We have been awarded a new Family Contract subject to the usual requirement of obtaining SQM ( we are current SQM holders of course ).SQM was the option we chose in our Tender
We subsequently contracted with a firm of Consultants to get us compliant with the new SRA requirements.This firm offered to at the same time get us Lexcel at an attractive rate and we signed up to this as well
Prior to signing I checked with our LSC Contract Manager as to whether getting Lexcel instead of a new SQM would meet the suspensive Contract condition and he said yes they are interchangeable
We now hear through the grapevine that one of our local firms in a similar position have been refused by the LSC who insist on SQM as that is what is in the Contract
Anyone here had any experience of this nature - or what do you think?
"1. The provider must have successfully achieved the quality standard that they opted to hold at the point of contract signature prior to submitting a request to change quality standard.
New Provider: SQM standard • Desktop Audit • Pre Quality Mark audit Lexcel standard • Lexcel audit • Complete any required corrective action
Existing Holders: SQM standard • Pass Post Quality Mark audit Lexcel standard • Pass annual Lexcel audit
The provider must ensure that they continue to hold a quality standard throughout the life of the contract. Requests made to change a quality standard where a provider applies for one standard (e.g. in advance of a tender process) but has not successfully completed the former quality standard will not be accepted by the LSC.
2. The provider must successfully achieve the new quality standard prior to the expiry of the quality standard they opted to hold at the point of signing the contract. NB. A provider can only request to switch quality standards once during the life of the contract."
I expect lots of providers are getting out of SQM and into Lexcel as with the death of most civil legal aid it will soon become a forgotten and meaningless standard
And if you want some free LSC intellectual property as a memento of the good old days and so you can go around awarding meaningless badges the lengthy draft assignment deeds and application forms (no I'm not making this up) are all here: www.legalservices.gov.uk/civil/how/quality_mark.asp
Sorry to go off on a tangent, ivqii and kkg - do let us know if you ever get the LSC to see sense and accept their whole quality regime is in tatters and no-one who has an alternative wants their historical accreditations any longer.