As the profession and government awaited the outcome of the legal challenge to the way the lord chancellor introduced his criminal legal aid reforms, the Ministry of Justice was pressing ahead with its revised contracting timetable.
To gear up for the start of the formal tender process for 2015 duty contracts – which it maintains will begin in October – it invited practitioners to join in a webchat. Unnamed experts from the Legal Aid Agency will be online for one hour from 2pm tomorrow to answer questions ‘directly related’ to the tender process. Webchats are all the rage in Westminster these days: the MoJ has already held them on such diverse issues as restorative justice and revenge porn, while the DVLA held one on the imminent abolition of car tax discs – and had its ear thoroughly bent by bewildered used car dealers.
A cynic might suppose that webchats provide the government with a safer arena for discussing controversial policy decisions than an open forum. Human interaction is so last year, don’t you find?