Legal Services Board in first group of quangos subject to new government review process

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By Legal Futures

19 December 2011


Maude: new and more innovative models for delivering services

The Legal Services Board (LSB) is in the first tranche of quangos subject to a new triennial review process, Cabinet Office minister Frances Maude announced last week.

Following Royal Assent of the Public Bodies Act 2011 – part of the drive to slash the number of quangos – Mr Maude said the reviews “will ensure that never again will the quango state be allowed to spiral out of control”.

The review will look at whether each of 31 public bodies’ functions are required, whether their activities require political impartiality and whether they should exis

t at arm’s length from government.

It will further examine whether each body’s control and governance arrangements continue to meet the recognised principles of good corporate governance.

In relation to the LSB, the review will also take in the Office for Legal Complaints – which oversees the Legal Ombudsman – and Legal Services Consumer Panel as well.

Mr Maude said: “As well as an opportunity for continuous improvement, the reviews will help departments consider new and more innovative models for delivering services through public bodies.”

In its draft business plan, published last week, the LSB said: “We look forward to engaging closely with [the review] process, which will be taking place just as the substantive component of the reform programme becomes real with the start of alternative business structure licensing by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. If there are lessons for us to learn from its results, we will do so.”

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Joint (ad)ventures in the legal sector

Nigel Wallis lo res

We all know that nothing in life is certain. As the actor, director and philosopher Clint Eastwood once said: “If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.” He also said he’d tried being reasonable and didn’t like it. They should teach this kind of philosophy in law school. One thing in life is reasonably certain though. If you’re a law firm worth your salt, at some point you will be approached by another entity (most probably a work introducer) with a whizzy idea to ‘partner’ with you to ‘help you accelerate your growth’. In commercial speak this means, ‘we’d like to keep feeding you work but we’d also like to share in your profits’. The arrangement may be pitched to you as a joint venture – a win-win no less.

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