Family and Civil Legal Aid Tenders announced for 2017
The LAA is on the brink of finalising the implementation of the 2017 Crime Contract.
It has therefore turned its attention to the Civil Legal Aid Contracts in the following categories:
- Family Mediation
- Housing, Debt and Welfare Benefits
- Immigration & Asylum
- Actions against the Police etc. (to be known now as “Claims against Public Authorities”
- Community Care
- Mental Health
- Public Law
If it is not already the case, then the LAA will take steps to ensure that all of these contracts end on 31st March 2018.
If therefore your organisation wishes to have one of the new contracts which will commence on 1st April 2018, you will need to participate in the appropriate LAA tender. The tenders (with the likely exception of Family Mediation) will start in APRIL 2017.
The traditional PQQ will be renamed as the SQ (Selection Criteria). It will no doubt contain similar requirements as to SRA Regulation, LEXCEL or SQM accreditation etc.
The SQ will be STAGE 1 on the tender. STAGE 2 (the ITT) (except for the Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme) will be issued in August 2017.
Your firm will have to pass STAGE 1 to be eligible for STAGE 2.
The timetable for the Family Mediation tender has not yet been published.
Firms should ensure that they have employed the relevant qualified Category Supervisors. Some of the Supervisor Standards are to be tightened e.g. Mental Health with a requirement for 10 rather than 5 Tribunal Cases.
The new contracts will make clearer that you are not allowed to outsource your Supervision to an external Supervisor. They must be employed. If any of your category Supervisors are planning to retire before 2021 then you have a succession issue to address.
Some innovation may be allowed in all categories as to the methods of delivery of the service. The LAA intend to allow “flexibility by allowing remote working arrangements within the face to face contract, such as the delivery of advice via telephone, email and/ or video conferencing where appropriate”. This may allow organisations to reduce cost and improve access. We await the details.
Please contact us if you would like help to start preparing for these tenders.