Public Defender Service – A Level Playing Field?

I tried for many months to get answers from the MoJ as to whether their PDS offers the tax payer value for money. My MP Stuart Andrew has supported my attempts to gain answers by sending several letters to the MoJ and ministers.

Two things happened last week. Firstly I received another letter from my MP – “It appears, somewhat conveniently when considering the Department’s failure to fully address your concerns that my letter dated 17th July was never received.” He is pursuing the department for answers. More worryingly I picked up a link from the JRS website that the PDS have appointed a silk as Head of Advocacy.

Questions that I would like answering:

How does the PDS compare in terms of value for money with local solicitors and advocates?

Have the PDS had their budgets reduced over recent years in line with the market?

What package has been offered to the Head of Advocacy?

Will the Head of Advocacy conduct VHCCs?

How are the PDS preparing for the proposed 17.5% cuts?

What real learning has the MoJ gained from the PDS that operates without capital costs and the requirement to bill cases?

Any answers or further questions would be most welcome but don’t hold your breath for any real answers.