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FORTY MORE LOCAL AUTHORITIES SIGN UP FOR THE COMMUNITY LEGAL SERVICE

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Forty more local authorities have committed themselves to helping the Government develop the Community Legal Servi...
Forty more local authorities have committed themselves to helping the Government develop the Community Legal Service aimed at bringing grassroots legal help and advice to the public. Their names were announced by Lord Irvine, the Lord Chancellor, this month.

The 40 local authorities will play a key part in developing the best practice blueprint for a Community Legal Service Partnership (CLSP). This will be a forum for the local authority to co- operate with the Legal Aid Board and other key funders, as well as local providers, in planning legal and advice services, encouraging the development of referral arrangements between providers, and ensuring that local people are aware of, and have access to, help when they need it.

Known as Associate Pioneers, the 40 local authorities will work closely with one another as well as with the six Pioneer authorities which are spearheading the initiative.

The Associate Pioneers represent all of England and Wales. They were selected because they already take an active responsibility for funding advice providers in their area and ensuring that they achieve value for money.

Lord Irvine said, 'The local authorities which have been selected to act as Associate Pioneers reflect a diversity of areas and experiences. I am delighted that my proposals for a Community Legal Service have received such a positive response.

'The groundbreaking work being undertaken by the Pioneers and Associate Pioneers will help to make the Community Legal Service a reality. My long term vision is of a comprehensive network of legal advice points across England and Wales. They will deliver quality legal information and advice to the disadvantaged and socially excluded in areas of law which most directly affect their everyday lives.'

Notes

1. The Access to Justice Bill, published on 3 December, contains provisions for the Community Legal Service. A new body, the Legal

Services Commission, will be required to establish, maintain and develop the Community Legal Service. The Legal Services Commission will maintain a Community Legal Services Fund which it will use to contract for legal services as part of the Community Legal Service.

The Lord Chancellor intends to publish a consultation paper on the Community Legal Service next month.

2. The local authorities which have been selected as Associate Pioneers are:

Blackburn with Darwen

Brighton and Hove

Bristol

Cardiff

Cheshire

Chiltern

Cumbria

Ealing

East Riding of Yorkshire

Flintshire

Gloucester

Gwynedd

Hammersmith and Fulham

Harlow

Herefordshire

Knowsley

Lancashire

Leeds

Leicester

Luton

Milton Keynes

Neath Port Talbot

Newport

Northampton

Peterborough

Plymouth

Powys

Preston

Redditch

Rutland

Salford

Sandwell (subject to final confirmation by Council)

Slough

South Kesteven

Swansea

Tameside

Tendring

West Lancashire

Wirral

Wrexham

3. The six Pioneer areas are: Kirklees, Liverpool, Nottinghamshire, Norwich, Southwark and Cornwall.

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