Issues facing the advice sector - a summary
ASA has published a short paper which looks at changes coming the way of the advice sector.
There are a number of reviews and consultations underway which are likely to mean change for ASA’s members, particularly those with LSC contracts. The most important are
- The Carter review
- The LSC’s consultation on preferred supplier
- The CLS Strategy
- LSC proposals to introduce a new contract for solicitors firms and NfP agencies from April 2007
It is not clear how these relate to each other, nor exactly what they will mean for the advice sector.
However, the key themes emerging from these initiatives seem to be as follows
1 - A move towards fixed (standard or graduated) fees and/or block contracts
2 - The introduction of “managed competition”, which will include price competition, which is expected to drive prices (fixed fees) down
3 - The LSC proposes to contract only with ‘preferred suppliers’
4 - An intention to contract with a smaller number of larger suppliers, which will involve
- Suppliers being assessed in relation to their capacity and ability to expand
- Minimum contract sizes
- A preference for suppliers operating in several categories of law
- The expectation in some urban areas that the LSC will contract with suppliers that can cover all the core categories of social welfare law (community care, debt, employment, housing and welfare benefits).
5 - CLACs and CLANs
6 - The phasing out of the Quality Mark
The paper examines each of these in turn and sets out ASA’s concerns about these developments. Read the full paper