Post by Patrick Torsney on Aug 15, 2007 11:26:50 GMT
The transitional arrangements for immigration are different to social welfare because immigration and asylum cases generally take longer to complete. There will be cases started before October 2007 that will not complete for several months or years in some cases.
As with all NfPs, an 18-month schedule will be issued with monthly payments initially set to reflect anticipated performance levels to the end of September 2007. There will be a reconciliation of hours performed against payments made to the end of September 2007 when the September casework hour data is available after 10th October 2007. As such, if an immigration NFP delivers the hours that they are required to deliver between April and September 2007, the immigration element of their Standard Monthly Payment (SMP) will remain at the pre-October level.
In contrast to the approach that is being taken with NFPs generally, immigration providers will not have to wait until the end of a case before being credited with the amount payable for any further work undertaken on cases started before 1st October but finished after 1st October 2007.
Immigration NfPs must continue to submit monthly (casework hours or work in progress) reports to the Commission setting out how many further casework hours have been undertaken each month on immigration cases that commenced before 1st October 2007. Details of any further disbursements incurred on cases commenced pre October will also need to be recorded on the monthly CWRF reports. Agencies must ensure that these CWRF reports are submitted on time by the 10th of each month in order to receive credit for the additional time spent.
These casework hour reports must not include any of the work undertaken before October (since that work will already have been paid for as part of the monthly payments made up until the end of September) or any of the work undertaken on cases that commenced after October (since this will be paid when reported on the Consolidated Matter Report Form when the case concludes or when the case reaches a point at which a Stage Claim can be made).
The data in these monthly (casework hour or work in progress) CWRF reports will enable each organisation’s Account Manager to work out precisely what sum is payable (at the NFP agency’s own hourly rate) for any post October work undertaken on immigration cases that started pre October. There will be active monitoring to ensure that cases commenced before October are reported promptly (when concluded or when a Stage Claim can be made) rather than remaining open indefinitely.
In recognition that it will be some time before cases started after 1st October can be claimed, the Legal Services Commission will not reduce payments providing that the difference between immigration claims and payments is less than the equivalent of 3 months worth of immigration payments. The first reconciliation exercise will take place once the December 2007 data is available after 10th January 2008.
The NFP’s Account Manager will review: -
a) How much work has been undertaken after 1st October 2007 on immigration cases commenced pre 1st October (i.e. the value of the casework hours/work in progress/CWRF data) and; b) The value of the Graduated Fee Scheme (GFS) and post October non-GFS work (as reported on the CMRF).
Figures a) plus b) (see above) combined represent the agency’s total immigration claims. The 3-month buffer will only apply up until 31st March 2008. By 31st March 2009 the intention is for actual immigration claims to be within 2 months of the agency’s average immigration claim. In line with the approach for non-immigration NFPs, by 31st March 2010, the difference between claims and payments will need to be no more than 1 month's claims.
From October 2007 immigration NfPs will also have NMS allocations. The intention is for NMS to be set at a level that will provide NfPs with the opportunity to maintain their current income.
In Social Welfare Law (SWL) categories setting NMS allocations is fairly straightforward. In the immigration category however a single fee is not payable. Instead, graduated fees are payable with a range of additional payments depending on the case type and stage at which the matter ends. Setting NMS allocations for immigration has therefore proved difficult.
After consultation with representative bodies and individual agencies it has been agreed that Immigration NMS will be set from October based on 2006-2007 historic case start levels. The intention is still to allocate 19-months worth of NMS in the 18-month schedule.
Agencies must not exceed their NMS award. If an agency considers that it requires an increase to its NMS award the issue should be raised with the Account Manager. NMS awards may be increased only where local needs and priorities allow.