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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.
Who should you contact if you need support?
If you need help, remember to check the CCMS website where you can find:
tip of the week
frequently asked questions
quick guides on system processes
information on avoiding issues
If you can’t find the information you need on the website, you can contact:
Our customer services team on the new number: 0300 200 2020. This team can provide advice on your CCMS cases.
Online Support on 0203 334 6664. This team can provide advice on CCMS system technical queries and issues.
Your contract manager if you need general advice on introducing CCMS to your firm or organisation.
Other sources of support
CCMS training modules are available on the LAA training website. This includes bitesize e-learning modules covering key process areas. Each module should take 10-15 minutes to complete.
The modules are divided into topic areas, to help you choose the modules most appropriate for you. We have evidence that going through the modules cuts down on CCMS user issues down the line.
Online masterclasses are designed for those who’ve undertaken the e-learning modules, and have started to use CCMS.
Each masterclass covers a specific system area or process. You can book a place on a masterclass through EventBrite.