Schedule shocks
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Administrator
Further to our recent post, a number of organisations have received schedules starting on 1 December 2011 and ending on 31 January 2012, offering fewer NMS (Controlled Work matter starts) than they expected. The LSC’s news item of 8 November stated that ‘ The allocation of the matter starts under the second schedule has been calculated in accordance with the process laid out at paragraph 1.36 of the 2011 Standard Civil Contract.’ Practitioners were then frustrated at not being able to find the clause in the Standard Terms. This is because the LSC should have referred to paragraph 1.35 et seq in the Standard Contract Specification. At first sight, it appears that reductions might be due to the LSC exercising its right to issue schedules limited to 80% of NMS usage under the previous schedule. However, LSC Contract Managers say this is not the case. Some Commission staff have said that offers were calculated on performance reported up to the end of August 2011, and projected to the end of the schedule. If so, it would have depressed the figures as the period includes periods of lighter demand over the Easter and summer holidays, but not the traditionally busier times in the autumn. Other LSC staff have simply said there are problems with the schedules and these will be corrected soon. If you do need to make representations in relation to the number of NMS you have been offered, relevant points would be:
Performance in September and October
Seasonal patterns in performance, as noted above
Any issues that were beyond your control
What you have done/are doing to improve performance If  representations to the Contract Manager are not successful, there are further appeal rights, as set out in Clause 27 of the Standard Contract terms.

About the author(s)

Description: Vicky Ling - author
Vicky Ling is a consultant specialising in legal aid practice and a founder member of the Law Consultancy Network.