1. The Constitutional Affairs Committee has taken
evidence on the decision by the Legal Services Commission (LSC)
to end the provision of Specialist Support Services under the
Community Legal Service (legal aid scheme).
2. We focused on the services provided by Specialist
Support Services, the way in which the decision to end the scheme
was reached and alternative approaches suggested by the LSC.
3. We took oral evidence from Mr Brian Harvey, Acting
Chief Executive of the Legal Services Commission and from Mr Crispin
Passmore, Director of the Community Legal Service, on 14 February
2006. We also received a number of written submissions from concerned
stakeholders including: Shelter; the Legal Aid Practitioner Group
(LAPG); the Law Society; Citizens Advice; Child Poverty Action;
the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants; and several other
organisations which deliver Specialist Support Services.
4. We were concerned that the oral evidence from
the Legal Services Commission revealed major flaws in its approach
to policymaking. We draw the particular attention of the House
to the oral evidence accompanying this Report.