The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is the unlikely source of a six-figure grant to help legal aid firms survive in the new public spending climate.

The Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG) announced today that it had been selected, along with five other bodies such as the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, to receive a share of £875,000 to develop bespoke training in management under the UK Futures Programme. 

LAPG director Carol Storer (pictured) said the grant, of about £145,000, would help pay for courses for practitioners who are normally ‘too busy and too stretched to afford training’. At present, she said, ‘you’re on your own as a manager especially if you’re the person responsible for legal aid work. Your homeless client is always going to be more important than management training’.

One idea is to develop a modular course which lawyers could do on their smartphones while on their way to work, Storer said. 

The training will be aimed not just at those running practices today, but also at the legal aid managers of the future. It is being developed by LAPG, in collaboration with specialist legal aid consultants Vicky Ling and Matthew Howgate.

The course will begin with a pilot group next year. 

UK Futures is run by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, an agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.