Vermont Business Magazine A press release from the E-911 Board stating that the Department of Public Safety “will not be continuing to participate in the statewide 911 call taking system” is false. No decision has been made. Secretary of Administration Justin Johnson issued the following statement on the inaccurate press release issued this morning. “No decision has been made surrounding the participation of the Department of Public Safety in the statewide 9-1-1 call taking system. The attempt to mislead the media and public is completely outrageous and under-handed.”Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn has been meeting with E911 Board Chair Gary Taylor after Taylor and the E911 board recently notified the DPS that funding for call taking services will be cut by $90,000. Public safety answering points operated by the state of Vermont field 75% of all 911 calls in the state, and despite the funding cut, would be expected by the 911 board to maintain that call volume. Taylor said there is no plan to cut funding to other call centers that field the remaining 25% of 911 calls in Vermont.As part of the process of ensuring taxpayer dollars are best utilized to maximize emergency services, discussion between DPS, the Agency of Administration, and the E-911 Board have been occurring to determine the best path forward. Those discussion are ongoing and no decision has been made. “It is concerning that the President and Vice-President of the 911 board chose to use such tactics to misled the press and public about a decision that has not been made,” Flynn said.
The government is set to slash £700 from the fixed recoverable costs for low-level claims handled through the RTA Portal scheme, the Gazette can reveal. According to figures released today by the Ministry of Justice, solicitors running claims valued at up to £10,000 will be able to claim £500 in costs from next April, down from £1,200 today. Stage one claims will be worth £200 and stage two are £300. For employer and public liability claims, to be admitted to the electronic portal from next April, maximum solicitors’ costs will be £900. For RTA claims valued up to £25,000, fixed recoverable costs will be capped at £800, whilst higher-level EL and PL will be worth £1,600 in costs. The portal scheme is mandatory for all claims within scope where liability is admitted. The government today opened a consultation on the new figures and will hope to have the new fees in place by next April, when the portal is extended to £25,000 and to EL and PL claims. In a letter to ‘stakeholders’, Helen Grant, the justice minister, explains that the new costs take account of inflation since the portal was introduced in 2009. However, costs have been reduced to ‘reflect the forthcoming ban on referral fees’. Insurers argued each referral was worth around £800 and lobbied to have that amount taken off the fixed costs. But the size of the cut will come as a surprise to members of the legal profession who took part in long negotiations with insurers when the costs were first set. They were drawn up to take into account guideline hourly rates, which were set up in 2000 – four years before referral fees were allowed.