On Bidding

There has been quite a bit of discussion regarding “over-subscription” in the 2013 bids currently being notified to firms. This has focused on the viability of contracts with restricted numbers of Matter Starts (NMS), and the underlying policy aim of the LSC.

To deal with viability, and considering family, NMS are not really the key issue, the consolidation of Domestic Abuse and Childcare work on certificate is. For most firms then effective use of Devolved Powers becomes the key. Where pre-issue Legal Help is a common factor, those working with women in refuges or with dithering Local Authorities, a schedule of NMS may be necessary, but will retain the associated “Financial Stewardship” pain from the LSC. In many ways NMS have become obsolete which goes somewhere to understanding the Commissions thinking.

In our experience bidding behaviour was most affected by another, conscious LSC decision; the removal of the NMS performance KPI from the 2013 Contract. With no potential sanction for unrealistic bids, over-subscription became almost inevitable. The vast bulk of our conversations on the subject never progressed to consideration of past supply, let alone anticipated demand/need. “We may as well have a Lot 2, 40 NMS” or “going to go for a guaranteed 61, Lot 3” were the most common conclusions.

A more telling set of figures will be a comparison of the tables in the FAQ document (downloadable here) against actual supply, in a years time.

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