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Annual Report 2010 - 2011

Corporate Plan

"We completed our two-year plan, achieving many of our goals."

Corporate priority 1 - Social inclusion

Prioritisation of services for those at greatest risk of social exclusion

Corporate actions
  1. Revise key policies on access to aid, based on evidence of social inclusion and exclusion

What we achieved:

  1. Expand and improve services for Aboriginal communities, people in domestic violence situations and people experiencing financial stress

What we achieved:

  1. Improve relationships with non-legal service providers working with disadvantaged communities

What we achieved:

Corporate priority 2 - Access to justice

Early access to legal assistance through information, community education and reforms to the legal system

Corporate actions
  1. Make better use of the web, to improve access to information on legal issues and services

What we achieved:

  • Redeveloped our website with new features that quickly guide the public to legal help (see Technology - Internet).
  1. Develop and implement community legal education programs for emerging migrant and refugee communities

What we achieved:

  1. Expand and improve outreach services in Aboriginal communities

What we achieved:

  1. Contribute to reforms to the legal system, particularly in relation to dispute resolution, trial efficiency and diversion from the criminal justice system

What we achieved:

Corporate priority 3 - Integrated services

Improved responses to the diverse needs of clients

Corporate actions
  1. Introduce new cross-divisional service delivery initiatives

What we achieved:

  • Reviewed a pilot that combines criminal and civil law services to provide a better service to people charged with Centrelink fraud (see Criminal law - Major achievements).
  1. Provide more opportunities for staff to train and work across traditional program boundaries

What we achieved:

  1. Improve communication and collaboration with private lawyers, the Aboriginal Legal Service and community legal centres

What we achieved:

Corporate priority 4 - Organisational flexibility

Better understanding of, and responsiveness to, changing legal needs

Corporate actions
  1. Develop an integrated suite of demand, cost and efficiency indicators

What we achieved:

  1. Improve the ability of staff to interpret and apply data, through better communication, systems and training

What we achieved:

  • Increased our capacity to undertake needs analyses and user testing for our community legal education materials (see Community legal education).
  • Commenced a small research project to identify and obtain regular data from external agencies that impacts on demand for legal services (see Making sure people get the right service).

Year ahead

A new Legal Aid NSW Plan will guide our work over the next two years. There are four key priorities in this plan.

Promoting access to justice
  • Expand advice and minor assistance services, especially in regional and remote areas
  • Improve access to legal assistance, through better information and referral services and targeted communication strategies
  • Advocate for reform of the legal system in areas that impact significantly on the lives of disadvantaged people, particularly youth detention
Pursuing excellence in legal services
  • Improve training for lawyers, especially those providing services at court
  • Review our processes for selecting, monitoring and communicating with panel lawyers
  • Develop improved models of service delivery for Aboriginal and culturally diverse communities
  • Conduct regular service evaluations to identify and drive good practice
Supporting our people
  • Promote the health and wellbeing of staff by:
    • addressing the impacts of workload and workplace stress
    • promoting access to health and support services
    • supporting managers to deal proactively with wellbeing issues
    • promoting staff security and occupational health and safety across work locations
  • Promote and support professional development and career opportunities for staff
  • Improve support for our inhouse legal practice through better communication, information sharing and technology
  • Enhance our ability to respond to changing workload and legal needs, through improvements to business information systems
Linking services
  • A culture of ‘One Legal Aid’— collaboration right across Legal Aid NSW services
  • Partnerships with other agencies – joint responses to clients’ legal and non-legal needs through:
    • improved collaboration with the Aboriginal Legal Service and community legal centres
    • improved referrals to and from health and human service agencies
    • improved collaboration between legal services in regional and remote areas