Wednesday, November 09, 2005

CDS Direct Rumours

I talked a few days ago about the new pilot scheme being run by the Legal Services Commission to provide telephone advice to people detained at the Police Station in certain circumstances called CDS Direct. During the past week I have been listening to comments made by solicitors across the country and it seems that the CDS Direct pilot is not running as smoothly as it should be. All of my comments here are based on rumours or accounts given to me by colleagues - I have yet to have my own experience with CDS Direct. Here are some of the things that I have heard:
  1. CDS Direct employs 15 'advisors', so at any one time there are up to 5 advisors at the CDS Direct call centre. This means that the Legal Services Commission have replaced the services of hundreds of solicitors available to deal with telephone advice calls at any point in the day with 5 advisors. It seems that calls that should be dealt with by CDS Direct are being put through to solicitors in the way they were prior to the CDS Direct pilot because the CDS Direct call centre is under staffed. On this same point the man who has trained the advisors is apparently Tony Edwards from the solicitors firm TV Edwards. A colleague has stated that Mr. Edwards advice to the advisors was that they must complete their telephone advice call and complete their notes before moving on to the next call and if that means not picking up an incoming call then so be it.
  2. Of all the Custody Sergeants asked none are aware of the CDS Direct pilot. This snap shot view has been obtained by solicitors asking in an ad hoc way when they attend at the Police Station.
  3. CDS Direct are not sticking to their operational procedures as they are advising people for cases that fall outside of their remit.
  4. The Legal Services Commission press office (it has been suggested that Richard Shand has made this comment) is stating that the CDS Direct pilot has dealt with all eligible cases. 90% Being dealt with (i.e. advice given) within 15 minutes, 99% within 30 minutes (these times are less than the target times set down). The experiences of solicitors attending at the Police Station, and other solicitors picking up calls because CDS Direct has not dealt with the call for some reason, suggests that the comment by the Legal Services Commission press office may not be correct.


Nick said...

I'm surprised that so many custody sergeants hadn't heard of CDS Direct! About this time last year I remember noticing adverts actually in custody suites for advisers to join CDS Direct. In fact, I saw so many of the damn things that I was under the impressoin that they would have hundreds of staff not 15!!!

Nick said...

Wow, shock news... LSC are a bunch of liars!!! I never would have guessed that!

Gavin said...

What line of work are you in Nick and where do you work. I saw adverts in places like the Law Society Gazette for CDS advisors but I did not see adverts at the Police Station - maybe I just missed them?

Nick said...

Like yourself Gavin, I am a criminal defence type. Although, I imagine that I am far more junior than yourself as I am in the process of transferring from the Bar to the Roll of Solicitors.

I tend to find myself reading all the posters that the police have up and I definately definately remember seeing them... I particularly remember thinking what a clever place it was to advertise! They did blend in with all the other rubbish that custody walls are full of.

I'm trying to remember exactly where I saw them... Hornsey springs to mind, can't remember for sure though.

biggles said...

I bet the next stage will be touch tone selection on this service.
I can almost hear it now;
Hello this is CDS Direct
if you require am advisor touch 1
you now have more selections please hold,
If you are detained for a specific offence and need advise please select from the following
1 Drunk/Disorderly
2 Publich Order Offences
3 Drink Driving related offences
4 Assault of any degree
It just could get all out of hand :)

Anonymous said...

Is CDS direct on trial in the London and South East area only or covering the whole of England and Wales? Maybe they could commence a postal advice system. Dear CDS direct I am detained on suspicion of murder. The nice policeman says I am banged to rights and will give me a coffee, let me phone my girlfriend and I will DEFINATELY get bail if I cough it...... Please reply to c/o cell 345 The Bridewell, Nottingham.

Gavin said...

It effects the all of England and Wales for cases that would have previously been dealt with by solicitors as telephone advice only cases. It also covers pilot areas for CDS Direct to be involved up until the interview stage, then the case gets referred to the duty solicitor.

Anonymous said...

the above rumours about CDS Direct are completely ludicrous! I know for a fact that CDS Direct employs in excess of 50 advisors and has no problems with staffing and that the target times are being achieved.

CDS Direct only deals with non imprisonable offences so the comment above implying that CDS Direct would advise in a murder case is ridiculous. Of course it will take time for the concept of CDS Direct to filter down to all the custody sargents and DOs but this is happening slowly but surely.

CDS Direct has been going for less than 3 months now so its inevitable that there will be teething problems during the pilot, as with any new system but these problems are being addressed and resolved.

Come on give CDS Direct a chance!

Gavin said...

I did say at the top of the post that what I was posting was based on nothing more than rumour.

The Legal Services Commission has now published an update as of December 2005 setting out what progress CDS Direct is making. You can download it from the Law Society web site:

To be fair I think the comment about CDS Direct dealing with a murder case was meant in jest, the poster also referred to getting advice through the post!

Who are you Anonymous? John Sriodcar? Michael Burdett? What is your connection with CDS Direct to know that they over 50 advisors working for them now?

Anonymous said...

I can assure you that Im not Michael Burdett or John Sriodcar!! I know someone who is a CDS Advisor so I get the inside scoop...

Gavin said...

Hello anonymous,

I have yet to find anyone who actually is revealing any inside information about CDS Direct apart from the official releases that the Legal Services Commission are making - do you know how many advisors work at any one time at the call centre.

Anonymous said...

Not sure exactly but I think its around 10 during the week and 15 at weekends. Apparently the numbers are being assessed/changed as the pilot goes on depending on whats needed

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