Civil legal aid tenders open
Marc Bloomfield
The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) opened the face-to-face civil legal aid contract tender round last month (September). Providers need to submit their bids by 5 pm on 10 November 2017. The contracts will commence from 1 September 2018.
A system of lots will apply in most categories of law (family, housing, immigration and asylum, mental health, community care, public law and claims against public authorities). Applicants will be required to submit a response to the invitation to tender (ITT) by specifying the number of matter starts they are capable of delivering in a procurement area in the first year of the contract.
Legal aid providers intending to bid for the housing possession court duty schemes (HPCDSs) need to bid successfully for housing and debt work. The tenders for HPCDSs open this month. Larger procurement areas and a system of price competition were announced in August (see Housing duty tender plans condemned).
‘Except for HPCDS, all organisations meeting specified standards and submitting a technically correct bid will get a contract,’ said Vicky Ling, a consultant who specialises in legal aid practice.
All applicants will need to submit a response to the selection questionnaire (SQ) to qualify to bid (according to the LAA’s eTendering portal, the Cabinet Office has introduced the SQ system to replace the pre-qualification questionnaires from previous tender processes). Applicants must also submit at least one ITT response form. All applications need to be made through the eTendering portal. Details of the tender process are published on the GOV.UK website.
Vicky Ling will be writing on the civil tender process in November 2017’s Legal Action.

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