The LAA has issued some clarification regarding the volumes of services available, and as a result has extended the deadline for submitting bids to 11 December at 5pm. Applicants should be using version 3 of the Information for Applicants. More detail can be found here.
The LAA has sent emails to holders of civil, family and mediation contract holders to inform them about contract extensions to 31 August 2018.
Holders of 2010 contracts (Mediation) and 2013 contracts (Family, Immigration/Asylum, Housing/Debt) need to send back an acceptance form. The letters attached to emails give a deadline of 5 December 2017, the website says 6 December 2017.
Holders of Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme contracts will receive an extension offer in due course.
Holders of welfare benefits, mental health, and community care contracts will have their contracts extended automatically.
Holders of AAP etc., clinical negligence and public law contracts will have their contracts terminated earlier than originally envisaged, so that they will also end on 31 August 2018.
If you haven’t received an email, you should contact the LAA’s central commissioning team: firstname.lastname@example.org
More information can be found here.
The Legal Aid Agency has published the frequently asked questions and answers in respect of the 2018 face to face contracts. There are two documents you should consider:
- FAQs relating to the Seelction Questionnaire
- FAQs relating to the Face to Face contracts themselves
The LAA has also published a separate FAQ document dealing with the CLA telephone service tender (to be found further down on the same page).
Once you have checked the answers against your response to the tender and made any changes necessary, you will be ready to submit.
The long-awaited review of LASPO, promised by the government within three to five years of implementation, has finally been announced.
In a written statement to Parliament yesterday, the Lord Chancellor said it would be conducted by MoJ officials, with input from interested parties, and would report by the 2018 summer recess (which would take it just beyond five years since LASPO came into force in April 2013).
The MoJ has responded to its consultation on proposals to cut PPE payments in crime LGFS cases. Despite 97% opposition from over 1,000 responses, it is pressing ahead with the proposal. From 1 December 2017, PPE payments will be limited to 6,000 pages, down from the current 10,000. Any extra will have to be claimed as discretionary special preparation fees.
The MoJ also confirmed that the delayed second 8.75% across the board fee cut will now not go ahead. It has yet to announce its decision on the proposal to cut fees for court appointees.
There have been several developments since we reported that the LAA opened the tender for face to face civil and family contracts to start in September 2018.
Tender open for HPCDS
The Agency has gone ahead with a complex price competitve tender for Housing Possession Court Duty Schemes (HPCDS), which seems unlikely to solve the crisis in finding sufficient practitioners to provide the schemes; but only time will tell. More information can be found here.
Most people are finding the process straightforward
However, most of the feedback we are receiving from practitioners bidding for face to face contracts is that the process is more straightforward than they anticipated.
People like the button which checks whether they have responded to all the questions they need to.
They also like being able to download a PDF of their bid. On the relevant ITT page, look out for the three little dots in the top right hand corner. If you click on that and then select ‘printable view’, you will be able to download a PDF of your bid.
The LAA has issued some initial frequently asked questions – FAQs. These are worth reading. Amongst other things, they confirm that you will be able to withdraw from part of your bid without jeopardising the rest of it (FAQ 10.1).
All successful bidders will get 5 miscellaneous NMS; but you can bid for 25 or more to undertake compensation claims for vicitims of trafficking and modern slavery. ATLEU (legal charity the Anti Trafficking and Legal Exploitation Unit) is encouraging practitioners to apply. They point out that this work is ideally suited to employment lawyers, discriminantion lawyers, personal injury lawyers and civil litigators more generally. With claims for failure to pay the National Minimum Wage (which are often a feature of such cases) being worth upwards of £100,000, perhaps this is worth considering? More details can be found on ATLEU’s website.
The LAA announced on Thursday 12 October that the Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme (HPCDS) tender was open, which meant that all tenders for contracts to do legal aid work from the autumn of 2018 are now live. Details can be found here
The deadline to submit a HPCDS tender, which includes competition on price, is 4 December 2017.
To hold a HPCDS contract you must hold a Housing contract – tender deadline 10 November 2017.
CLA telephone service
The tender deadline for telephone services (which includes competition on price) in Housing and Debt, Family, Education and Discrimination is 10 November 2017.
Face to face contracts in all civil categories, family law and mediation
The tender for these contracts do not include price competition. Every applicant which submits a technically correct bid will be offered a contract. The deadline for submission is 10 November 2017. There is more information here.