In brief: Legal aid pilot proves a success

A report published by the Policy Studies Institute concludes that an initial pilot on legal aid franchising of non-solicitor advice agencies was successful and that advice centres have “an important role to play in extending access to legal advice”. The report coincided with the publication of the Legal Aid Board's proposals for the second phase pilot on block contracting in the not-for-profit sector. Roger Smith, director of the Legal Action Group, said: “Advice agencies need to take a long, hard look at the deal on offer. Solicitors should also be concerned about what's happening here – one issue is whether work will be shifted from solicitors to advice agencies. What is needed now is some comparative research on what solicitors do under the Green Form scheme.”