Well under half of the central government money awarded to the Solicitors Regulation Authority and its partner Nesta Challenges to run a competition for bright ideas to promote access to legal services will go to the winning ideas, the SRA has revealed.
Papers for the regulator's 17 July board meeting reveal that the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy awarded £700,000 to set up the Legal Access Challenge. Of that, the largest chunk, £300,000 goes to Nesta Challenges to run the challenge and help create 'an enduring collaborative platform for wider technological innovation in [the] legal service market'.
The SRA's costs, along with 'raising awareness' and 'technical and legal expertise', account for another £150,000. The remaining £250,000 will go on four £50,000 development grants and a final award, to one winner, of £50,000.
The deadline for entries to the competition, which was announced in May as the '£250,000 challenge', is next Sunday, 11 August. The SRA says that it has received more than 85 expressions of interest in the awards, despite concerns about intellectual property clauses in the terms and conditions.
A paper presented at last month's SRA board meeting, which as usual was not open to the public or press, describes progress as 'positive'. Outlining the budget allocations, it states that 'The separation of costs between ourselves and Nesta was made clear in our application for the funding and BEIS has been fully sighted on it.'