5 Intriguing Key Strategic Objectives for the Legal Aid Agency 2017 – 2018

Kenny Shealey (National Legal Aid Training Advisor at John M Hayes) outlines five intriguing key strategic objectives set out by the Legal Aid Agency in their Fifth Annual Report (2017 to 2018).  It makes for interesting reading!

  • Objective 1 – Provide simple, timely and reliable access to legal aid

What the report says:

By working digitally and adopting simpler and smarter ways of working the LAA has processed 97% of applications for civil legal aid in 15 working days, processed 100% of applications for criminal legal aid in 2 working days and paid over 530,000 bills which equates to 98% of complete, accurate bills within 20 working days which exceeded the LAA’s target of 90%.

In the past year the LAA implemented new Criminal Legal Aid contracts with 1,299 providers to ensure that the service is available to everyone.

The LAA have claimed that on average the calls to the LAA were answered within 2 minutes 24 seconds for civil legal aid and 1 minute 50 seconds for criminal legal queries. Feel free to have your say!

  • Objective 2 – Build strong relationships across Government and the justice system

What the report says:

The LAA has worked with both legal aid providers and stakeholders to ensure and identify improvements to the way that they work. The Provider Engagement team over the past year has streamlined the processing of Special Children Act cases to reduce processing times.

A key achievement over the past year for the LAA has been working with the MOJ to implement changes to Domestic Violence evidence requirements.

  • Objective 3 – Secure value for money for the taxpayer in all that they do

What the report says :

Through good financial stewardship, the LAA have maintained a net error rate of below 1%. The LAA have also achieved a reduction in their administration spend compared with 2016-17.

  • Objective 4 – Achieve their full potential through being fair, proud and supportive

What the report says:

The LAA are maintaining a culture which places great value on commitment, resilience and teamwork. The LAA are in the top 10 (of 98 Civil Service organisations that participated) for 8 out of the 9 categories.

  • Objective 5 – Digitalisation

During the first three quarters of 2017-18, 97% of the initial contact to the LAA, including submissions of applications and bills took place online. On the whole this has been positive, however the information we have received from providers is that they are still relying on CCMS working correctly and at times, normally during working hours, CCMS can be slow leading to an increase in time that fee earners are taking, which the LAA have said they will not pay for under the contracts.

There is still a long way to go to making the online application and billing process simpler and more efficient, but for the LAA it’s one step at a time.

This is the second of a three part series looking at the Legal Aid Agency’s Fifth Annual Report 2017 to 2018.  In Part One, Kenny Shealey examined 5 key statistics from the Legal Aid Agency Annual Report (2017 – 2018) which may surprise you

To find out more about John M Hayes and how outsourcing your legal costing requirements can benefit your company call us today on 0370 300 3780 or email info@johnmhayes.co.uk. Alternatively see how website at http://www.johnmhayes.co.uk/services/legal-aid/ for a full range of our legal aid services

Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash