Thursday, 17 December 2009

Criminal BVT pilots abandoned

It looks like the final nail in the coffin of best value tendering (BVT) has now been hammered in - for now at least. The government has announced that it is abandoning plans for the pilots. The tendering process had been due to start in the New Year for Avon and Somerset, and Greater Manchester. This climb down will come as a considerable relief to the practitioners in these areas.

It seems to LAG that the government was swayed by the argument that it was unfair to expect firms to tender for the work when the consultations on Crown Court and Very High Cost Cases fees were still pending. Firms need to know what fees they can expect across the board in criminal work before they tender for police station work.

The government and the Legal Services Commission (LSC) say that they are going to work up alternative plans. The legal aid minister Lord Bach told LAG this afternoon that he expects 'by March next year to have some outline improved proposals'. Any implementation will be down to the next government. Both the LSC and government still seem convinced that some form of competitive tendering can provide the magic bullet to control legal aid costs. We at LAG remain sceptical.

1 comment:

Medical negligence solicitor said...

Doesn't nobody remember the criminal pilots? They were promoted as being all about price -- but then when the figures came back showing that the government sponsored criminal defense teams were noticeably more expensive than existing criminal solicitors, ministers tried feebly to claim it had never been about costs -- but all about quality. It's quite remarkable how history repeats itself. Don't hold your breath.