SRA publishes guidance for criminal legal aid contract applicants

The SRA has published guidance to support applicants tendering for criminal legal aid services contracts.

The guidance covers key considerations firms need to keep in mind when applying for Own client contracts and Duty Provider Crime Contracts. The advice covers:

– Mergers and acquisitions
– Firms’ responsibilities relating to notification and authorisation requirements
– Risks associated with information security and IT

Crispin Passmore, SRA Executive Director added: “Firms should consider carefully the information published by the Legal Aid Agency. Those firms not submitting a tender or failing to secure a contract need to think about the impact on their clients and their firms. If there is going to be significant impact, we urge you to make contact with us sooner rather than later.”

The guidance can be accessed here: www.sra.org.uk/guidance.

This guidance should be read in conjunction with the information for applicants that has been issued by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA),  which is available at: http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/legal-aid/tenders/information-for-applicants-oc.pdf

The LAA has set up a helpline to help applicants with using the eTendering system – it can be contacted by email on LAATenderHelpdesk@ventura-uk.com or by telephone between 9:00 and 18:00 from Monday to Friday on 03330 037060.

The LAA is intending to publish FAQs the week commencing 19 May 2014.

Further assistance on matters relating to the SRA Handbook is available from the Ethics Helpline (0370 606 2577 09.00 to 17.00 Monday to Friday) or emailprofessional.ethics@sra.co.uk.