Are We Really All In This Together?

This assertion – that we are all in this together so must work together – is the “overall message”, spoken in a “conciliatory tone”, by the new LSC Chief Exec Carolyn Regan at the end of a double page interview in this mornings Gazette. Now I have not met Ms Regan, nor seen her in action, and I certainly do not envy her in the current climate. She has also only been in post for a couple of months and has yet not even been able to complete her planned tour of the Regional Offices. One cannot therefore expect her to have a fully rounded and nuanced overview of the LSC’s role in the current process of change, just yet. She might also have been quoted out of context and neither is it a radical message – we have heard it before from LSC people. To hear it repeated at this time does however drive me mad.
Why so? It is essentially nonsensical, purchasers and suppliers have often diametrically opposed aims and concerns which will inevitably lead to disagreement and conflict. Why can the LSC not simply admit this obvious state of affairs and move away from this bland PR strategy – nobody involved really believes it anyhow. This is not advocacy for an adversarial relationship, no one wants that, but lets have one, a relationship that is, based on an honest appraisal of the aspirations of these fundamentally different types of organisation.
Central to this, it seems to me, is the need for a fuller acceptance by the LSC that Law firms are legitimately profit seeking concerns (resentment in this regard still persists even at quite senior grades in the Commission). What the LSC are engaged in, much of it equally legitimately, frustrates this. The gulf in mindset between civil servant and business people remains vast and I have witnessed little evidence of any attempt to bridge it. Certainly Ms Regan’s message does not.
Empathy with such concerns remains in short supply and this is made worse by the significant inequality in arms between the Commission and suppliers. If she had said that her overall message was “a new regime of professional, partnership working with law firms” I would still have been sceptical however not maddened.
Rant over. Back to the special features notices.

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