Legal Aid Audits – Attestation
by Legal Aid Contracts Expert Mark Gaskell
Attestation is form of Legal Aid Audit but not something that will pop up if you undertake a “word search” of the Legal Aid Agency’s/ your “Contract Documents”.
Attestation is a check that your Contract Manager is managing your Legal Aid Contract in a way which minimises perceived financial risk to the Legal Aid Agency. As such it is a form of “Audit” – Clause 9 Standard Terms, designed “to ensure that public money is spent with probity, accountability and in the public interest” – Clause 2.4 Standard Terms. Clause 2.4 also provides that “you and we agree to work together openly and with mutual trust and cooperation”.
Attestation Audits appear to put the Legal Aid Agency in breach of Clause 2.4. They consist of a “deep dive” into your financial position without your knowledge or input and can result in increased oversight without you being aware of it. So, for example, you may find increased checks on your billing, Payments on Account etc following an Attestation Audit.
You are entitled to know if you’ve been subjected to this process and may want to get hold of any plan of action that has flowed from it. You can ask at any time (Clause 2.4) but may want to do so particularly if you appear to be the focus of sudden, unexpected attention from the Legal Aid Agency.
Next week’s blog may be of particular interest to aspiring new entrants to the Civil Scheme under the promised Civil Tender.
Let’s Work Together
legal aid sanctions – attestation – legal aid contract audits