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LAA Changes – News Update

legal aid agency-logoThe LAA has prepared software vendors for changes across the board to the way Legal Aid is going to be supplied, provisioned and paid for.

One of the areas the LAA will be concentrating on in the coming months will be Best Value Tendering (BVT). The pilots for BVT will commence in July 2010 in the Greater Manchester and Avon & Somerset areas. We have been assured that BVT for Criminal practices will not be rolled out to other areas until 2013.

Law firms will be invited to bid for blocks of work in police station schemes. The bidding rounds for Duty Solicitors’ blocks will commence in October/November 2009. Only firms with a BVT contact will be able to operate in BVT areas and then only in the scheme they have a contract for. There is however a 10% tolerance for own client work for BVT firms. Firms participating in the pilot will also be paid an out of area rate for work outside the scheme, which the LSC will announce in due course.

A single market clearing rate price will be implemented. This price will be based on the bids that allow enough coverage for the whole area, but may not necessarily be the lowest bid. The price will be determined by whether the LAA has enough suppliers to fill all the slots on the final bid round or the round where all bids either match or are less than the allocation of units.

The LAA website will store the price for each block of work in each area from the outcome of the auctions. This price will determine the figure that DPS will set as the fixed fee for that scheme. As a result, the boundaries have been changed and firms should check with the LAA to see if they are affected.

The Magistrate rates will also be amended as a result of the BVT scheme. The LAA have announced that one rate will be applied to all non‐BVT areas and this will be based on urban rates outside London. The rate will include Travel & Waiting and the exceptional case mechanism will continue to work as it does at present.

In addition to the BVT changes, the LAA will be introducing a fixed fee for Prison Law cases to commence in July 2010. The LAA announced that new outcome codes may be required and it is likely that a new field to identify the prison where the work emanated will have to be introduced.

Major changes to Civil Contracts are also to be discussed in early 2010 for introduction in October 2010. The changes may include additional reporting on cases in order to identify procurement areas.

Added By: DPS Software | Date Added: 7th Aug 2009

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