April 9 2013

flutheronioneyedSoftware and s/w Development

Dec 13, 2013 (3 years and 6 months ago)

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April 9 2013

The CBA misunderstand and are misrepresenting QASA warns the Bar
Standards Board

Yesterday’s
Criminal Bar Association message contains some
unhelpful

inaccuracies
which
the Bar Standards Board
needs
to correct.


Plea only


advocates and QASA

The BSB is well aware that the issue of inclusion of

Plea Only


a
dvocates is
seen by some
as
controversial.


The Board
has
collectively
decided
, after much debate of a range of
viewpoints,
that it would be in the

public interest
to

inc
lude

this category of
advocates

in
QASA. T
hey have practised without
significant
challeng
e
from the Bar or judiciary and no
assessment for many year
s
. T
he only way to get evidence on whether this is a practice that
meets the needs of the public is
to

incl
ude
all advocates
in the
S
cheme.
Further, including
them in
QASA
means that all advocates
,

whatever their pattern of practice, will be the
subject of quality assurance, where previously there has been none.

It’s important to remember that POAs will be assessed as competent against all of the
advocacy standards, including those that are focussed on trial advocacy before they can be
QASA accredited.

A review of the
S
cheme is of course scheduled for two years a
fter implementation.

While the matter has been carefully debated
by the
B
oard
and
the
feedback from various
consultations
considered
,

the
B
oard’
s decision
on this matter
is final.

See here for previous announcements on
QASA


QASA FAQs


Procure Co

The Criminal Bar
A
ssociation have misunderstood

the difference between Procure

Co and
the
BSB’s
entity reg
ulation

proposals
.

The Chair of the BSB made reference in her last monthly message to the profession to the
way in which the BSB was seeking to assist the Bar, through a new regulatory framework
which, if adopted by practitioners, will enable the
m to organise along a different business
model and bid for contracts. This is not Procure

Co:
it is
entity
regulation
,

which

relates to
e
xpand
ing

the range of
business structures available to

the Bar. Whilst many barristers wi
ll
choose to continue
under th
e traditional self
-
employed referral model, others may wish to
form firms
such as “barrister
-
only entities”
or companies
.

The entity regulation
proposals
-

alongside the recent changes
made by the BSB
to public
access rules

-

are designed to help the Bar work more flexibly and competitively
and
to
help
barristers meet new pressures in the legal services market.
It will enable Chambers, should
they wish, to establish themselves in a form that enables them to contract with organi
sations
such as the Legal Aid Agency.

An entities FAQ document is available
here

Competitive tendering

Finally, it is not the purpose of QASA to pave the way for competitive tend
ering and case
fees. Its purpose is to protect the public against a
possible
decline in standards

irrespective
of how the government procures services
.

While the BSB would have introduced QASA irrespective of the Government’s funding
initiatives or timeta
ble, what is clear, and as the CBA recognises, quality will form part of the
decision making process when the Legal Aid Agency considers applications for criminal
contracts. If the Bar chooses not to engage with QASA it is highly likely that the Government

will bring in its own quality assurance regime for the purposes of contracting


without the
consultation and debate the BSB has engaged in over the last three years. Stopping QASA
will not therefore prevent competitive tendering.

Rather than facilitating price competitive tendering the
S
cheme will provide an opportunity
for the Bar to differentiate itself within a marketplace where competition is, and will continue
to be, strong. In other words, if price competitive tendering is in
troduced, the Bar would be
better placed to secure contracts if they have engaged with QASA and demonstrated the
high quality service that barristers can offer
.


Today marks the launch of the
Ministry of Justice consultation
. I
t will be the first time we
h
ave seen d
etails of

their proposals
because we are not part of Government. T
he Bar
Standards Board will
respond in the public interest
.


-
ends
-