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Online system improvements to go live Sunday 27 August
Wednesday, Aug 23, 2017
We are going live with a number of updates and system enhancements to our Legal Aid Online system on Sunday 27 August.
These include various changes benefitting all LAOL users as well as the system improvements for criminal A&A and ABWOR applications that we explained in our last update.
There will also be updates to Accounts screens.
Some of the key changes you can expect to see include:
- new applications for Criminal A&A and ABWOR
- a new initial layout of Legal Aid Online and the application tabs
- improvements to the electronic synopsis for paper accounts
- a new credits process
We intend to make further system enhancements to the A&A and ABWOR applications in the coming weeks.
We have set out some of the key changes and benefits below. Additional information is available in our previous update and online guidance.
Please note that this is a system upgrade. We are not changing any legal aid processes.
Notifications screen – Changes to layout and style
The layout and style of the notifications has been improved. You can now search to locate a specific notification, by typing in the search tab (as below). Our guidance video and training document can be will take you through all the changes.
Criminal A&A and ABWOR Applications and drafts
Creating criminal A&A and ABWOR applications will now be done via the Criminal tab, as shown below. This tab will also be used to submit increases, exceptional status, transfers and verification updates for criminal A&A and ABWOR applications submitted prior to 27 August 2017.
You will have the option to complete draft criminal A&A and ABWOR applications started within the last 30 days. You can search for these within the search tab.
Civil and children’s A&A and ABWOR applications will remain under the A&A tab. You will no longer be able to create a criminal A&A or ABWOR application via the A&A tab.
Benefits of the general layout and application changes
- All criminal related applications are now in one place, under the Criminal tab.
- We are introducing a new application for uplifting A&A to ABWOR, instead of using the Increase application.
- Improved questions and validations online will reduce the number of applications rejected, or delayed for further information.
- The verification section within the application and the verification update have been improved. Changes to the structure of the financial statement questions will reduce the number of applications held for financial related queries.
- Improvements to the layout of the application screens, which now have the same look and feel as the new accounts screens, make navigating through the application easier.
- You can now move through the pages using the navigation tabs at the top. You can click on the next tab to navigate to the next page when you have completed all mandatory fields within the page and are ready to move on. Alternatively, the Next Step option can now be found within Actions.
- For Regulation 4 ABWOR cases, for example post conviction breach cases such as Breach of a Community Payback Order, you can still self certify to an authorised expenditure level of £165 if a second or subsequent diet has been ordered by the court. However, you should now intimate this to us at the time of submitting your account. You can no longer do this when submitting the initial ABWOR application. However, if further expenditure is required over the £165, an increase in authorised expenditure can be applied for in the usual way.
- For all A&A and ABWOR applications for Parole Board cases you will now be asked to provide the prisoner number as a mandatory field, see screenshot below.
Accounts – Paper Process - Changes to electronic synopsis
We have made changes to the way you now input your breakdown. Previously when the work items were displayed they initially contained a negative value and you had to update each work item. As a result of feedback from firms we have removed the negative value. This means you no longer need to update each work item if it does not apply.
When claiming paper work items the expenditure breakdown dates for at least one work item must reflect the date of the last work undertaken. The breakdown should reflect the sums claimed in the paper account. Use the correct work/description when entering the sums claimed to avoid follow-up questions and only use Paper Account ‘Other’ where none of the other options displayed applies.
Accounts – Credits process
When sums are returned to SLAB, this is credited back to the case record. When we updated the old account screens the record was not visible to firms.
The account redevelopment screens have been designed to provide firms with enhanced visibility of the record. Now when a credit is recorded in a case, you will be able to see this along with the reasons for the credit.
When you click on the downward arrow you will see that the item is recorded as a ‘Manual Work item’ and that the amount paid is displayed as a minus figure.
Please note that the minus figure displayed is our way of updating our records.
You may also notice that some credit records are being created on some of your older claims. This is on the basis that we are updating records that have received certain types of credit during the last 24 months. You need not take any action in these cases.
Further guidance on how to submit the paper account is available in our guidance section.
Training and guidance
Webinars are available for the new criminal A&A and ABWOR application products. All of the relevant training materials can now also be found in the Applications e-learning section of our Legal Aid Online hub.
For further information or to arrange a webinar, please contact:
Christine Connerton, Digital Services Marketing Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org
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