The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) recently closed its consultation on proposals for price-competitive tendering in the Legal Aid Agency's (LAA) Housing Possession Court Duty Schemes.
Duty scheme contracts are issued on the basis that there is only one for each court - the process therefore has to be competitive - but the LAA's insistence that this has to be price-compteitive is seen by the Law Society as a new departure:
We see considerable problems in price-competitive tendering - the cheapest offering will not necessarily be the best. This could result in a race to the bottom which may impact on professional standards[...] A price war will not improve services and could negatively impact on clients. said Law Society President, Robert Bourns.
The MoJ argue that due to problems of sustainability, price tendering offers an opportunity to tender for contracts at an economically sustainable rate.
In their response to the proposals, the Law Society expressed concern that this could trigger a "race to the bottom" on price.