Page 3: Political factors
In 1997 the new Labour government led by Tony Blair introduced the idea of reducing social exclusion. Social exclusion is when a person is left out of some or all of the benefits of society. Often people are left out because they are different or because they do not quite fit into the general idea of what is 'normal'.
Social exclusion is often linked to poverty, debt or lack of education. The groups with which the LSC spends most of its time include the unemployed, disabled, long-term sick and lone parents. The LSC exists to make sure that such people have equal access and can have fair representation when they have legal problems.
The government's drive to tackle social exclusion has had a direct effect on the LSC. The first phase of the government's programme put in place wide-ranging targets in areas such as criminal justice, human rights and legal aid. In the second phase it set more specific targets, some directly attached to the Commission. The Commission is striving to become more efficient and reach these targets to maximise the help it can give to those who need it.
Aims and objectives
The Commission's main aims and objectives are to improve access for the public to quality information, advice and legal services through local networks of services. These are designed to fulfil wider government targets to uphold human rights and reform the legal aid system. This framework, where policies and processes are developed in order to meet specific targets, is called governance.
The LSC aims to provide high quality legal services, through the providers who contract with LSC. It also aims to provide high levels of customer service to people who deal with it directly. In the spirit of the government target framework, the Commission measures its internal performance by giving scores to its customer service against targets. The higher the score, the better the LSC knows it is doing.
Customer service scores are currently at 90%. It also measures its performance on human resources (HR) as part of its commitment to its staff. The HR performance score is 85%.