LAA staff seem very confused about the provisions of the 2013 Standard Civil Contract in relation to ‘permanent presence’. I have dealt with several consultancy queries from NfP and private practices delivering services from more than one office which are variations on the same theme – the Contract Manager does not consider that their arrangements meet the requirements and unless they can satisfy him/her pretty quickly, the contract schedule for that office will be terminated.
In some cases, the arrangements are exactly the same as those approved by the same Contract Manager under the 2010 Contract, following a personal visit to inspect them in person. When the practitioner queries why the arrangements are no longer acceptable, the Contract Manager explains, vaguely, that the contract is different – but it isn’t.
Paragraphs 2.49 and 2.50 under the 2010 Contract Specification are EXACTLY the same as paragraphs 2.33 and 2.34 under the 2013 Contract Specification.
In one case, the Contract Manager objected because the organisation did not have a room permanently set aside for its exclusive use; but did not raise an issue about using a reception service provided by a host organisation as part of the agreement for use of the premises. In another case, the organisation did have its own room, but this was considered unacceptable because they did not have a member of staff there all the time. The Contract Manager also stated the arrangement was not acceptable because the receptionist was not directly employed by them…… Go figure as they say.
So, if you are experiencing much the same thing, you are not alone. Appeals are pending, so the issue should be clarified definitively soon. We will keep you posted.