The Legal Services Commission has just announced that the existing Unified Contract (Crime) will be extended by just under six months and will now expire at the end of June 2010. They have issued a consultation paper setting out the proposed contracting arrangements that would apply at that point.
The key focus of the consultation paper is the detailed proposals for a model of best value tendering (BVT) covering police station and magistrates' court work. The LSC's proposals include when and where the model would be piloted (Greater Manchester and Avon & Somerset Criminal Justice System (CJS) areas), as well as proposals for a future roll-out throughout England and Wales.
The LSC have also included the tender process for the Criminal Defence Service (CDS) Contract 2010 (the replacement for the Unified Contract (Crime) 2008) that will apply to all contracts in England and Wales, with the exception of BVT areas. Its proposals include adopting basic qualification criteria that will in future apply to all legal aid contracts.