Oh dear Justice for All has come over a bit New Labour and is setting up "focus groups" for the New Year. Never mind it all helps " Advice review Have your say Justice for All is working with the Cabinet Office’s Advice Review to make sure voices from the front-line of advice are heard at the heart of Government. The Advice Review is looking at the problems facing the advice sector and how the Government can support it. It will conclude in early 2012.
We are holding four focus groups to draw out the problems advice charities face and what would help them get on with what they do best - giving advice.
Bookings will open in the New Year - but for now please save the date! Sheffield - Friday 20 Jan Birmingham - Tues 24 Jan Bristol - Tues 31 Jan London - Weds 1 Feb
Cabinet Office staff will attend each focus group. Justice for All will publish findings from the focus groups - along with results of surveys of people who have needed advice - to feed in as the Review progresses.
Who should attend: This is a crucial opportunity to help shape the long-term future of the advice sector.
If have an insight into the problems facing advice charities and ideas on how to overcome them, we want to hear from you!
You might be a - - Front-line adviser - Advice charity manager - Statutory partner of advice charities (eg: local authorities) - Voluntary sector partner of advice charities (eg: community centre) Email Justice For AllJustice for All a coalition of charities, legal and advice agencies, politicians, trade unions, community groups and members of the public."
I know, I know, it's not really enough, but it's simple and automatically creates an invite email to circulate to your contact list and get others doing it. It will take you 20 seconds (10 if you have autofill).
I've just done it. Do it too, today. Next week will be too late.
"Government defeated, but we need to keep it that way
Over the last 2 weeks Government were defeated an astonishing 9 times on the Legal Aid Bill in the House of Lords. It is almost unprecedented and a testament to your campaigning. Read all the details here.
But Government can still overturn all our good work, and snatch legal aid away from disabled people and victims of domestic violence. We have two weeks to persuade them not to.
So please could you take a minute to:
Email your MP
And encourage all your friends and colleagues to do the same!
If you run an advice charity, tell your MP about the future of advice in your area.
The funding announced in the Budget is good news, but MPs need to know this is only part of the solution.
MPs will be spending time in their constituencies while parliament is in recess over Easter - making it an ideal chance to meet with them. MPs can help secure the future of advice by supporting legal aid and putting pressure on the Advice Review to reflect the front line's priorities in distributing funding.
Use our template letter to write to your MP requesting a meeting, or to simply to inform your lobbying. More background is on our website.
Once again, thank you for your support. Justice for All campaign group Launch of Advice Needs report
This week we released our new report showing what is really happening on the front line of advice charities, written to feed into the Cabinet Office review of the sector. Thank you to those who shaped the report through our focus groups around the country or completing our online survey. Read the full report.
£40m announced for advice charities
Yesterday's budget included £40m for the charity advice sector, spread over 2 years. This is good news, but we've made it clear that it is no replacement for legal aid and can't plug the £100m a year funding gap advice charities are facing.
Legal aid cuts will pile pressure on MPs surgeries
Young Legal Aid Lawyers latest report shows MPs can expect significantly increased case loads as legal aid cuts leave people with nowhere else to turn."
The very last Legal Aid vote in the House of Lords will be tomorrow. After an amazing 9 Government defeats earlier this month, there's a good chance we can win even more votes tomorrow, and there are some crucial issues at stake, for children, for exceptional cases, and for housing law. Could you send a very quick email to your peer asking them to vote for the following amendments? There is some template text below.
If you need a bit of encouragement, the BBC's Parliamentary Correspondent wrote a fascinating piece last week about the trouble government is in over the Legal Aid Bil www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17450732 It's in no small part down to your efforts in persuading wavering peers with letters and emails. Don't forget you can see how your peer has voted on the Public Whip website: www.publicwhip.org/mps.php?house=lords
Thanks once again for all your work. Will
-- The Justice for All Campaign e: firstname.lastname@example.org t: 0207 833 7429 w: www.justice-for-all.org.uk tw: @justiceall
Third Reading of the Legal Aid Bill takes place tomorrow. Would you consider voting for the following three vital amendments, on issues that were debated but not put to a vote during report stage?
1) Preventing injustice in exceptional cases - Clause 10: Lords Pannick, Mackay, Woolf and Hart have put down an amendment to ensure Government can meet their stated aim of funding 'exceptional' cases, where not doing so would risk "an individual's fundamental right of access to justice." The Bill at present does not achieve this. A short Law Society briefing on the issue is available to download.
2) Retaining legal aid for children aged under 18: As the Bill stands about 6,000 children under the age of 18 will lose access to legal aid. An amendment led by Baroness Grey-Thompson would see legal aid retained for children. A narrower amendment led by Lord Cormack would see legal aid retained for all children in clinical negligence cases. We support both these amendments. Contact James Kenrick from the Justrights Campaign for more information: James@youthaccess.org.uk
3) Ensuring that people at risk of homelessness receive the necessary help: Lords Best, Bach and Harries have put down an amendment to clarify the help available to people at risk of homelessness. It would ensure that where individuals have benefit or debt problems that have directly contributed to their threatened eviction, legal aid is available to deal with these. For more information, see this briefing from Shelter (which speaks to a very similar amendment debated but not voted on during Report Stage).
Come on Justice for All, wake up, we need to be e-mailing the Lords again for 23 April. Let's have some of those Pair with a Peer e-mails. No time for shirking or sleeping get on with it please! It's Ping-Pong time.
"Willy Bach þ @fightbach Follow Following #LASPOScene shifts to HoL on 23rd.Vital we ALL keep going.Keep pressure on next few days.Our cause is just and worth fighting for.Lets do it"