To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what training was provided to the people who assessed bids for legal aid duty solicitor contracts in administering and assessing such contracts.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the efficacy of the procurement process for legal aid duty solicitor contracts; and if he will make a statement.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what weighting was given to the (a) disciplinary records of and (b) number of signatures of ongoing complaints against bidders in the procurement process for legal aid duty solicitor contracts.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of staff assigned to work on the procurement process for crime duty provider contracts had no previous experience of working on public sector procurement.
13 temporary staff were employed through the Brook Street Agency and a Crown Commercial Services Recruitment framework and were selected by the Legal Aid Agency and interviewed by permanent members of staff to ensure their suitability. These individuals made up 19% of the overall assessment team. In addition contracts were entered into with legal practices to provide additional resource.
The key criteria for employment were analytical skills and the ability to conduct a qualitative assessment. A legal or procurement background was considered an advantage but not essential, given that they would be supervised by permanent staff from the Legal Aid Agency.
The procurement was undertaken in line with the Public Contract Regulations and applicant organisations were required to pass a number of stages of assessment in order to be considered suitable to hold a duty provider contract. The criteria against which organisations were assessed is set out in the Information For Applicants which govern this procurement process.