Post by Colin Henderson on Jan 8, 2013 10:44:24 GMT
Come on everyone, don't be coy! I'm not asking for commercially sensitive information but do share your views.
What did you think was "very interesting" Chris?
For ease of reference here are some figures from that LSC FAQ doc:
Housing: 828 offices bid whereas only 533 currently do the work and they requested 146k matter starts but only 51k were on offer. Most bids were for lot 3 and there were 27 licence-only bids
Asylum & Immigration: 506 offices bid whereas only 225 currently do the work and they requested 140k matter starts but only 40k were on offer. Most bids were for lot 3 and there were no licence-only bids
Family: 9% more offices bid than currently do the work and they requested 163k matter starts but only 95k were on offer. Most bids were for lot 2 and there were 109 licence-only bids.
IF the figures are true, it surprises me there were not more licence-only bids. The only other conclusion must be that advice agencies and firms were hoping to move into housing and asylum categories as other areas are shut down rather than simply give up . But because everyone had the same idea then in most urban areas everyone will be limited to 100 NMS. Which means most contracts will only be viable either as small part time adviser-grade posts or as full-time solicitor posts provided there is potentially a good amount of licensed work.
Of course seeing how little they have got some suppliers might say no thanks, leaving some crumbs to be picked up by others. But it's poker - it depends who folds first, and who is left standing after other funding cuts. Seems yet again the LSC have suceeded in setting agencies against each other - so much for a "non-competitive" process - there's no such thing. Was that your thinking Rich?
The figures that you summarise are 'very interesting'.
Although there was a huge increase in the number of offices bidding, I would imagine that there was probably no increase in the number of organisations bidding.
With the guarantee of minimum NMS per bid, the only way to make a remotely commercial tender was to bid from several different 'offices'.
Thus an organisation that had one contract previously will probably have made 2/3/4 bids from separate 'offices' in order to be sure of getting a minimum numberr of NMS to make their organisation viable.
What will be 'very interesting' will be to see how much 'verification' there is of these new 'offices' to see whether they fully comply with the LSC 'permanent presence' and 'office' rules.
Post by Colin Henderson on Jan 9, 2013 10:41:44 GMT
Carol Storer from LAPG is quoted by LAG (see the News section for the link) as saying: "with a large number of practitioners only being allocated the minimum number of matter starts, it will not be viable for many of them to continue in legal aid work". She thinks "the wide spread of the available matter starts will particularly hit the larger practices as they will not have enough matter starts to justify retaining their current staff".
LAG itself make the point that if the LSC had tried to concentrate the far fewer matter starts into fewer but larger and more viable contracts that would have meant a selective, more competitive tender: "Concentrating the work among fewer firms and other providers would have led to accusations of lack of client choice and cutting access to justice, as fewer providers usually means more geographic gaps in supply. It could be argued that it would have been better to concentrate legal aid among fewer, better quality providers. However, this would have meant the LSC having to set higher quality standards to measure suppliers against, which is a much more difficult procurement process to get right."
The LSC say that in Housing 21 bid zones are so oversubscribed that even if suppliers decline the offers they are "unlikely" to offer more. They include most of the North West. Same applies to 7 zones in Asylum/Immigration including all of Greater London and Greater Manchester.
So there will now be another messy period of uncertainty during the verification phase before those still in the game will be known. The FAQ says: "In the event that sufficient Matter Starts come back to LSC as a result of the verification process (e.g. an offer is withdrawn) to re-allocate to Individual Bids that have not been satisfied, these will not be allocated until after the Contract Start Date." It goes on to say that the final results of the bid round will not be published until "late April".