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Cooperative Legal Service Delivery Program

The Cooperative Legal Service Delivery (CLSD) Program is a regionally-based approach to legal service delivery in NSW. It aims to improve outcomes for economically and socially disadvantaged people by building cooperative and strategic networks of key legal services and community organisations.

CLSD is based on the theory that better coordination and cooperation in the planning and delivery of legal services will enhance the efficient and effective use of scarce resources and improve access to justice for disadvantaged people.

Evaluation of the CLSD Program Final Report August 2012

The 2012 evaluation of the CLSD Program was undertaken by Penny Ryan and Kitty Ray, Social Policy & Evaluation Consultants. The Evaluation sought to assess the effectiveness of the CLSD model and to provide recommendations as to how the program could best continue to develop.

The evaluation did not seek to assess the direct impact of the program on disadvantaged people’s access to the law, but focused on assessing the engagement of regional partners, program management and perceptions of the benefits of the CLSD Program’s activities.

If you would like to discuss the report please contact Jenny Lovric, Manager CLSD Program on 02 9219 5102 or jenny.lovric@legalaid.nsw.gov.au

CLSD e-update

The CLSD e-update contains information about CLSD projects, Legal Aid NSW news, and news from the justice sector that would be of interest to CLSD partners.

Program objectives

CLSD aims for continuous improvements to service delivery through better alignment of planning, program design and service delivery within and across the legal and related sectors covered by the program.

The program’s three main objectives are to ensure that:

  • economically and socially disadvantaged people are able to efficiently and effectively access legal services which can help them to understand, protect and enforce their legal rights and interests;
  • consideration is given to legal need and equity in the provision of legal services and resources; and
  • planning and delivery of legal services is approached in a coordinated and cooperative manner between service providers.

Features of CLSD

The CLSD Program is centred around the following elements.

Regional coalitions of legal service providers and community organisations

Potential CLSD locations are identified on the basis of socio-demographic indicators of high disadvantage, availability, location and accessibility of legal services and transport considerations.

Each region establishes a regional coalition or partnership made up of representatives from key legal services and community organisations in the area — see Participants section.

Regional coalitions meet face-to-face quarterly to exchange information, identify service delivery priorities for their region and to develop and implement strategic plans and projects including outreach clinics, community legal education and training to address priorities and unmet need.

While the CLSD Program Unit provides central coordination, each CLSD region is largely autonomous and outputs are responsive to locally identified issues. Part-time Regional Coordinators are appointed to each region to facilitate coordination at the local level.

Regional Coordinators

Contact details of CLSD Regional Coordinators

Map showing locations of CLSD Coordinators

CLSD Program Regional Partnership Factsheets

Improved referrals between service providers

One of CLSD’s aims is to get disadvantaged people off the “referral merry-go-round”. It does this by increasing awareness and exchange of information about services and by developing mechanisms and strategies to improve referrals.

CLSD is also working with other justice agencies to improve referrals from nonlegal service providers to the most appropriate legal service provider.

Improved access to pro bono legal services

One of the aims of CLSD is to facilitate better access to pro bono assistance — through Sydney-based firms with established pro bono practices, better coordination with pro bono referral schemes or harnessing closer relationships with local law firms and regional law societies. Apart from taking referrals, firms may also provide administrative support, training and community legal education.

Evidence-based planning of legal services

CLSD partners adopt an evidence-based approach to developing projects and services that meet local emerging legal needs. Partners aim to coordinate more effective and collaborative outreach services, improve client referrals between agencies, develop new client resources and CLE (Community Legal Education) based on the identified needs of their communities.

The CLSD Program Unit works closely with LawAccess NSW and the Law & Justice Foundation of NSW to analyse data on service usage and explore and implement service planning and delivery strategies.

Central coordination through Legal Aid NSW

The CLSD Program is centrally managed and coordinated by the CLSD Program Unit based at Legal Aid NSW. The Unit assists regional coalitions to develop and monitor projects and strategic plans. Through the partnerships, the Unit is able to give a voice to local regional issues by raising them at a broader level: information on identified gaps in services and emerging and systemic issues are fed back to Legal Aid NSW Head Office, the NSW Legal Assistance Forum, the Law & Justice Foundation and LawAccess NSW. The CLSD Program Unit also manages funding for CLSD projects and liaises with justice agencies to facilitate outreach to CLSD regions.


Through working together, CLSD partners have attracted additional resources, enabling agencies to extend services to meet emerging legal needs. Partners have developed targeted community legal education sessions, improved client referrals between agencies, developed new resources, provided training and capacity-building initiatives.

CLSD partners are working together on cooperative projects such as legal advice and information “road-shows” and joint outreach advice clinics to less well-serviced regional areas. CLSD is also well-placed to report on unmet needs in regional NSW and identify systemic legal issues for consideration at a peak level.

Further, government agencies such as ombudsman and complaints services are increasingly leveraging the CLSD networks to promote awareness of and access to their services across regional NSW.


CLSD is guided by a Steering Committee which provides advice on the Program and is made up of key agencies in the legal assistance sector in NSW. CLSD participants include:

Legal Aid NSW

Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services Henry Davis York
Community Legal Centres Disability advocacy agencies DLA Phillips Fox
Local Courts Youth services Gilbert + Tobin
LawAccess NSW Migrant community groups/resource centres Clayton Utz
Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Ltd Legal Information Access Centres in regional public libraries Sparke Helmore
Aboriginal Community Justice groups Financial Counselling agencies Ashurst
Law and Justice Foundation of NSW Family Relationship Centres Law Society of NSW Pro Bono Scheme
NSW Legal Assistance Forum Neighbourhood Centres Public Interest Law Clearing House
Community Justice Centres Regional Law Societies Government agencies including Housing NSW, Child Support Agency
Tenancy Services


Jenny Lovric CLSD Program Manager
Tel: (02) 9219 5102 Fax: (02) 9219 5038
Email: jenny.lovric@legalaid.nsw.gov.auPO Box K847 Haymarket NSW 1238