The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) has announced that national roll-out of the Client and Cost Management System (CCMS) is complete, with CCMS now available to all 1,609 providers to use on a voluntary basis.
The LAA has received more than 12,500 applications – around a quarter of all applications – through CCMS.
These come from around 550 providers who have so far chosen to use the system – they are currently submitting around 40% of their applications through CCMS.
Given the continued rise in use, it’s more likely that you will be instructed to work on cases that need to be processed on the system.
You can identify if the case you are instructed on is a CCMS case by the case reference: the reference number will start with 3 or 1.
If you are instructed on a CCMS case, you can access information about creating and submitting a bill from the CCMS website. The training and quick guides tab on the home page provides support specifically for advocates.
What happens next?
The LAA is giving you time to get used to the system and build up your experience. The use of CCMS for new applications is not yet mandatory (you will receive 3 months’ notice before it becomes mandatory). Advocates will be kept updated on the future timeline.
In terms of the pilot to test the bulk-uploading of bills, the LAA has uploaded several claims from chambers. In addition, clerks involved in the pilot have submitted bills for multiple counsel on one file when acting on behalf of the chambers. The LAA has decided to extend the pilot until 21 November 2014.
Support for advocates
The LAA has also updated the CCMS website to make it easier for you to find what you need. The home page contains the following tabs:
before using CCMS: How to start using CCMS, including getting yourself and others set up on the system
using CCMS: Using the system, including frequently asked questions, a list of current users and what to do if there is a problem with the system
enhancing CCMS: Information/guidance on recent enhancements plus information on our ongoing enhancements programme, including how you can feed into this
training and quick guides: A link to our training website and a full list of all our quick guides by user group and category
contacts: A list of who to contact plus information about our feedback and complaints processes
CCMS web seminars have proved very popular with legal aid providers so the LAA will be extending these to advocates in the future.