Saturday, 26 January 2008

*National Advice Network warns government of ‘disaster about to happen’

Advice UK, the national network of independent advice services, has written to Phil Hope, our very own ‘Third Sector’ Minister, to warn of the damaging consequences that the Government’s Legal Aid reforms is having on advice services, which “….are being forced into rushed and unwanted mergers in order to compete to retain their existing funding.

Their main competitors in the new national market are multi-million pound national private-sector organisations such as Capita and A4E.

Where third sector bodies are unsuccessful in bidding for the new larger contracts (now containing their existing funding) they stand to lose so much of their income that they will almost inevitably have to close.

Where private sector bidders are successful they will be one step closer to realising their obvious interest in securing as large a share of the new national market as possible.” Full text of this punchy letter from Steve Johnson, Chief Executive of Advice UK on

I worked at an independent community advice centre for six years. The general public are generally not aware of the great work done by these agencies. Some of the stories were heartbreaking, but we managed to solve most. However, don't expect the same level of service from the likes of Capita.

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