The Covid-19 situation has presented SLAB with a unique set of challenges in the operation of legal aid schemes.
In recognition of these challenges and in conjunction with the Scottish Government, we have implemented a range of changes to the schemes, and developed and implemented regulatory and policy changes to support the broadest possible business continuity in this period. These measures are updated on our website.
It is SLAB’s view that these urgent measures have been essential to business continuity and as a response to barriers and difficulties for providers in continuing to deliver advice and representation.
In developing and implementing these changes, we have taken into account and designed around the anticipated impacts on providers and as far as possible their service users. As such, they stand to benefit providers and service users generally.
Our initial assessment of some of these changes is that they should have either a neutral, or in some cases possibly beneficial, impact on some of those with certain protected characteristics.
However, it is important in fulfillment of our Public Sector Equalities Duties that we more systematically assess and capture the equalities impact of all of these measures and have regard to any such impacts going forward.
This process is ongoing. To assist us, we would like to hear from you if you have been affected by or can otherwise identify any equalities impacts – positive or adverse – of the changes made or have any other feedback on how they are operating in practice with respect to equalities groups.