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Building links between advice agencies and solicitors in Bedfordshire PowerPoint Presentation
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Building links between advice agencies and solicitors in Bedfordshire

Building links between advice agencies and solicitors in Bedfordshire

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Building links between advice agencies and solicitors in Bedfordshire

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  1. Building links between advice agencies and solicitors in Bedfordshire

  2. Bedfordshire Advice Forum BAF is the network of not-for-profit, social welfare, advice and information providers in Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire

  3. Bedfordshire Advice Forum • Established in 1997 - to promote and support advice services, through networking, training and support • 44 members – CABx, Age UK, housing associations, council advice services, hostels, disability groups, various community organisations

  4. Bedfordshire Advice Forum • Forum meetings for members • Trainingcourses on advice skills and issues • Network meetings for benefit advisers • Online Advice Directory • Strategic promotion for advice sector • Local Advice Strategies • Advice related projects • Solicitors Project • BAF website www.bedsadviceforum.org.uk

  5. BAF - in Bedford Borough • 30 BAF members (working in Bedford Borough) • Over 60 paid staff in local advice agencies • Over 130 volunteers • Over 30,000 enquiries a year • Over 2,000 advice cases

  6. Advice Strategy Will help develop a strategic approach to the funding, commissioning and planning of advice Various action points including: “Develop closer links between the not-for-profit advice sector and other providers” SOLICITORS PROJECT

  7. Solicitors Project ADVICE AGENCIES SOLICITORS CLIENTS CLIENTS

  8. Solicitors Project LINKS ADVICE AGENCIES SOLICITORS CLIENTS CLIENTS

  9. Closer links with solicitors • Benefits for solicitors, BAF members, and for our clients. • Benefits could include: • increased awareness of services – for solicitors and for BAF members • developing better cross-referrals between BAF members and solicitors • promoting pro bono work from solicitors • discussing joint ventures (eg shared training)

  10. Solicitors Project ADVICE STRATEGY Developing closer links between the not-for-profit advice sector and other providers Local Solicitors TRANSFORMING LOCAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT Establishing better partnerships with local business community ADVICE UK Supporting local advice networks to develop closer links with solicitors Access to Justice Foundation Project

  11. Solicitors Project ADVICE STRATEGY Local Solicitors TRANSFORMING LOCAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT ADVICE UK

  12. Work completed • Consultation at BAF Forum meeting • Sub-group set up to plan project • Funding obtained from TLI Project (and now also from Eastern Legal Support Trust) • Support agreed from AdviceUK • Online survey of BAF members (by AdviceUK) • Presentation at AdviceUK national conference • Launch event in Bedford

  13. Survey of BAF members • Less than 1/3 of agencies regularly signposted to solicitors • Large number of agencies never refer to solicitors • Very limited signposting or referring from solicitors • Very limited involvement of solicitors in lcoal agencies • Vast majority would like to see solicitors more involved in local agencies

  14. Possible ideas • Use online Advice Directory to list local solicitors • Develop agreed referral systems in Bedford • Discuss possibility of a Bedford Borough pro bono surgery • Joint training sessions on Welfare reform changes

  15. Next steps • Get local soIicitors and advice agencies to agree possible development ideas • Undertake further work: • Formalise some ideas • Agree protocols/policies for pro bono sessions • Extend project to Central Bedfordshire