LAPG have again kindly given us permission to post the update sent out to their members on 16 April 2020.
If you are not currently a member of LAPG, but would like to be, you can download a form from their website and receive all their updates direct to your inbox.
LAPG Update 14 of 2020
- LAPG’s COVID-19 support service
- LALY nomination deadline tomorrow – 17 April 2020
- Latest LAA guidance for providers – 14 April 2020
- LAPG next Supervision Course – now online 15 + 22 May 2020
- Legal Aid Handbook – special offer for LAPG members
- Sir Andrew McFarlane calls for feedback on remote hearings
- Ministry of Justice – COVID-19 Stakeholder Update – 14 + 15 April 2020
1. Latest LAA guidance for providers – 14 April 2020
The Legal Aid Agency issued a number of updates on 14 April 2020, which summarise previous guidance, broken down by theme.
There are still a large number of practical, contractual and regulatory issues to resolve and, along with other representative bodies, we are continuing to engage with the LAA, MOJ and HMCTS. Members are also consistently reporting that the financial relief measures currently in place will not be sufficient to see them through this crisis. We are therefore continuing to press the MOJ and LAA for more significant forms of support, and we are developing specific proposals which we will publish here soon.
2. LALY deadline tomorrow – 17 April 2020
Don’t forget that tomorrow is deadline day for submitting your nominations for the 2020 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards. We know this is an incredibly difficult time for everyone involved in the delivery of legal aid, which reinforces why it is just so important that we recognise and celebrate the amazing contribution of legal aid lawyers.
Recognising the difficulties you have faced in recent weeks we extended the deadline from 3 to 17 April. We are also inviting you to submit briefer nominations in order to minimise the time needed to be spent producing them. Equally, we will still be happy to accept longer nominations in the usual way, up to our specified 20-page limit.
Our key message to you is: if you know a really exceptional individual, team or organisation that should be recognised this year, send us what details you realistically can and Team LALY will do the rest. Where more information is needed in order for our LALY20 judges to make a decision about an entry, we will follow up to make sure they have it.
Please continue to submit all nominations via: https://www.lapg.co.uk/lalys/laly-nomination-2020/
3. LAPG’s COVID-19 support service
We have received a range of queries on COVID-19 related issues. If you are unclear about how any of the new LAA measures relate to your organisation, or have other business continuity or LAA contract compliance issues linked to COVID-19, please get in touch. We will shortly publish a summary of the queries we have received in the form of a FAQ document.
The service provides advice via email with responses from the LAPG team and expert input from sector consultants such as Vicky Ling, Paul Seddon and Matthew Howgate. The email address is:
4. LAPG’s next Supervision Course – now online 15 + 22 May 2020
We have now put the necessary arrangements in place to take this course into the ether and deliver it online. The content and learning objectives remain the same but we have had to make some practical changes to suit online delivery. One of which is that we don’t think we can ask delegates to sit in front of their screens for a full day. We have therefore decided to break the content down into 4 sections, to be delivered as follows:
- 15 May – 10.00-12.00 & 14.00-16.00
- 22 May – 10.00-12.00 & 14.00-16.00
Each session is 2 hours to allow plenty of time for questions, case studies and interaction with the trainers, Matthew Howgate and Vicky Ling.
This course meets the LAA’s requirements for an ‘approved training course’ under the Generic Supervisor Requirements, section 2(ii) of the supervisor self-declaration forms. This is particularly important for new supervisors, those who haven’t directly supervised for a number of years, those who just want to update their skills and keep abreast of developments in the law. The course is also a useful refresher for the requirements of the 2018 Standard Civil and 2017 Crime Contracts.
This is an ideal opportunity to discuss with colleagues and sector experts the particular challenges of providing remote supervision and supporting your team in these unusual times.
5. Legal Aid Handbook – special offer for LAPG members
Our lovely friends at Legal Action Group are offering all LAPG members a 10% discount on the new 2020/21 Legal Aid Handbook. This offer comes with a free e-book.
The Handbook is the only comprehensive guide to the legal aid scheme and covers the legal framework of the scheme, with a full discussion of civil, crime and family legal aid.
To redeem the discount offer visit LAG’s website here and use the code LAHBK10 by 30 June 2020.
6. Sir Andrew McFarlane calls for feedback on remote hearings
Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division, has opened a two-week ‘rapid’ consultation which is being carried out by the Nuffield Foundation Family Justice Observatory. The consultation seeks feedback from those involved in remote hearings during the coronavirus outbreak in order to issue evidence-based guidance next month.
Evidence is sought from solicitors, barristers, Cafcass workers, court staff, social workers and magistrates on public and private Children Act cases. The FJO will also meet to discuss issues over the next fortnight, and draw together findings from existing relevant research.
Please provide your thoughts and feedback by Tuesday 28 April 2020.
7. Ministry of Justice – COVID-19 Stakeholder Updates – 14 + 15 April 2020
The Ministry of Magic publishes a range of updates each day, which we have summarised below from the last couple of days.
Latest information and guidance can be found here:
As of 17:00 on TUESDAY 14 APRIL:
- 218 prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19 across 57 prisons;
- 82 prison staff have tested positive for COVID-19 across 35 prisons;
- 6 Prisoner Escort and Custody Services (PECS) staff have tested positive for COVID-19
New: HMCTS figures on the use of audio and video
HMCTS have published the first set of figures on audio and video hearings, following their increased use in response to COVID-19. These figures, reported by individual courts and tribunals, will provide a weekly summary of the number of hearings that have taken place using audio and video technology in HMCTS since 19 March 2020:
Latest information and guidance can be found here:
HMCTS maintain a daily operational summary service on courts and tribunals from Monday to Friday during the Coronavirus outbreak. HMCTS aim to update this page daily by 9am:
NEW: Guidance for NHS and social care staff to check if a COVID-19 patient has an attorney or deputy.
This page contains guidance on the information the Office of the Public Guardian has on its registers and how NHS staff and local authorities in England and Wales can request details for people who have lost mental capacity:
Victim and witness support services:
Further information is available at:
Latest general guidance
The new Business Support campaign for Covid-19: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/
Guidance on protecting vulnerable people from Covid-19: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19
Home isolation / ‘stay at home’ guidance:
Guidance on social distancing:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people
Please continue to refer to GOV.UK/coronavirus for the latest information on the situation in the UK and the Government’s response. For information about the illness and symptoms visit nhs.uk/coronavirus
16 April 2020
Chris Minnoch, CEO
Kate Pasfield, Director of Strategy
Rohini Teather, Head of Parliamentary Affairs