Legal Aid Agency Covid 19, 19 Questions Response

2 May 2020

Several firms have contacted us in relation to requests for detailed financial information they have received from Legal Aid Agency Contract Managers. This appears to be a survey and comes in the form of an email asking 19 questions and a follow up telephone call. Some of the requests have set very short timescales and we are raising this and the survey more generally with the Legal Aid Agency.

To assist our members we set out here the information on the survey that we have received from the Legal Aid Agency about the survey and it’s purpose.

The LAA informs us it is conducting a survey of Legal Aid contract holders in order to better understand the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on firms’ individual financial positions. The stated purpose for the survey is in order to further develop the evidence base which the Law Society and practitioner groups including the CLSA has provided about the precarious financial position that many firms now find themselves in. Your contract manager will be in touch soon about this. The contact will be via a combination of email and follow up calls. As well as understanding your financial position the survey will also discuss any Government support which you have accessed or sought access to.

We acknowledge that some firms may have concerns about the process and some of the questions or the timescale given. We have made this clear to the LAA. Members will note that it is our understanding that this survey is not mandatory.  Some firms may choose not to respond or may only wish to answer certain questions. The LAA has stressed that the more that you are able to engage, the stronger the evidence base will be. They are therefore encouraging you to participate and to be open with your contract manager. However, to assist firms who choose to respond we have put together with the assistance of Simon Pottinger of JRS Consultants (to whom we are most grateful)  an information note including some data which may be of assistance to firms and examples of answers some firms may believe are appropriate to them. You do not need to use this format and if you do, you can and should tailor it for you own individual circumstances.

A copy of the note can be found here.