HSSK software to be discontinued

Development of the High Street Starter Kit (HSSK) software – one of Law Society president Tony Girling's flagship schemes – is to be discontinued because of a “clear loss of confidence” in the project.

Law Society council members voted overwhelmingly last week to cut their losses and ditch the software, whose brief history was dogged by delays and reports that it was not functioning as intended.

So far the society has spent £220,000 developing an IT service for the high street, of which £66,000 was spent on the software.

In a report prepared for council, the practice development committee, which was responsible for overseeing the project, bowed to criticism from external IT consultants and council members, and agreed to curtail further investment in the project.

The report also warned that IT manufacturers and suppliers were reluctant to participate in the society's IT Portfolio, a scheme to offer solicitors software at discounted prices. It said they were uneasy with dealing with “what they perceive is a bureaucracy and not a commercial entity” and felt that all Law Society decisions about IT now appear to be “politically motivated and disconnected from commercial reality”.

Deputy treasurer Robert Sayer called on members to “stop this job creation scheme for the IT department” and said the society should concentrate on recommending software to solicitors.