The item in the 4 December Gazette rightly highlights the potential for discrimination in the Legal Aid Agency’s ‘ghost-busting’ measures.
It is my impression that the government is very much in favour of mothers and other carers remaining in, or returning to, work and is also in favour of people working beyond what has hitherto been the usual retirement age. In all these instances, part-time working or job-sharing is a possibility if not a likelihood. How can it be right for someone in this position to be expected to meet the same requirements as someone working a five-day week?
There are other issues, not least that of someone being on duty for a shift and not receiving a call and hence no chargeable hours. This demonstrates just what a blunt instrument this policy is. In effect, the LAA is deciding that certain sections of the profession, although properly qualified, cannot undertake work in criminal law. This is certainly discriminatory and also appears to be out of step with broader government policy. Time for a rethink?
Graham Hunsley, Hewitts, Darlington