When the CDS Direct telephone advice scheme was set up people had grave concerns that non solicitors would be advising suspects at the Police Station over the phone, and that the quality of the advice would be likely to suffer as those involved in providing advice were going to be in a call centre type environment. There has yet to be a fundamental review of the CDS Direct telephone advice scheme, and I am eagerly awaiting publication of the Legal Service Commission's findings saying that it was an astounding success (I am not so sure that it is a success).
I have now noticed that on the Legal Services Commission's web site their tendering opportunities refers to outsourcing telephone advice schemes. At present their is only information on a civil version but undoubtedly the CDS Direct telephone advice scheme will be tendered for outsourcing. The information on the Legal Services Commission web site states:
The types of people or organisations we may be looking to work with include:
- legal aid solicitors
- not-for-profit organisations
- other commercial organisations and individuals.
There are some large 'national' firms of legal aid solicitors, there are relatively few not-for-profit organisations, and there are obviously many, many other commercial organisations and individuals. Should the CDS Direct telephone advice scheme be put up for tender I cannot see a firm of solicitors having the resources, IT infrastructure, or ability to tender for such work - therefore it is going to go to 'other commercial organisations and individuals'. When such work goes out to these commercial organisations it will no doubt be tendered on price, and the lower the price the more likely the tender will be accepted. If people had grave concerns about the Legal Services Commission running the CDS Direct telephone advice scheme then they should have even graver concerns should this work be tendered and outsourced.