The LAA announced its long-awaited timetable for civil/family contracts today
. This is for face to face contracts and the CLA telephone service. The tender process for new contracts will open in mid-September (exact date not specified) and remain open for 8 weeks, closing in November. The LAA expects to notify successful bidders about face to face contracts in March 2018, and the CLA telephone service contracts in May 2018. The start of the new contracts will not be 1 April 2018, as previously announced; but 1 September 2018 (but see more information on Housing Court Possession Duty Scheme (HPCDS) contracts below). In the meantime, current contracts will be extended. The LAA announced in its headline intentions document
in January 2017, that contracts in the following areas of law would be awarded to organisations meeting its suitability tests and able to meet quality standards: Family; Housing, Debt and Welfare Benefits; Immigration & Asylum (including IRCs); Claims against Public Authorities (currently known as ‘Actions Against the Police etc’); Community Care; Clinical Negligence; Mental Health; and Public Law. The Ministry of Justice also published its response to the consultation
on the tender process for HPCDS work. The Ministry remains convinced that larger procurement areas will result in the contracts being financially sustainable. It will also include an element of price competition in these bids. However, it intends to conduct a series of market engagement events to inform the eventual tender process in relation to scheme boundaries. We hope Housing practitioners will attend the events and provide the Ministry with feedback about their local areas. You will need a housing/debt contract to obtain a HPCDS contract, so the tender will open in October and run for 6 weeks. The outcomes will be notified in June 2018. New HPCDS contracts will start on 1 October 2018.