Providers should be aware that the LAA have recently updated their Civil Finance Electronic Handbook, which provides guidance to supplement the Costs Assessment Guidance and Standard Contract.
Further clarification from the LAA on the assessment process and how they approach assessments is always welcomed. The LAA have updated the following guidance;
Overnight Accommodation Changes: The rates for overnight accommodation have been increased.
Reject Guidance: They have made changes to reflect the finalised approach in relation to rejects and assessments. There is a new table with details on decisions to make and the handbook has been updated at different points to reflect the guidance.
Revocation Guidance: Added a reminder in the finance handbook that claims on revoked certificates must be submitted within 6 years.
Enhancement: Updated the finance handbook to confirm that providers can only claim panel membership when they are a panel member and removed the distinction for children panel members.
FAS: Added a little clarity on final hearings and some of the new hearings. You should consider this section in detail – specifically the clarification on paper hearings, return hearings and Early Neutral Evaluation Hearings as these were a grey area and were more open to interpretation.
Booking Fees: They have removed reference to booking fees being administrative costs and therefore irrecoverable. Any claim for booking fees would be subject to a reasonableness assessment. Providers should look to justify their disbursements, where possible.
Cancellation Fees: Provided confirmation that the rules on cancellation fees apply equally to appointments and hearings.
Independent Social Workers: Added the new rate.
Interpreters: Updated guidance on interpreters claiming above codified rate.
Refunds: Additional guidance added where change is required to payee.
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