Mirza F. N. Ahmad, M.B.A.,LL.M., Barrister
Chief Legal Officer,
Birmingham City Council,
Tel: 0121 303 9991 Fax 0121 303 1312
E-mails : Mirza_ahmad@birmingham.gov.uk
Robert Posner B.A.(Hons), Barrister
Director of Law & Administation
Bexley Civic Offices, Broadway,
DX 31807 BEXLEYHEATH
Tel: 0208 303 7777 Ext. 2128
Fax: 0208 308 4873
4 August 2004
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
Local Government Quality & Performance
Zone 5/A4, Eland House
Dear Ms Moore
Further to my letter of 3rd August 2004, I have double-checked the Consultation Paper and noted that I had, inadvertently, relied upon a colleague's interpretation of the proposed criteria as being: 'BV (X10) % of legal claims successfully defended as a proportion of local authorities budget. It is actually '% of legal claims successfully defended as a proportion of all legal claims'.
Which is quite different, but it does not change our Association's objection to the same. The arguments on how meaningful, relevant or appropriate the same would be to judging the cost effectiveness and efficiency of the in-house legal department or the local authority remain, as legal departments do lots of 'other legal work' that will not be caught by the proposed BVPI and neither is the BV(x10) sophisticated enough in our view to differentiate between in-house and out-house legal work on such claims.
· some claims will, undoubtedly, exceed one year in determining and the annual BVPI focus of the government/Audit Commission will struggle to give a truly representative position on the matter;
· there is no recognition in the proposed BVPI as to how issues around settlement/mediation - which are being encouraged by the Courts and Government - will be handled/interpreted in the annual figures; and
· the cost of tracking the same will, undoubtedly, lead to unnecessary bureaucracy and fail to generate any real or meaningful value to the citizens.
I apologise for any inconvenience caused and confirm that our comments in paragraphs 4 and 5 of my previous letter still stand.
Alison Sutherland, LGA
Norman Yates, ACSeS
Sandra Moss, CIPFA