Monday, 19 November 2012

You win some, you lose some

It's more than three years since I first wrote about CLACs - Community Legal Advice Centres.  They were the government's response to the spiralling cost of legal aid.  Get local councils to make contracts with a single deliverer of all advice services, including legal advice, and channel the money exclusively to that deliverer.  It seemed pretty clear that they envisaged that the existing services, such as the CAB, would team up with others to bid for the contracts; and that's what happened in the first CLAC.  But then A4e spotted an opportunity, got together with a Sheffield legal firm and set their bid writers on it.  The result was, inevitably, that A4e got the Leicester CLAC.  The Hull one followed, and only then did alarm bells start ringing.  The government hadn't really intended that the CAB, along with all other advice services like Law Centres, would go out of business because of lack of funding.  When I blogged about this in May 2010 there were five CLACs with five more planned, but A4e still only had the two.  Then, as funding was withdrawn across the piece, the idea of the CLACs quietly died.  The Leicester one is still run by A4e, but in Hull the contract ends in March next year and is not being renewed, because of the loss of the £600k from the LSC which was half its funding.  The CAB is being brought back in.
It doesn't matter much to A4e.  The CLACs have been a stepping stone to other advice service contracts, like the Money Advice Service.
There's an interesting job on offer at A4e's Westminster office - Public Affairs Officer.  It seems to be mainly about political connections.  Any takers?


  1. Well, I confess that I'd never heard of CLAC's but isn't it just typical that A4e should have got its mucky little fingers in the pie?
    What would happen if I went to a CLAC (as the only source of impartial legal advice) to ask about pursueing a claim against A4e???
    No conflict of interest there then?

  2. Interesting. My advisor knows I have experience at that kind of thing (plus the political connections through my voluntary work), so should I be awaiting an email requesting that I apply for the PA job? And if I don't get one, is the advisor failing in their duty?

    I like the wording though, "challenging role at an exciting time for the organisation" - it'll be hard work sorting out the company's bad reputation and we need someone to blame if things don't go as we hoped.

  3. Well Well.. something odd happened..I was doing my usual trawl of a4e stuff and i actually come across an article

    About the wisconsin scheme, essentially the work programme run by a4e/amin Maimon argues that it makes little difference, because one of the main problems in Israel is that there are not enough jobs out there, especially for the chronically unemployed and the discriminated-against Arab sector – a fact, she said, the Wisconsin Plan failed to acknowledge.

    According to Maimon, ACRI received many complaints from participants showing how those running the program would send people to work in inappropriate and low-paying jobs, just to get them off of welfare.

    “People ended up getting part-time jobs for very low wages and would end up losing their benefits or having to spend hours at the centers doing nothing, just to get their income support,” Maimon said.

    “The main problem with the government is that instead of focusing on improving the job market, all the emphasis for finding work is on the unemployed,” she said. “There is simply not enough work placements for people.”

  4. Having just read the bizarre job description, it sounds like it could be a job for Malcolm Tucker.


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