The has LAA opened the tender process for new crime contracts to start on 1 April 2017. It is not a competitive process and contracts will be awarded to all those meeting defined criteria, whether they hold a contract currently or not.
Mandatory criteria, eg professional standing, payment of taxes etc
Regulated by an appropriate professional body
Hold the SQM (at least passing a 'desktop' audit for new applicants) or Lexcel
Have an office meeting defined standards
Employ a full time supervisor (Criminal Investigations and Proceedings, Prison Law, Appeals and Reviews, depending on the area of law)
Meet a ratio of one supervisor to four other designated staff/caseworkers (six for prision law only)
Organisations wanting to expand duty solicitors by more than 50% or, where they currently have none, engage 10 or more duty solicitors need to submit additional financial information and their business plan Timetable
8 August 2016 - Final date to ask questions about the tender (FAQs)
22 August 2016 - Replies to FAQs published
Noon 15 September 2016 - CLOSING DATE to submit tenders
November 2016 - Outcome notified
12 December 2016 - Deadline to passs verification for inclusion on the rota from 1 April 2017
23.59 13 January 2017 - Deadline to submit Duty Solicitor information and CRM12s
28 February 2017 - Deadline to submit tender verification
1 April 2017 - Contract start date There is more information about the tender here.
The 2017 Standard Crime Contract can be found here.