operation has grown to cover 50% of the English and Welsh population,
bringing increasing numbers of people within reach of improved legal
advice and assistance.
government minister David Lock said 'It is marvellous that within
three months of the launch of the Community Legal Service, 109
partnership agreements have been made, involving 184 local
authorities. We are on target for our goal of having 90% of people in
England and Wales living in a CLS Partnership area by April 2002.
'Community Legal Service Partnerships are designed to bring together
the funders and providers of legal advice and assistance, to help
identify local need and priorities so that those in greatest need
receive help. CLSPs also help to open up access to advice more
generally, supported by the CLS call centre, CLS directory and the
award winning 'Just Ask' website.'
The Community Legal Service (CLS) is the cornerstone of the
government's programme of legal reform aimed at increasing access to
justice for ordinary people. The CLS makes it easier for the public
to get grassroots legal help and advice and is a key weapon in
combating social exclusion.
The growth of CLSPs across the country has provided a platform where
novel ways of providing legal help to the public can be developed.
Among the innovations being considered are the provision of legal
advice through alternative mediums such as health centres and mobile
libraries, and the increased use of modern technology to provide
legal services such as video links computer terminals and kiosks.
The CLSPs are bringing together the different funders and providers
of legal and advice services to organise funding and service delivery
more effectively in order to meet local priority needs. The CLSPs
also encourage the development of referral arrangements amongst
providers, and ensure that local people are aware of, and have access
to, help when they need it.
On the day of the April launch, 70 CLSPs were announced which
involved 109 local authorities.
The Community Legal Service was launched on 3 April 2000. The CLS
has its own award-winning website (www.justask.org.uk).