missed my point. The fact is over 4000 people have supported the campaign to ensure that SWL law and advice services are not cut.
The new call centre service will ensure that hardworking and dedicated staff, legal and non legal advisors will be affected by these changes. I can not understand why one large provider would then bid for this contract without discussing or partnering with other providers.
It is all right saying, we as (Lawyers) would not dirty are hands with such a service, however if your jobs are at threat and you have a mortgage or children, you may welcome the chance of keeping employed with an income.
I simply do not get why, the large providers are not partnering. If this is happening on a national level, god help the local community groups, who will also face the threat of the large providers tendering for their local contracts.
For once I have some element of agreement with you network. There has always been a fear that when it came to the crunch with the cuts CitA would gobble up any contracts/funding coming up and the rest of the providers would be left out in the cold. There are areas where CitA can rightly take on work but there are other areas where the bulk of specialists are in the Law Centres and non CAB sector. There is a big danger that it all becomes dog eat dog and specialist services and clients across the country are not protected by an integrated level of service. There is some interest in trying to all work together but in the current environment is it likely to happen?
I think this is already happening behind the scenes. The frontline workers are still fighting the cuts and changes, as can be seen by threads, blogs etc.
However the question is: Have the Senior Managers, who are considering the future and overall strategic position, already seen the writing on the wall and have behind the scenes given up on stopping the changes?
Now that one major provider has tendered for a national contract, I can see all the rest doing the same.
The nfp sector need to have the following printed on their foreheads:
In reality the nfp sector is a myriad organisations of all shapes and sizes, with overlapping and sometimes contradictory aims, constitutions and sources of funding. They also have the demands of volunteers to accommodate in their individual organisation. That's the source of their strength, and their weakness at the same time. I don't believe it's possible for the nfp sector to speak with one voice on anything except generalities.
Post by Patrick Torsney on Feb 24, 2012 11:44:41 GMT
In answer to Network's question:
Have the Senior Managers, who are considering the future and overall strategic position, already seen the writing on the wall and have behind the scenes given up on stopping the changes?
...largely, I believe yes.
Some interesting points made here, Network (and others). I'd encourage more of it. We must be prepared to ask ourselves difficult questions and challenge established thinking - it's not about attacking one advice network or another. If we do really believe in things like social justice then we need to drag ourselves out of the mire and start shaking off the fugue