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.
'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.'
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
East Riding of Yorkshire
Hammersmith and Fulham
Neath Port Talbot
Sandwell (subject to final confirmation by Council)
3. The six Pioneer areas are: Kirklees, Liverpool, Nottinghamshire, Norwich, Southwark and Cornwall.