The Criminal Legal Aid (Remuneration) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2014 have been published, and come into force on 2nd October. They implement promises the government made earlier in the year to introduce payments on account for Crown Court fees.
For representation orders issued on or after 2nd October, litigators may claim an interim payment when:
- a not guilty plea is entered at a plea and case management hearing (provided it is not a case where the defendant has elected Crown Court trial);
- a retrial is ordered and representation is transferred to a new litigator (provided it is not a case where the defendant has elected Crown Court trial);
- a trial listed for 10 days or more has commenced.
Paragraphs 11 to 14 of new Regulation 17A of the Remuneration Regulations (see the schedule of these amendment regs for the text) sets out the mechanism for calculating interim payments:
Also, there is a change to the fee regime for both litigators and advocates. In cases where the defendant has elected Crown Court trial and the prosecution offer no evidence with a not guilty verdict being entered, a graduated fee rather than a fixed fee may be claimed. Again, this applies to representation orders issued on or after 2nd October.
Our Resources and Handbook Updates pages have been amended to reflect these changes.
Just to remind people, further to our previous post, that time is fast running out to submit pre-4 August forms. Completed paper forms, submitted by post, signed and dated before 1 September 2014, will be accepted by the LAA as long as they are received on or before 5pm on 5 September.
From 1 September 2014, the new forms are mandatory.
The LAA has published some more information about how the tender and the contracts themselves will work. In some ways the information raises as many questions as it answers but it also clarifies some important issues. There are two documents:
1. 2015 Duty Provider Crime Contracts Update
This sets out 8 key bidding rules:
- There will be a fixed number of equal sized contracts in each procurement area
- An organisation can only make one bid as an applicant organisation in a procurement area
- An organisation can only be included in two bids per procurement area
- An organisation can only be included in two bids per procurement area, ie as an applicant organisation once and a delivery partner once, or twice as a delivery partner
- The maximum number of organisations in a single bid for a procurement area is four, ie one applicant organisation and up to three delivery partners
- Within a bid, the applicant organisation must deliver the largest share of the work
- An applicant organisation must deliver a specified percentage of the total value of the contract – 30% in rural areas and 45% in urban areas
- A delivery partner must not deliver more than 40% of the value of work in a single bid
The document goes on to set out points to consider if bidding with a delivery partner, which emphasise that all the risks sit firmly with the applicant organisation – even as far as being responsible for the peer review result of a partner.
It provides example scenarios in which organisations may consider bidding with others as delivery partners
- Geographical coverage
- To gain a key member of staff with expertise which would attract more points in the as yet unpublished scoring scheme
- To allow very large organisations up to 140% of work in a procurement area
Applicant organisations will have to submit financial information which will be assessed by a qualified financial professional based on key ratios from their accounts. New organisations will have to submit cash flow forecasts.
Expansion capacity assessment
Organisations bidding for contracts that are valued at more than twice their current value or are new entities will be subject to more detailed financial assessment.
They will be able to designate a ‘main bid’ and an ‘expansion bid’. If assessed as being able to deliver their main bid, it will be protected, rather than all bids being rejected due to expansion.
2. Example Duty Rotas
- Each procurement area will have a separate duty scheme.
- Outside London, the schemes will include a number of police station schemes and court schemes
- In London, the schemes will be made up of ‘a police station scheme and/or a court scheme’. This will undoubtedly give London firms much food for thought as schemes within the London area could be markedly different from each other. However, we will not know until the tender is actually published, which makes it very difficult to plan
- Providers on rotas will receive an equal share of duty slots – the LAA sets out some examples of how these could work
Filed under Advocacy, Crime
In a change from previous statements, yesterday, the LAA published the timetable and initial information for mediation contracts for 2015.
- Existing contracts will be extended to 31 October 2016 – contract holders will not need to bid
- Existing contract holders will be able to bid for additional outreach locations
- New organisations will be able to bid for new contracts to start on 1 February 2015
The tender will run from on 1-31 October 2014.