In anticipation of the new legal aid contracts coming into force in April next year, I recently submitted a couple of tenders for new contracts, one of which was to deal with telephone-only advice in family law. Part of the pre-qualification questionnaire awarded points based on experience in providing a current telephone advice service to the Legal Services Commission - in short, if you already have such a contract, you can score maximum points; if you don’t, you can’t.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, I have received notification that our tender for this contract has been unsuccessful - in ‘Section E’ (the bit about current experience and so on), we scored 21%. As I understand it, there are nine organisations providing telephone advice services to the LSC.
Lo and behold, the shortlist for the new contract has been limited to nine organisations, all of whom (you guessed it) scored 100% on Section E… Another example of a nice, clean, transparent tender system?
Edward R Foster, senior partner, Fosters Law, Herne Bay