Promoting social inclusion through access to legal services
A Legal Services Commission case study

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Page 4: Vision, values and stakeholders

Organisations and the people working for them need a clear sense of direction. Only then will people both inside and outside an organisation understand and appreciate its purpose and support its objectives. The LSC has set out a vision statement and values for each of its four main stakeholder groupings. These are underpinned by a clear commitment to focus resolutely on the people who need legal services (the end customer or client).

The LSC's Vision is to be:

  • Resolutely focused on its clients -ensuring that its clients have access to quality services.
  • Delivering innovative, high quality, high value legal advice and services through top quality suppliers - working with suppliers who provide quality, value for money and client focused services.
  • Delivering a sustainable scheme within the resources available and demonstrating real value to government in terms of effective cash control, improving value for money and positive outcomes for clients.
  • An organisation inspired by strong, visible leaders, where people are proud to work.
  • Being an organisation that enables the delivery of these objectives and excellence in everything it does.

 Values

For the LSC, customer service involves helping people to gain better access to quality legal services. The LSC's other customer stakeholders are its working partners and its own employees. It seeks to serve them well too.

This gives the LSC a framework for action and includes:

  • asking for information clearly and unambiguously
  • providing clear, accurate information on time
  • being open about how decisions are reached
  • listening and responding to what people say.

Organisations also need to monitor their own performance to see if their vision is being realised. The LSC has set out performance indicators (PI) for itself, and measures its achievement against these PIs.

The Commission's vision for people involves enabling employees to see that they are making an important difference to the lives of others. It also involves setting high standards in human resource management e.g. in recruitment and selection methods, promoting equal opportunities and personal development. All LSC employees have a personal development plan and opportunities to develop their careers.

For the supply of services, the LSC looks to improve the quality of all legal services. It allows legal service providers who meet high standards of service to display the LSC's Quality Mark. The LSC only awards contracts to quality assured suppliers who are focused on outcomes that clearly benefit clients and deliver value for money.

As part of the Criminal Defence Service (CDS), the LSC has also established the Public Defender Service (PDS) to provide an alternative model for delivering legal services and developing best practice. Instead of providing services via contracts with legal firms, the PDS directly employs its own defence lawyers and caseworkers who provide criminal defence services directly to the public. These salaried staff represent their clients at all stages where help is required, from a client's initial arrest and questioning at a police station through to a Crown Court trial. They also hold a budget from which they can purchase the services of specialists such as barristers and medical or forensic experts.

The Commission's vision for partnership sets out to challenge social exclusion by ensuring that legal and advice professionals provide services that the general public really need. Through partnership the LSC aims to:

  • create a real understanding of the need for legal services and the priorities for meeting those needs
  • reach out to the wider community and the people in need of help, in order to identify how best to deliver those services
  • seek out and co-ordinate funding from the widest possible range of sources
  • build a network of legal service providers who can provide the right help at the right time.

The emphasis is on creating a partnership with legal and advice service providers rather than policing them. However, the organisations with which the LSC works must demonstrate they meet quality standards, deliver results for their clients and make effective use of public money.

Publicising the LSC's role and services

For the wider public to make good use of legal services, they need to understand their rights and entitlements. Often the people who are most in need of help are the least aware of how to obtain it. For example, all members of the public need to know that through the Criminal Defence Service they have access to the defence services of a specialist criminal solicitor 24 hours a day if they are accused of a crime. This service at a police station is completely free. Part of the LSC's broader role is to educate everyone about their rights and also their responsibilities under current law.

Legal Services Commission | Promoting social inclusion through access to legal services
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