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Remote Preferred Provider pilots in Moree and Broken Hill

Background and guidelines

Background

Legal Aid NSW is piloting 'remote preferred provider' schemes for the allocation of care matters in Broken Hill and Moree. Under the pilots, care matters in Broken Hill and Moree will be allocated to 'remote preferred providers', selected from Legal Aid NSW’s relevant Panels. There will be three parallel schemes piloted:

  • Broken Hill (one scheme for the allocation of both adult and children's care matters)
  • Moree (one scheme for the allocation of children's care matters) 
  • Moree (another scheme for the allocation of adults' care matters).

The schemes cover the allocation of all grants of aid in care matters in these communities: that is, representation of the child or children the subject of an application; the parent(s); and any adult third party or parties joined to the proceedings.

Practitioners must be appointed to the following Legal Aid NSW Panels in order to be a Remote Preferred Provider (RPP):

  1. Broken Hill RPPs: Care and Protection (Adults and Children); General Family Law; and Independent Children's Lawyer (ICL)
  2. Moree RPPs (Adults): Care and Protection (Adults) and General Family Law
  3. Moree RPPs (Children): Care and Protection (Adults and Children); General Family Law; and ICL

RPPs are required to be appointed to the Legal Aid NSW General Family Law and ICL Panels to ensure that they can provide advice and representation services on any related family law matters for the client.  

Practitioners are selected as RPPs following a call for Expressions of Interest, based on the following selection criteria:

  • Appointment to appropriate Legal Aid NSW Panels (noted above)
  • Ability and willingness to travel to Broken Hill or Moree regularly to responsively and effectively undertake care work in those communities
  • Willingness to undertake additional training and professional development as identified by Legal Aid NSW.
  • Proven capacity to deliver high quality legal services to disadvantaged clients, and a demonstrated understanding of the complex needs of these clients.

For the Moree Adults scheme, a syndicate of practitioners (between two and four) may submit an Expression of Interest, provided all practitioners are appointed to the Care and Protection (Adults) and General Family Law Panels. The intention is that the practitioners in the syndicate would work collaboratively to manage care casework for adults in Moree in a consistent, effective and sustainable manner.

RPPs are selected by the Chief Executive Officer of Legal Aid NSW, taking into account the recommendations of a selection committee comprising representatives from Legal Aid NSW and the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT.

Practitioners are selected as RPPs for one year, after which the pilots will be reviewed. The schemes may cease or continue, with or without changes, following this review.

Guidelines

Allocation of work

  1. Under the RPP pilot schemes, grants of aid in care matters in Broken Hill and Moree will be allocated to an RPP if one is available. If no RPP is available, the matter will be allocated to another practitioner on Legal Aid NSW’s Care Panels (Adult or Children’s Panel, depending on the client).
  2. RPPs may also be allocated family law and Independent Children's Lawyer matters in Moree and Broken Hill.

    Obligations
  3. The obligations arising under a practitioner's Legal Aid NSW Service Agreements and Practice Standards apply to RPPs.
  4. RPPs must be available to accept care work in their designated remote community, including attendance as a duty solicitor, and be willing and able to travel to their designated remote community to undertake such work.
  5. If a RPP has accepted a case but is not available to appear on behalf of the client on one occasion, he or she should appoint an agent to mention the matter. The agent should be a RPP, or if one is not available, another person appointed to the relevant Legal Aid NSW Panel. Agent fees will only be paid in exceptional circumstances in accordance with the Legal Aid NSW Care and Protection Fee Scale.    
  6. If a RPP has accepted a case but is not available to represent the client on an ongoing basis, the RPP should seek to arrange for another RPP to take on the matter:     
    1. If another RPP is able to take on the matter, the RPP should submit a transfer request on Grants Online nominating the other RPP to take over the matter.
    2. If another RPP is not able to take on the matter, the RPP should submit a transfer request on Grants Online and ask the Grants Division to reallocate the matter.
  7. RPP should make arrangements for the satisfactory management of their other legal aid work while travelling to their designated remote community.

    Travel entitlements
  8. Standard travel entitlements set out in the Care and Protection Fee Scale (Travel Entitlements in State Care and Protection Matters) apply under the RPP schemes.
  9. However, travel may only be claimed once per visit to the designated remote community. Travel may be claimed either on a duty tax invoice, or against one case matter, as instructed by the Grants Division.
  10. The travel claims for RPPs will be audited.

    Training
  11. RPPs are expected to undertake ongoing training and professional development in care and family law.
  12. Legal Aid NSW will provide RPPs with complementary registration for relevant Legal Aid NSW conferences and seminars.

    Compliance
  13. A RPPs failure to comply with their obligations without reasonable explanation may result in removal from the RPP scheme.