The CLSA and LCCSA are aware that the Legal Aid Agency has yesterday launched a consultation concerning the terms of a new standard crime contact for 2017.
The LAA are currently consulting with the Law Society, Bar Council, LAPG and Advice Services Alliance about the new duty contracts. They are not bound to consult representative bodies such as the CLSA and LCCSA as neither association are statutory consultees to the consultation.
The fact that we are not statutory consultees is a historical anomaly which should have been corrected before but in reality we shall, as ever, engage fully and will endeavour to ensure members views are canvassed and presented. We believe recent history of Government failure with contracting in this sector would tend to suggest that the Government would be wise to listen.
As representative bodies we feel strongly about the need for transparency. We understand concerns members will have in view of what has taken place over previous years. We have worked hard during lengthy periods of instability to keep members informed and we intend to continue this in so far as we are able to.
Practitioners should also be aware that the LAA are seeking to extend the current contract which they have announced via the attached link. Please take note of the short notice period.
The associations have worked hard to establish engagement which has been constructive and ongoing with the MoJ. Last week the Lord Chancellor wrote to both associations stating that he was ‘encouraged by the commitment [the associations have] shown to working with his officials to explore the best way forward for criminal legal aid.’ We have attended at workshops and have provided as much input as possible to ensure future stability for the profession.
Zoe Gascoyne – Chair CLSA
Greg Foxsmith – President LCCSA