Today we witnessed a number of important developments, if you happen to be a policy geek. These developments have a substantially different character, and provide students of the policy process with much to chew on.
This morning we received news that Chris Grayling has decided to drop his proposals to introduce price competitive tendering for legal aid. This follows an earlier relatively low-key announcement that the proposal to remove defendants’ choice of representative was to be dropped.
Instead of the model of tendering proposed in Transforming Legal Aid the Ministry of Justice is working with professional bodies to come up with something new.
I’ve already had words about the TLA proposals, which are deeply problematic. And I, alongside many thousands of others, submitted a response to the consultation. As far as I can tell, almost all of those responses were pointing out the folly of the proposed approach. No one is against saving money. But almost no one thought that the TLA proposals represented a plausible means of doing so. It was a pretty friendless policy.
So this change of heart has got to be good news. [Read more...]