Advicenow is an independent, not-for-profit website, run by the charity Law for Life: the Foundation for Public Legal Education. It provides accurate information on rights and the law. They believe that everybody should have access to clear and effective guidance to help them deal with law-related issues.
We have worked closely for many years with Law for Life to ensure their Drupal-based Advicenow website is the most accessible and easy to use website for the most up to date legal advice, available to everyone regardless of income.
Most recently, they have been considering ways to monetise elements of the service in order to continue to expand the service offering to continue to provide support for the hundreds of thousands of people who, since the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LAPSO), have been unable to access legal aid when they would have previously been eligible to do so.
Striving to continue to offer help to as many people as possible has led to the piloting of an ecommerce venture offering a select number of paid-for expert guides with a tiered pricing structure based on ability to pay. Those who can afford to pay will be able to immediately download the guides at a fraction of the cost of a consultation with a solicitor and those who cannot afford to pay can request free access.
This will mean that those who can’t pay won’t have to but that the service can continue to improve by bolstering its funding.
Accessible to all
The downloadable guides are available to all regardless of ability to pay and also available free of charge to advice services, community groups, support services and solicitors undertaking pro bono work.
Understandable by all
The resource-rich website offers a great deal of information, presented in a user-friendly format. The design sympathetically incorporates plain English content presentation to enable those without a legal background to utilise the information.
The site now also features interactive tools which help people to challenge unfair benefit decisions if they can’t see an adviser.
More than a thousand disabled people use these tools to send a letter challenging an unfair decisions every month. 5 years ago everyone would have had an adviser to do this but LAPSO has changed that.
"We are very proud to work with the always brilliant Other Media who help us realise our ambitions with such flair, even on a tight budget."
Before 2012 almost none of the site’s users were having to take issues to court without a solicitor (represent themselves), in 2015 that figure was 32.2%, rising enormously to 67% in 2018. The guides that Advicenow provide are helping these people to represent themselves.
To date there have been over 1000 guides sent out and just under half of these have been sent free of charge.
The reviews from users wholly endorse the fulfilling of the objectives to provide an accessible, easy-to-use website that enables users to take their next steps:
"All of the guides were extremely easy to understand and more substantially helpful than some professionals I had consulted over the matter."
"The Survival Guides are really helpful, this has helped me enormously. Equally your website is easy to navigate around, sections are clearly labelled and set out - this has taken away some of the stress in my current situation when I have needed to find out certain information. Thank you."
"One of the most helpful websites for people to get practical help and advice. Looks lovely (and it works) on the phone as well."