The LSC have announced an outline of the tender process for the new contracts and the telephone gateway and the "guinea pig areas". First key date is the opening of the expressions of interest period on 21 May.
Already it must be judicially reviewable one suspects. No indication of a specific consultation process on the gateway and assumptions have been made about discrimination and Special Education Needs with no consultation or assessment-ie that it is anticipated there will be a "relatively small" volume of work.
How on earth can they say that in discrimination when no assessment or consultation has been carried out? This is a completely new franchise category crossing employment, housing, debt and consumer at least if not more existing areas.
This is an irrational conclusion based on no published evidence. Who is going to JR this? It will affect all areas if it gets through now. MPs and Lords need to be asking what is going on here. Will there be nationwide face to face discrimination coverage and why have they done no public assessment of need? With the removal of ECHR funding and employment from scope there will be a very significant need across the UK for this category.
There is also nothing in the proposals to show how people in every area of the country will be able to access face to face advice in these areas.
The discrimination category looks even more idiotic the more you look at it. It appears there will be 3 contracts which will combine face to face and phone advice and there will "be no geographical restriction" on where the applicants for the contracts are based. How will that ensure face to face advice across the UK?
Anyone working in a metropolitan area knows there is already more of a demand for face to face discrimination advice than the existing Legal Help contracts can cover. It looks like they want to produce a completely fudged cop out. Are MPs alive to this? Will they raise any questions about it? What are the Law Society and LCF etc going to do about this?
Hello Re the HPCDS - it says "we do not intend to re-tender for most existing HPCDS but have received a transfer of funding from the DCLG so will be tendering for schemes presently funded by them and , additionally, schemes where we will have gaps in provision...." Does this mean that those of us who already have a contract for a duty desk will keep it? I read it to mean this but my manager is not as optimistic as I am.
We have today confirmed that the tender process for new face-to-face contracts and CLA telephone legal advice contracts from April 2013 will open on Monday 21 May
All organisations wishing to deliver face-to-face Legal Aid services in Family, Immigration & Asylum and Debt & Housing and Telephone services in Family, Housing & Debt, Special Educational Needs and Discrimination from April 2013 will need to tender for, and be awarded, a new contract through this process.
We are also inviting tenders for additional services in Mediation and Housing Possession Court Duty Schemes.
Further detail and copies of the adverts can be found on the Face-to-Face Tenders for 2013 Contracts page and the CLA Tenders for 2013 Contracts page.
Invitations to respond to the Pre-Qualification Questionnaires for each of these services will be published on these pages on 21 May .
The closing date for receipt of tenders for both face to face contracts and CLA telephone services will be 12 noon on Monday 18 June 2012.
Further information LSC website: Face to Face Contracts 2013 LSC website: CLA Tenders for 2013 Contracts
Will also have to watch out for Clarke establishing a process for the Upper Tribunals on points of law with no consultation or equality impact assessment. This appears to be what is happening with discrimination-they have simply announced they consider the need for face to face will be low but haven't actually consulted on the need for further face to face discrimination advice or done an equality impact assessment. The silence of the networks so far on this, particularly LCF-all of whose members must be affected by the discrimination proposals, is rather bizarre to say the least.