Online Accounts redevelopment


Wednesday, Mar 30, 2016

This update provides information on the following developments on Legal Aid Online (LAOL):

Phase 1 – update

From 1 April 2016 when you create a new account for phase 1 products you will automatically be directed to the correct submission method. This will ensure that, where appropriate, you will use the new account screens.

You will only be directed to use the old screens in the following situations:

  • To update or finalise an account where the draft was created prior to 31 March 2016.

  • Accounts where you previously submitted a claim for interim payment of fees and/or outlays.
  • Where your civil advice and assistance application proceeded to a full grant of legal aid.
  • Where you have made a recovery or preservation and wish to submit a hardship application.

You can continue to submit the above accounts as usual using the current online screens or in paper form.

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Summary fixed payment accounts – transfer cases

Since 1 October 2013, with the exception of transfer cases, all criminal fixed payment accounts have required to be submitted on line.  Transfer cases can now be submitted using the new screens and you will automatically be directed to do so unless we have previously received a paper account for that LARN.  

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New process for submitting paper accounts

We are also introducing a new process for submitting paper accounts. From the 1 April we will no longer automatically issue an account synopsis for the following account types as you can now create the account synopsis online:

  • All A&A and time and line ABWOR accounts covering children’s and criminal advice.
  • Civil A&A and Civil ABWOR accounts where the category relates to a subject matter where there may be the potential for recovery/preservation. Solemn criminal accounts
  • Summary criminal time & line

Once the online synopsis has been created you print the registration document and attach this to your paper accounts for submission.

For the time being you will still be able to request a paper synopsis but it is our intention to switch off this facility later this year. We would therefore encourage firms to familiarise themselves with the new process for paper accounts.

What are the benefits of the new process for paper accounts?

In comparison to the current process the new paper process will provide the following benefits to firms:

  • You will now be able to complete the ‘paper synopsis’ online.
  • You will receive a notification confirming that your paper account has been received.
  • You will be able to track the progress of your account.
  • Simplified process for submitting ‘Nil’ accounts.

The online synopsis will allow us to move nearer to our goal of having the majority of accounts submitted online and will allow us to continue to make the legal aid system in Scotland as efficient as possible.

How do I submit an ‘online account using the new paper process’?

To access the online synopsis select the ‘Accounts’ tab

1.111Once you enter the LARN and search for the case. The ‘Case Summary’ screen will be displayed.  You will then be able to proceed to either ‘Submit Nil Claim’ or to submit a ‘Paper’ account. 

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Full details on how to submit an online paper account is available in the guidance section of our website.  To avoid having your account rejected please ensure that you follow the guidance and attach the correct registration document to your paper account.

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Feedback

Feedback from firms is an essential part of our online accounts redevelopment. Feedback previously obtained from the profession was a key driver in developing many of the enhancements to the new account system. 

You can access the feedback form from our online accounts redevelopment guidance section on the website.  

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Phase 2 Pilot launch

The accounts re-write pilot phase 2 will commence on 1 April 2016. From this date, the firms participating in the pilot will be able to submit accounts using the new accounts screens.

During phase 2 we will trial: 

  • Solemn – Tables A, B & C
  • Summary Time and Line

Pilot firms

Our 22 December 2015 provided details of our plan to invite a number of firms to participate in the pilot. We received an acceptance from 31 of the 49 firms invited.

We will shortly be contacting the pilot firms to provide them with guidance on how to use the new screens.  They will also be provided with links to training materials..  As with the phase 1 pilot, the phase 2 pilot firms will be asked to provide us with constructive feedback on the systems usability and performance. We look forward to working with them during the pilot.

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Training videos

We have set up a guidance section on our website where you will be able to access training videos and interactive PDFs for the online paper synopsis, including the other phase 1 products that have now been fully rolled out.

Please open this page and bookmark it so that you are able to access it easily whenever necessary. A link to the guidance section has also been added to the LAOL login screen.

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Webinars

Webinars are available for the products rolled out in phase 1. These are also available for the phase 2 products for firms participating in the pilot.

For further information or to arrange a webinar, please contact: Christine Connerton, Digital Services Marketing Officer connertonch@slab.org.uk
 

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