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Community legal advice centres and networks: a process evaluation

Fox, Chris, Moorhead, Richard, Sefton, Mark and Wong, Kevin (2011) Community legal advice centres and networks: a process evaluation. Civil Justice Quarterly, 30 (2). pp. 204-22.

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Abstract

Community Legal Advice Centres and Networks (CLACs and CLANs) are the latest in a series of attempts in England and Wales to “join up” the commissioning and delivery of legal advice services in social welfare and family law. The tying together of Legal Services Commission (LSC) and local authority funding streams in order to integrate generalist and specialist advice across a wide range of categories offered the opportunity for a step change in the nature of service delivery. It also posed profound challenges both to the competing interests of funders and to the existing supplier base, who faced the need to expand and/or form consortia in order to compete for contracts, or risk effectively being forced to abandon mainstream social welfare law due to withdrawal of funding. This paper reports on a process evaluation which looked at existing and emerging CLAC and CLAN sites. It explores the complexities involved in implementing at local level the central policy objective of integration, from early discussions between the LSC and local authorities, through to operational delivery of the first five CLACs to be commissioned.

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