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Implementation of the Cameron Review of Community Legal Centre Services

31 Aug 2018

In 2017, the NSW Government asked Mr Alan Cameron AO to review the way the NSW Government supports community legal centres (CLCs) in NSW in order to improve access to justice.

The Cameron Review has now been approved by the NSW Government, which will implement the vast majority of recommendations made  by Mr Cameron AO.

The Cameron Review recommended that, from 2019–20, a new application process be introduced to allocate State Government funding to CLCs. A minimum three year funding cycle will also be introduced for State funding. This will support CLCs to engage in forward planning for service delivery which will,  in turn, support the delivery of better outcomes for the community.

A new application-based funding model

The new application-based funding model will help to ensure that government funding is aligned with changing demographics, community demand and quality of service delivery and are invested based on evidence of greatest need.

The new application-based funding model will apply to all State funding announced in the 2018-19 Budget. This will include a component of funding that will be available to support all NSW centres, whether or not currently funded under the program.

Discretionary payments from the Public Purpose Fund (PPF) will not be included in the new application funding model at this time.

Commonwealth Government funding has already been allocated for a three year period from 2017-18.

Implementation

The NSW Government has asked Legal Aid NSW to implement the new funding model. Legal Aid NSW will work with CLCNSW and the Department of Justice to develop and implement the new application process.

The CLC sector will be closely consulted, and CLCNSW will support the sector to participate in the new process and develop supporting materials to assist CLCs in the application process.

The evidence base to inform applications

The Law and Justice Foundation and CLCNSW have been engaged to develop a Legal Needs Analysis to inform applications for funding, similar to that developed in Queensland.

The Legal Needs Analysis for NSW will consist of data relating to priority client groups, services available and gaps in legal services in the identified catchment areas.

The Legal Needs Analysis will support evidence-based proposals for CLC service planning and funding applications.

Timeframes

Legal Aid NSW is currently finalising the timeframe that will apply to the applications for funding under the new State Government model, and will provide more information about the tender process as soon as possible.

In the meantime, please contact Meagan Lee at Legal Aid NSW at meagan.lee@legalaid.nsw.gov.au for more information.

For more information about support available to CLCs, please contact CLCNSW at clcnsw@clcnsw.org.au or at http://www.clcnsw.org.au/.

More information about the Cameron Review can be found on the Department of Justice website:

https://www.justice.nsw.gov.au/Pages/media-news/media-releases/2018/record-investment-in-community-justice.aspx.