Trade union wants legal services funding review

Trade union Unite will today launch a report calling for a major review of Legal Services Commission funding.

The report is based on an investigation into the impact that changes to commission funding will have on employment conditions and service quality.

Unite, which has 60,000 members in the voluntary sector, said many third sector organisations were facing funding cuts of up to a third and the loss of contracts to private sector providers as the commission moved towards a competitive tendering approach.

It is calling for non-profit providers to be able to charge for the time they spend with clients rather than the current fixed fee per case.

"The raison d'etre of private providers is to win contracts and they are very smart at it, whereas third sector organisations are about providing a service," said Rachael Maskell, national officer for the community and non-profit section of Unite.

According to the report, third sector providers are being forced to focus on easier cases and suffer an increased workload.

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