The best use of taxpayers' money.
Dear Editor, Transforming legal aid is vital. We must move away from paying for hours worked, instead of services delivered for clients, if we are to continue increasing the number of people helped and ensure we make the best use of taxpayers' money (Changes to legal aid will pose threat to justice, Post January 25).
Engaging with those who have an interest in legal aid is vital, and we now have quarterly and annual meetings with groups who represent providers and partners in the justice system. We will introduce regional provider reference groups soon.
You report criticism by Andrew Holroyd, the President of The Law Society, of the system for providing telephone legal advice to people arrested on less serious offences, such as fare evasion or failing to give a specimen for a drink driving check. But this has operated nationally since 2005. Duty solicitors continue to provide advice in person if the police conduct an interview.
We have developed a robust and reliable service that has delivered benefits to clients and, at the same time, saved considerable expense to taxpayers. We are confident that it is stronger than the old system and can give us clear pointers as to where issues lie and what we can do about them.
Mr Holroyd also criticised the new LSC Online service which will enable us and our providers to be more efficient through increased electronic working. We have acknowledged the problems with the system and the frustration this caused, but we are working to resolve them as soon as possible, and it doesn't diminish the long-term benefits it will deliver.
The reforms aim to deliver quality, access and value for money, ensuring the future sustainability of services for the people who need them.
Many who oppose change will say that the reforms threaten this, but the greatest threat is to do nothing.
Legal Services Commission
Farewell to an interview.
Dear Editor, I can understand Pat Murphy feeling slightly put out that Randy won't talk to him (Slow Lerner needs PR lesson, Post Sport January 29).
However, as he says, billionaires get to choose what they want to do.
However, can he not see that Randy does not run Aston Villa Football Club in the same way that Doug did.
Randy employs powerful, high-achieving executives that he trusts implicitly to run his business for him.
If Pat has questions about Aston Villa Football Club then he should speak with the CEO. If he has questions about the playing side, then he should speak to Martin O'Neill.
I would also say that as a way to burn bridges Pat has excelled himself by bringing up a family incident a few years ago.
If he harboured any hope of an interview with Randy, then that will be long gone now.
Theft and the misuse of funds.
Dear Editor, I had to smile when I read your article about former West Midlands MP Derek Conway making an apology to the House of Commons, for the misuse of his MPs staffing allowance and paying his son £40,000 for doing nothing.
His punishment for the misuse of £40,000 of taxpayers' money was 10 days suspended from the House of Commons and a pay back of £13,000. On the next page is the report of the gang who stole £53 million. I know who I would choose to share a cell with.