Help Accessing Legal Support

PLEASE NOTE: We are now closed for expressions of interest to this programme. If you submitted an expression of interest you will have received an email from us w/c 08/08/22 letting you know whether or not you were successful. 


We are pleased to be working with the Ministry of Justice on the new Help Accessing Legal Support Programme. We have invited expressions of interest from organisations working to sustain and improve access to early social welfare and family legal advice, to enable users to resolve these problems as early as possible and avoid the need for court or tribunal proceedings where possible. Where court or tribunal proceedings are needed, we expect the grant will provide the support needed to help people manage their way through the process effectively.

Services can be delivered face to face, remotely, or a hybrid of the two, depending on the needs of the clients and the nature of the services being delivered.

Grant funding will need to be spent by organisations between 17th October 2022 and 31st March 2023.

A key feature of this programme is expected to focus on helping us all understand what works better in terms of service delivery and also to help make the case for future investment in this work. We are keen to work with data curious organisations who are keen to contribute to this ambition.



All applicants must be registered charities and based in England and Wales, with a track record of delivering legal advice and support services whether in person or remotely. Applications are welcome from local, regional or national charities.


We are looking to partner with organisations who can contribute to the following objectives of this grants programme:-



We envisage working with organisations which:



We expect to award grants in the region of £25,000 to £75,000. We may exceptionally make larger grants to organisations who can demonstrate they can efficiently make use of the funds to meet the programme aims within the timeline for this grant. All funds will need to be spent between 17th October 2022 and 31st March 2023. We can provide advice and support on this if useful.

An important aspect of this programme is the gathering of data and learning to support future service delivery and the case for future investment. It is essential that you are able to engage with this aspect of the work. More detail on this can be found at the link below, please read carefully:-

Summarised monitoring and evaluation design for HALS grantees

How we will prioritise applications

 Your application will be scored against the objectives listed above.

We will also take into account the following factors:-

Application Process

Grants will be awarded as part of a two-stage open application process.

The deadline for submitting the expression of interest was 2nd August 2022. We have now assessed these and been in touch with all applicants w/c 9th August to let them know whether they have been invited to the second stage. 

Feedback on expressions of interest

Due to limited resources, we are not able to provide individual feedback on expressions of interest. Below we have set out some of the issues we came across in the expressions of interest, obviously they won’t all be relevant to all of you, but hopefully they will be of some use.


a.)  Some applications were received from organisations who were not eligible, ie not registered charities or no track record of legal advice/ support.

b.)    Question  1 was :-

  1. What is your organisation’s experience of: i) delivering specialist legal advice/ support to sustain and improve access to early social welfare and family legal advice, and/ or ii) providing support to help people, where court or tribunal hearings are needed, to manage their way though the process effectively?

Responses which scored well were specific about how their services targeted people either early on in the process or provided support to people through the court process. Lower scores were awarded where the answer gave a generic description of the organisation, its history and its service delivery offer.

c.)  Question 2 was:-

  1. In outline, what services do you propose to deliver with the funding, including reference to: i) areas of law ii) geographical area iii) the communities you will serve iv) how these services will serve user needs around remote delivery and/ or in person

  Generally the first three parts of the question were answered well. The higher scoring applicants gave details around how their service have been tailored to the needs of their users, and how they have gone about establishing what those needs are. Lower scores were awarded to answers which simply stated that remote and in person options were available.

d.)  Question 3 was:-

3. Please give two brief examples of how and what you have learned from service delivery by working in partnership or with networks. The ‘how’ refers to the process of learning or evaluation. The ‘what’ refers to the content – ie what it was that you learned.

Some organisations did not give two examples as requested and lost marks for it. Higher scoring applicants gave two examples and explained how and what they learned and what they did with that learning as a result, ie what changes were made. Lower scoring answers were generic and did not include any learning.

e.) Question 4 was:-

4. How have you demonstrated a commitment to data and learning to date? NB  each grantee will be expected to allocate a portion of their grant to resource their project management and monitoring and evaluation.

This was the question which applicants struggled with the most. Lower scoring applicants described their monitoring and evaluation processes in very generic terms and gave no insight into how the learning had been used internally. Conversely higher scoring applicants gave details of the tools they used to collate data, how they had developed a culture of learning within the organisation, how the data and learning was used both internally and externally, their approach to partnership learning and how they had made changes as a result of lessons learned.




1. How are you defining “litigant in person” for the purposes of this grant? 


2.  Who can apply?

Your organisation must be a registered charity operating in England and Wales (this means, for example, local authorities providing advice cannot apply). A registered charity means one which is registered with the Charity Commission. Exempt charities are not eligible.


3. How much can we apply for?

We anticipate making grants in the range of £25,000 – £75,000 but may make larger or smaller grants in exceptional circumstances. We are not being prescriptive about what constitutes exceptional circumstances, this is for the applicant to justify in their application. Organisations will need to explain in their full application how they will spend the amount applied for before 31 March 2023.


4. What work will be funded?

Due to the short-term nature of this funding we do not expect new projects to be set up. This grant can be used to fund pre-existing projects and ongoing work. Tell us where funding gaps exist and where need is not being met in your application.


5. Can we apply for capital expenditure?

No. Whilst this funding cannot be used for capital expenditure, it can be used for costs such as equipment and training.


6. Does it matter if the areas of law my organisation provides advice on are covered by legal aid?

We will not fund work that is eligible for legal aid.


7. How will applications be scored?

Your expression of interest will be scored against the objectives listed above. We will also take into account the following factors:

All objectives will be weighted evenly.


8. How will partnership working be evaluated?

We are not looking for partnership bids, but we value partnership working, and are interested to hear how applicants benefit from working with other organisations. We would not expect nor encourage organisations to set up partnerships for the sake of this grant, and there is no requirement to work in partnerships in order to be successful in securing funding.


9. Can I get feedback on my expression of interest?

We anticipate receiving far more expressions of interest than we are able to fund, and so are unlikely to be able to provide feedback on individual expressions of interest. We will however publish some general feedback on the expressions of interest. We will be able to provide feedback to the smaller number of organisations invited to make a full application which are unsuccessful at this stage.


10. How are you defining social welfare law?

For these purposes, social welfare law includes welfare benefits, debt, housing, employment, family, immigration, community care, mental health, education, discrimination and public law.


11. My organisation offers services across several regions, should I make more than one application?

No. Please only send one application per organisation.


12. My organisation works UK-wide, can I apply?

Yes. However, HALS can only fund work that takes place in England and Wales.