§ Mr. Lammy
My Department and the Legal Services Commission are continually reviewing the methods and levels of funding for legal aid, to ensure that those who need help the most continue to receive help while providing the best value for money for the taxpayer. In addition, my Department formally announced in June a review of supply, demand and purchasing arrangements within the legal aid system. Due to concern that there could be a shortage of high quality legal aid lawyers, the review will establish the costs, fees and conditions necessary to attract and maintain well-qualified legal aid lawyers. The report by the consultants conducting the review was received in December 2003. It addressed alternative procurement methods for legal services. The final report is about to be published.
§ Mr. Lammy
The Legal Services Commission is unable to answer the question in the form requested as its systems record the number of acts of assistance rather than the number of clients assisted, which is not necessarily reflective of the number of individuals involved. The total acts of assistance for 2002–03 was 2,658,000.