Clarification issued over the future of legal advice

Following recent stories in the media about the Law Centre, the Isle of Wight Council has moved to clarify its position regarding the future availability of legal advice for Islanders.

Deputy leader Councillor Stuart Hutchinson said: “To be absolutely clear, we are not cutting services, we’re just changing how we commission them.

“This is not about stopping the support services but instead looking at better ways of delivering them and aligning them across the board.

“The current arrangements for information, advice and guidance (IAG) services, including those with the Law Centre, will expire in June.

“We’ve been providing an annual, rolling grant to the Law Centre for several years for one specific aspect of IAG.

“We believe recommissioning the IAG services will help us offer better support to the community, providing help and advice for housing, welfare and benefits, debt, employment, health and wellbeing and so on.

“We recognise the value in procuring housing-related support and advice and this is why it’s maintained within the new procurement exercise.

“The procurement process is open and transparent and the Law Centre, like any other prospective provider, can bid for the contract, either alone or in partnership with other voluntary organisations, should it wish to continue to deliver these services.”