In this issue, much of the content deals with the very real threat to the future of those of us who undertake publicly funded work. This is no idle threat. The government has made it quite clear that legal aid will be one of those areas at the forefront of the much anticipated spending cuts and it is expected that the Ministry of Justice will publish a consultation paper this autumn.
The LCCSA will respond fully to the consultation paper. In addition, the association will put some proposals to the government before the paper is published. As set out in the President's report on page 5, the association, together with other organisations, has been meeting with representatives from the MoJ. It seems that the MoJ may be open to suggestions and, as you can see, Paul discusses several propositions, which, with others on the committee, I believe are constructive proposals for the future.
Members may be interested in one of the proposals in particular: compliance with the government's desire to streamline its contracting processes by the formation of consortia of criminal law firms. Past president, Ray Shaw, expands on this idea on page 8.
We know we cannot please all of the people all of the time but I hope that members understand that we are working at pleasing some of the people some of the time. Such is the level of concern that, exceptionally, the committee held a meeting in August to discuss these matters. The committee represents all the membership. Please let us know your feelings.
In my view, it is vital that publicly funded work remains in the private sector and that access to justice is granted to those who need it most.
For those readers expecting my usual sarcastic comments or (attempted) witty remarks, I must leave you disappointed: the issues we face are too serious and important.