The Legal Services Commission receives a budget from the government each year. This is used to help over two million people access legal aid in England and Wales. The Commission contracts with solicitors and other legal organisations, such as law centres, to provide legal services in the form of advice and legal help to a large number of people on low incomes.
Legal aid is a system of government funding to enable people who would otherwise not be able to afford legal services to obtain these services.
The Legal Services Commission funds its legal providers, solicitors and advice agencies to:
advise people on their legal problems (such as coping with debt)
help people understand their rights and the law
advise people detained in police stations
if necessary, represent people in court.
The Commission is currently engaged in a process of reform to ensure that taxpayers receive the best possible value for money by making its internal administration as cost-effective as possible. Achieving this involves moving selected services from regional offices back to the centre. This is part of a big ‘push’ that is taking place across UK public services including the Department of Work and Pensions and the Prison Service.
The Commission is aiming to achieve value for money by reorganising staffing to use skills more effectively and streamlining systems to provide services more efficiently.
Until recently, each of the 13 regional centres of the Commission had its own Human Resources manager and several advisers. This decentralisation led to the following problems:
Inconsistency Human Resources policies were delivered in different ways, in different areas, resulting in different outcomes
More staff reporting ‘unfair practices’ for example, some areas allowed variations to the official flexitime policy while others did not.
Please describe using outside resources how you would approach these problems of decentralization.