Legal Aid

Duty solicitor work: guidance on telephone referrals (firm deployment)

PUBLISHED June 21, 2012

21 June 2012

24-hour telephone referrals with the Defence Solicitor Call Centre are possible if certain conditions are met

Providers carrying out police station work can ask the LSC for permission to operate a 24-hour telephone referral system if certain conditions are met.

Members of staff who are not solicitors or accredited representatives are then able to accept and take details of police station calls from the Defence Solicitor Call Centre (DSCC).

These calls are then referred on to an available solicitor or accredited representative.

Written consent needed

This arrangement can only be introduced with the written consent of the LSC - in practice this means your contract manager.

LSC contract managers will only agree to a telephone referral system being set up where they are satisfied that:

  1. staff concerned have been effectively trained
  2. clear procedures are in place for staff to follow
  3. processes ensure referrals meet strict time response specifications e.g. arranging for a duty solicitor or accredited rep to attend police stations within 45 minutes

What you need to do

Providers should consider the following points:

  • names of staff who have been or will be trained to received calls from the Defence Solicitor Call Centre
  • procedure for receiving such calls and that calls are not accepted unless a representative (as designated by the 2010 Standard Crime  Contract) is available
  • calls are passed to a representative immediately and that the name of the representative accepting the matter is recorded
  • a representative will be available to contact the client immediately and, if necessary, to arrange attendance at the police station within 45 minutes
  • the procedure for handing back cases to the DSCC if a legal representative is not available
  • that any calls handed back to the DSCC, or where it has taken more than 10 minutes from receipt of the call to acceptance, are recorded (and consideration given to improving speed of response and preventing recurrence)
  • DSCC must be advised of such an arrangement together with the telephone number it is to use to contact the provider (and the proposed start date, if approved by LSC contract manager).

2010 standard crime contract specification

When approving telephone referral systems, contract managers will refer to paragraphs 9.26, 9.27 and 9.52 of the specification of the 2010 standard crime contract.

Further information

LSC website: 2010 standard crime contract