HL Deb 28 January 1998 vol 585 cc55-6WA
Lord Alton of Liverpool

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In respect of the provision of legal services to the Legal Aid Board's administration which are required to be funded out of the board's administration budget in (1) the period from 1 January 1997; and (2) in such of the previous six years for which information is available:

  1. (a) what services have been provided by external suppliers of legal services, specifying:
    1. (i) any known cases or distinct matters handled;
    2. (ii) the name or names of any known external suppliers of legal services used; and
    3. (iii) the amount received by each external supplier in total, in respect of each known case or distinct matter and the date or dates upon which any payment has been made;
  2. (b) what is the policy and procedure of the Legal Aid Board for having legal services provided to it by external suppliers rather than its own employed staff and, if external suppliers are to be used, what selection criteria have been adopted by the Board including the criteria relating to the provision of services by others. [HL134]

The Lord Chancellor

Information on legal services provided by the external suppliers is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

The Legal Aid Board instructs external suppliers where it does not have the necessary expertise or capacity in its employed staff. Selection of external suppliers is on the basis of competitive tendering and/or known expertise and/or quality and value for money of services provided in the past, taking account of the nature of the services required.