Post by Colin Henderson on Jan 21, 2011 12:01:52 GMT
Yes, it’s still out there, huge, green and destructive, disturbing our sleep at night and our future plans during the day. But the only way to shrink this Incredible Hulk of a Green Paper back down to a piece of moderate reform is not to hide behind being “too busy with the clients”; there will be NO clients and NO service if we let fatalism win.
We are all useless advocates. Oh yes we are: the press has already started saying we’re a soft target, and that’s partly our own fault. We might be great at speaking up for our clients, but what’s the point of that if we don’t speak up for ourselves and instead melt away? We will then share responsibility for the death of our services. Is that doing the best for clients in the long run? So put down that file and do something now; email your MP again, contact all your mates about Justice for All. Most of all, make damn sure your organisation puts in a response to this consulation.
“But it’s huge and complicated and that’s the network’s job and its pointless cos nobody reads them”. Yeah, I can hear you, but do you really think you can build a wall without bricks? Few responses will be taken as a sure sign of weakness. The MoJ have already indicated they will give weight to the number of responses.
It doesn’t have to be a work of art – just respond to the questions that affect you. The essential ones are Q1 & 3 on scope and Q12, 13 & 22 on eligibility. There’s no excuse as your networks should have available model responses to the questions most relevant to your organisation (CitA’s is on CABlink now: www.cablink.org.uk/sp-news-jan11-03.htm)
Sometime next week there will be a model response designed for general/public use available on the Justice for All website – we’ll post the link here and will link to further material that client’s can use soon.
It DOES have to be in for 12 noon on Monday 14th February. That’s only three weeks away. Put the time aside in your diary now. You can respond in three ways: - Online form: survey.euro.confirmit.com/wix3/p485462495.aspx - Email to: email@example.com - Post to: Annette Cowell, Legal Aid Reform, Ministry of Justice, 102 Petty France, London SW1H 9AJ You should also send a copy to your MP (this will be your third or fourth email to them by this point).
And THEN ilegal wants you to upload your response right here on this thread. Over the next few weeks we can build a wall of evidence and argument against this destruction, we can share each other’s best points and your organisation should be a part of it. Just do a full reply to this thread and attach the document (it can take time). If you hit a problem email Patrick (the link is on all his posts) and he’ll put it up for you.
Of course we will also be contacting all the network and representative bodies and publishing as many of their responses as we can as soon as they are published.
So get busy, send us your bricks and let's build a wall of resistance over the next three weeks.
(with grateful thanks to Gail Emerson of CitA for her input)
However, as well as the consultation, we need to be doing more. The reforms going through at the moment are many, there are many consultations going on and we all know what that means, responses don't get read with the same degree of attention with which they were prepared.
So as well as feed into the consultation, we need to be vocal, we need to be loud, we are meant to be advocates against social injustice, but right now we are just being quiet little lambs, about to be slaughtered by the political machine.
It's yet another fight, but an important one, the message is 'Get Involved' and Shout Loudly'
Post by Colin Henderson on Jan 24, 2011 12:45:10 GMT
Can't believe I forgot to mention the other BIG one, Q32: "Do you agree with the proposal to reduce all fees paid in civil and family matters by 10%, rather than undertake a more radical restructuring of civil and family legal aid fees?"
My answer: Restructuring yes; increase the rates to the equivalent had they kept up with inflation.
Regardless of the other issues, a 10% reduction in fees is equivalent to a redundancy notice to every one of us; our employers would have no option but to pass it straight on to our pay packets. And let's be clear, general civil legal aid rates have already been static for not one but two decades. Legal aid workers have had a pay freeze since the 90's and now they want us to work for 1980's wages!