Surplus to Requirements?

Yesterdays last post on the PDS was admittedly lazy.
Since then I have had the opportunity to consider this. If you can’t be bothered reading the whole thing all you really need is the first sentence:

“The Public Defender Service (PDS) provides a better quality of service than private practice according to independent research published today”.

Now I will not be reading the whole 350 odd pages of the report and penning an independent critique (I have little doubt the LAPG’s response is on the money). What gets me is the tone. Who decided, at a time when relationships between the profession and the LSC are arguably at an all time low, that such an incendiary opening gambit makes any kind of political or PR sense?
How does this tie in with the promises of “more constructive, genuine partnership relationships”? How does this square with the“overall message”, spoken in a “conciliatory tone” that we are “all in this together”?
Apparently not, the Commission can do it better themselves.
There are many reasons I am happy no longer to be in the employ of the successor to the Legal Aid Board. Today I am so glad not to be out auditing a hard pressed CDS supplier and having to defend/discuss this with it’s senior partner!

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4 comments on “Surplus to Requirements?

  • As far as I understand it the CLSA were pushing for the publication of this report in order to bolster their argument in respect of the relative costs of PDS/Private Practice.

  • The LAPG response (below and linked) make that point to me and this is no surprise to people in towns where they operate.

  • I had lodged my 3rd FOI request for this report and there was an appeal lodged with the information commissioner, you will see that it was almost finalised as far back as last February. Of course the LSC had to say what they did (even though it is not true of 2 offices). Had they not said this they would have been left with (1) PDS staff work les than half the hours typical of private practice (2) get paid more than private practice (3) carry out less serious work than private practice.
    Oh, nearly forgot: (4) and cost between 41 and 93% more than private practice.
    Not a good day to be a press officer at the LSC.

  • Has anyone the time to work out the numbers the other way round, i.e. how much more the entire CDS would cost, how many Duty Solicitors needed etc. if it were to replace private practice?