The Ministry of Justice has abandoned plans to proceed with BVT.
The Law Society has issued this statement:
The Law Society welcomes the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) decision inviting the Legal Services Commission (LSC) not to proceed with its planned pilots for Best Value Tendering (BVT).
Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary and Lord Bach, the Legal Aid Minister have listened carefully to representations made by the Law Society and by legal aid firms.
The MoJ concluded the scheme currently proposed by the LSC - the government agency charged with administering legal aid - is “unlikely to lead to the efficient, restructured legal services market envisaged by Lord Carter in his 2006 Review of Legal Aid Procurement”.
The LSC proposed to start piloting BVT in Greater Manchester, Avon and Somerset from January 2010. The plans were met with much opposition by firms, many of whom refused to participate without a TUPE indemnity and said it would result in firms going out of business.
Law Society President Robert Heslett says:
“The Society praises the wisdom and statesman-like approach of the Ministry of Justice in reaching its decision. For the issues faced by law firms in Avon, Somerset and Manchester, this is a great Christmas present. The Society has campaigned against this tendering scheme from its infancy, and so we especially welcome this news. We now look forward to working afresh with the Legal Services Commission and the Ministry of Justice for a new way forward in 2010.”
That last quote from the Law Society translates as a mighty big -
First we have Jack Straw taking note of the Mags' Association, and now of the Law Society.... Anyone would think there was an election on the way.