You may recall that the Legal Services Commission (LSC) carried out a tender in 2010. This resulted in a limited number of providers of mental health legal advice services being granted contracts to represent patients in the three high security hospitals (Ashworth, Broadmoor and Rampton). This policy was implemented on 15 November 2010.

The tender and its outcome were challenged in a judicial review action. The LSC was asked to carry out further work to assess the impact of the tender with particular regard to the disability duty under section 49A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) (see our previous update in the May 2011 Health Legal Update). In July 2011, the LSC produced a paper setting out in full their equality impact assessment (EIA). As a result of the EIA the LSC is making no immediate change to contracting arrangements in high security hospitals.

However, it has outlined some other options and sought views on its conclusions.