Perhaps NFP committees could look to trustees with existing businesses or recruit new ones who are interested in a share out from their profits towards the funding of new charitable entities?
The potential risk I see with this is one of compatbility with those who indicate a willingness to get involved. Will a trustee of commercial interests 'get' the value of social justice? I'm sure it doesn't apply to all but let's not kid ourselves that those who see themselves as hardworking people focussed on profits may battle with putting what they see as 'good money' in to helping those who are continually labelled as shirkers having no aspiration to survive of their own accord.
It's the age old problem of management committees having political views which are not necessarily compatible with the aims and objectives of the organisations they steer.
Oh well, I'm sure those accused will find the Crown Court ever so 'user friendly' and I'm reassured that those who fear not being able to put forward an adequate defence will be able to speak to their local MP for a bit of friendly advice as to how best plead their case.
Strangely I don't see Cameron QC doing any cut price deals to help his brother's banker chums out of a touch of bother as they face lanquishing in the cells for want of a smart alec QC able to plead their case to acquital on a point of law at the tax payer's expense!
Oh perhaps the legal aid reforms weren't so bad after all :-)
Post by Colin Henderson on Dec 11, 2013 20:43:20 GMT
Finally the legal aid cuts get FT coverage! We all know that our multi-millionaire masters of the universe got state bail-outs, paid for by the poor. And we all know that was despite many being guilty of dishonest dealing on an unprecedented scale.
But you have to also remember that when these chaps are caught at dodgy dealing they like to claim legal aid for their defence costs. (They often say that their millions have all disappeared abroad or are frozen) And so they get even more state support, paid for by the poor, etc. etc. - Luvvely job!
Oh, but wait a bit - they only use the top QC's for their cases. And because of austerity, their legal aid rates are being cut by 30%, And so they are all refusing to take on cases - and it's a really solid strike
But this is happening just as the latest round of LIBOR rate fixing prosecutions are attempted by the Seriously Flawed Office. So that means all the boys in red braces will have to represent themselves or (how will they ever manage....) pay privately like every other sod now has to! At least they can bloody well afford it. Unlike the victims of their financial crimes, who stand alone whilst losing their livelihoods and homes in courts daily.
Sometimes the perversity of it all is just beyond words.... Anyway, here's the FT piece:
"Cuts to the UK’s annual £1bn criminal legal aid budget could stymie alleged Libor manipulators’ attempts to secure expert lawyers as the overhaul particularly targets complex economic crime cases. Prosecutors have privately expressed concerns to the Financial Times that the next wave of suspects to be charged with offences stemming from the Libor scandal – which could happen within the next month – could find it difficult to find a barrister to represent them in the wake of budget cuts.
The overhaul will result in barristers’ fees in white-collar cases dropping by as much as 30 per cent in cases that begin after December 2. The cuts have already halted progress in a high-profile insider-trading case brought by the UK Financial Conduct Authority, and prosecutors are now warning that the Serious Fraud Office’s case against individuals alleged to have rigged Libor, or the London Interbank Offered Rate, could be delayed, despite the investigation’s politically charged nature. Defendants representing themselves is not a palatable option because questions as to the fairness of any trial could be raised during trial or on appeal."
And things are definitely hotting up with various polemics being penned and stories flying about in the legal press. No, not the Gazette - that would be too radical! However they have produced a clutch of (sometimes rather stilted) interviews with the leading figures. They are collected here: www.lawgazette.co.uk/home/Law-Society-Special-General-Meeting and at least the one with James Parry is worth a look.
The establishment have wheeled out former chair of the Criminal Law Solicitors Association Ian Kelcey who has fired off this rather personal and grumpy defence of the indefensible in an open letter now published on the web
Here's a flavour: "So what do the petitioners propose? In short, NOTHING. No alternatives just criticism and I am afraid bile and vitriol directed to the Society. They consist of the usual suspects, those that never lend a hand to the representational work we do but materialise out of the ether when they can find something to criticise. The main petitioner this time is a practitioner from Liverpool. He is new to this party and wrongly claims the Society reached agreement with the MOJ without consulting practitioners."
Kelcey also lets slip some of the brinkmanship in the negotiations with Grayling, details the Law Soc leadership have so far refused to disclose
But to follow the soap opera properly you should check out James Parry's own Blog - jnrp100blog.wordpress.com/ - in which he replies. His latest post is a good piece of deconstruction of Kelcey's bluster and is interesting in that it also reveals:
"Last Tuesday the 3rd December 2013 I attended a mediation meeting with others including very senior members of the Law Society executive. The meeting lasted from 09:30 to 20:00. The terms under which it was conducted permit me to tell you that it took place but does not allow me to set out what was discussed, which carries a certain irony I admit. I can say that although there was agreement on some matters there was the possibility of a way forward but no overall agreement and of course in so far as I am concerned I am only but one of 118 signatories and cannot bind anyone else to any agreement whatsoever"
So mediation failed and the showdown will happen. Apparently the rules state that the postal ballot can be triggered by only 20 members requesting it, but I expect that if the SGM show of hands is lost that won't happen.
If I was a betting bloke I think the motion is likely to succeed. In the last 3 years most high street solicitors have watched practices into which they sank every penny they had (and many they didn't) begin to disintegrate from the civil reforms and legal aid cuts, against all of which the Law Soc leaders achieved no concessions. Now their tacit agreement to "market consolidation", aka 1,000 more firms going under, is just the last of many, many straws. The latest independent news piece in The Lawyer predicts that despite the early kick-off and the travel issues there will be many hundreds of angry solicitors at Chancery Lane on Tuesday morning:
"Beleaguered Law Society officials are braced for up to 1,000 angry criminal legal aid solicitors to swamp a special meeting in less than a fortnight’s time as the row over Chancery Lane’s leadership peaks.
Proponents of a motion of no confidence in the society’s president and chief executive have organised coach convoys from at least four provincial centres to deliver a stark message to the leadership at a special general meeting (SGM) later this month: oppose more robustly Government proposals to slash criminal legal aid rates, or resign. Against the backdrop of the SGM, the profession’s regulator announced that next year it will research the impact of legal aid rate cuts on the financial viability of crime specialist solicitors’ firms.
The society has confirmed it is preparing to accommodate slightly more than 1,000 solicitors at the SGM. It has asked lawyers to notify Chancery Lane of their attendance by 12 December. By Friday afternoon (6 December) 350 lawyers had said they would attend.
Emotions are running high as the vote looms, with James Parry, the solicitor behind the no confidence motion, claiming the Law Society hierarchy is pressing him directly and indirectly – through representatives from criminal legal aid specialist lawyer groups – to drop the challenge. But he says he has no intention of bowing to the pressure.
“I’ve received significant support from grassroots solicitors since calling for the vote of no confidence,” he told The Lawyer, “and the only way I would consider dropping the motion is if the society acknowledged that it had entered into discussions with the Ministry of Justice without a mandate from the profession and it agreed to change its policy regarding the proposed reforms.”
For many decades the solicitor's profession has been split between the masses on the high street whose earnings have declined and the bosses in the City who have achieved unimaginable wealth. A good example of how the Law Soc sides with the big boys (they are mostly male) is the decision to abolish shared insurance over a decade ago, which saved the City firms millions but which has led to the closure of hundreds of practices - 141 are in special measures as we speak. The division is a mirror of society itself, and is also reflected among criminal practices. Most have few partners working long anti-social hours alongside underpaid paralegals, but there are some thirty-odd firms who are the big beasts determined to survive Grayling's extinction event by creating low-cost crime factories. This Big Firms Group are eagerly waiting to scavenge on the bones of their smaller colleagues. As Legal Action reported recently:
"Two high profile solicitors in the criminal legal aid Big Firms Group (BFG) have spoken out about the proposed legal aid cuts in an article on the Times website today. It’s clear from their comments that, while they are critical of the government’s plans to cut fees, they support the Law Society’s (LS) stance of trying to negotiate with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). This is in contrast to the outright opposition favoured by many, including the supporters of the no confidence motion against the Law Society leadership, (see blog from Monday 18th Nov).
Franklin Sinclair, senior partner at Tuckers a large criminal defence firm with offices around the country, said in the article that he was not in favour of the no-confidence vote and that the Law Society Chief Executive, Des Hudson, was “a very astute leader” with a difficult job. Sinclair though criticised the LS for trying to be “all things to all men” observing that, “when you do that you do not please everybody.” He also stated that rather than the LS negotiating for him, he’d prefer to deal directly with the MoJ through the BFG.
The BFG, which consists of just 37 firms each with a turnover from legal aid of over £1.5m, favour a radical reduction in the number of criminal defence firms. This is made clear in the Times piece. The smaller firms are accused by Anthony Edwards, senior partner at TV Edwards, of being “headstrong with their heads in the sand,” over the Government’s intention to make cuts. Edwards believes that the “market should consolidate down to 200 firms,” and that the government should be told that to make cuts “they must consolidate the market.”
I have to say that, having read the string of postings I am more than happy to see that people are thinking about the market place and are being more commercially aware.
However, I do not think that the commoditisation of the legal and related services we currently offer may not be the way to go. First, what is our new market for the services going to be? Second what would be the price point - in essence how much money to we need to make to be able to our core strategies.
The legal profession in saturated. What about other areas.
Examples of out of the box thinking I am aware of are
a Charity purchasing a green PR company from reserves which I believe has given them a good return
A charity that ran a 21 bed B&B in Bath making great profits
The trustee who sold books on a market stall in a university town and moved into a small retail outlet. This along with a bike workshop makes £350k for the charity.
So the first point may be - what are the growth areas of business in your area? What talents do your trustees have in other areas of work besides the legal profession? What kind of money do you need to raise to fund your core costs - make sure that all your hard effort is actually going to pay off - it will take 3 to 5 years
Second how are you going to fund this? Well you may be luck to have reserves. If not there is start up funding out there. I use Clearly So for information on this but there plenty of other organisations.
Third, What is the legal relationship going to be with the profit making body to your organisation - how to you take preventative measures from the outset to ensure that the profit making body does not go off on its own? The goose that lays the golden egg flies off to pastures new! This needs to be dealt with at the outset and you will need to take legal advice on this. There are several different ways to ensure that "ownership" can be controlled but there are governance issues. What is important, however, is to ensure that whatever business you end up setting up that you have professionals in that area of work running it, rather than a the same Board of Trustees then run your organisation - this probably did not needed to be said but just in case!
We are looking at some ideas ourselves and would love to share experiences.
Thank you for posting jasper and it's great that the documents are useful
It might help you get some feedback if you started a fresh topic on these subjects or reply to the existing ones. This helps people more easily identify particular areas they might be interested in - at the minute, as you have replied to a post about contact info, people might not necessarily see that you are interested in referral unless they decide first to check out the contact info topic out
If you do want to write separately about the two you mention then here are the direct links:
Thank you so much for posting this information which is incredibly useful to us.
We are the partnership from Avon and Bristol and are Law Centre led. However, we have a great CAB as a partner and are undertaking very similar work in many ways.
We are happy to share our objectives / outcomes with others and are keen to work with other ASTF Projects, many of which locally we have already met.
Ideally we are looking to work with projects to act as sounding boards and/or scrutinise our work in a critical manner. Whilst each area will have its own issues we believe that the sharing of lessons learnt from others will allow us to develop systems that will be robust and sustainable, especially in the short amount of time that we have.
The two strategies that I would like to explore with people at this stage are
We recognise that there has to be a streamlining of services and "filtering" of work. This has to include
a)being able to target our work to those in most need - not just the people who are able to be first in the queue for a drop in. b) a generic triage system across agencies - however you access advice you should receive the same information c) an ability to refer to agencies where capacity is an issue. Any information as to what other agencies are doing will be gratefully received and reciprocated.
We are looking at several options including two charging arms, membership support and potential non legal community enterprises. We are also keen to work with the Regional Legal Support Trusts ( there are 7 of them and ours is South West Legal Support Trust. They are all meeting today and one of the issues that I have been asked to comment upon is how the Regional Legal Support Trusts can work more closely with the advice agencies ( and the ASTF funded initiatives) in their respective areas to source funding. We all know of the legal walks around the country but could the Trusts do more ( many of them already do) However, are they going to the same organisations for sponsorship that advice agencies are going to directly as well? Could we work more closely on this to avoid - yes I am going to say it - duplication!!?
Again any information on what others are doing would be reciprocated.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Dec 10, 2013 23:07:26 GMT
Another ilegal moment!
UK Statistics Authority uphold complaint.....
Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir Andrew Dilnot CBE
Sheila Gilmore MP House of Commons LONDON SW1A 0AA 3 December 2013
Dear Ms Gilmore
OUTCOMES OF WORK CAPABILITY ASSESSMENTS
Thank you for your letter dated 4 November 2013 about statistics published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on the outcomes of Work Capability Assessments, and the omission of data about the number of appeals and successful appeals from the statistical release ESA: outcomes of Work Capability Assessments1, published on 22 October. I am sorry that it has taken a little while to respond but I wanted to check this matter carefully with all those involved.
The Statistics Authority has discussed the points you raise with officials in DWP. The appeals data that underlie the suspended tables are derived from management information from Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service, supplied to DWP by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). This management information is also used in the MoJ statistical publication, Tribunals Quarterly Statistics2. DWP officials have told us that they had been in discussion with MoJ colleagues about the release of these two separate statistical publications, which rely on the same data source.
The appeals data up to August 2013 were due to be used in the DWP publication published on 22 October, and MoJ was planning to release the same data in its December 2013 publication. DWP and MoJ were developing a data sharing agreement covering the transfer and use of these data. We have been told that, at a late stage in the publication process, it became apparent that the agreement would not be ready in time for DWP's October release. DWP therefore decided that the release should be published as planned, but without the appeals tables.
We have considered the actions taken by DWP in respect of compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. The Code requires producers of official statistics to publish statistics in an orderly manner, and to draw public attention to any change in a pre- announced release date and explain fully the reasons for the change at the same time. In this case it appears that DWP could have drawn public attention to the issue sooner, and did not fully explain the reasons for the delay. We have been told that the data will be published by MoJ on 12 December, and will be included in the DWP release on 22 January, and we will monitor this closely.
I am copying this to David Frazer, Head of Profession for Statistics at the Department for Work and Pensions, and to Jil Matheson, the National Statistician.
I am of course delighted that Sheila Gilmore has been able to get a statement from the UK Statistics Authority which confirms the DWP's use of statistics in the case of its appeals related data is in breach of a code of practice relating to the orderly release of data as well as a requirement that advance notice should be given where any public statistics are changed prior to issue.
However, and this relates to several erroneous statements made by IDS before the select committee yesterday, I am not satisfied with the UK Statistics Authorities grasp of the problem before them.
IDS is once again blaming everyone but himself or his department. In the committee yesterday IDS put up a deplorable show of contempt for his questionners as he bluffed his way through all that came in his direction. IDS stupidly denied knowledge of an issue arising out of these statistics despite his previous Employment Minister Mark Hoban being sent a letter and Hoban's replacement Esther McVey replying to Sheila Gilmore's letters which were prompted by the research carried out on the ilegal forum.
What has happened here is that in true IDS fashion, the blame has now been shifted on to the Ministry of Justice which is plainly a nonsense as Her Majesties Courts & Tribunals Service have no control whatoever over the number of (and therefore recording of) reconsiderations conducted by the DWP by way of their own internal review procedure. There is no way that collation of data between the two departments is an issue in the case of reconsideration statistics becsause they are entirely the responsibility of the DWP. The truth is becoming more and more obvious; the reason the DWP records aren't up to scratch is purely and simply because they've gone through so many cases that they've now lost count of exactly how many they are knowingly dealing with.
In addition to which IDS and his motley crew are hardly going to want to freely publish results which show that far higher numbers of benefit claimants are having DWP decisions overturned purely and simply because anyone with an ounce of common sense can see vast numbers of them are anything but fit for work.
Thousands of unexplained and unexpected deaths among elderly revealed in leaked Government analysis
Labour calls for “urgent investigation” amid fears more old people are dying because of cuts to public funding
Adam Withnall, Charlie Cooper, Thursday 25th July 2013
A leaked report has revealed that thousands more elderly people died in the past year than the Government had expected, particularly in poorer areas of the country.
Labour called for an “urgent investigation” into the findings, and said the Coalition needs to “be honest” about whether cuts to social care budgets over the past three years have contributed to the spike in mortality rates.
The increase in deaths has been most striking amongst women aged 85 and over, and that rise is the driving force behind alarming statistics which suggest around 600 more people than expected are dying every week, the analysis revealed.
The document, made public by the Health Service Journal, reveals that number-crunchers at Public Health England have been “tracking the mortality summaries to determine if last year’s unwelcome increase in mortality in older age may be continuing.”
The report found that there has been, “if anything, a further deterioration in mortality”.
In a letter to the health secretary Jeremy Hunt, seen by The Independent, Mr Burnham has called for an “urgent” investigation into the figures.
Official projections estimated there would be around 455,000 deaths in England between the summers of 2012 and 2013. The actual number was almost 25,000 greater than that, an increase of around 5 per cent on top of Office of National Statistics expectations.
The research also broke down the numbers to look specifically at the so-called “Spearhead authorities” – the areas of the country which fare poorest for life expectancy and mortality rates.