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Annual Report 2011 - 2012

Highlights at a glance

What we did

We provided 931,141 client services (a 13.8% increase from 2010–2011) and introduced more programs and services by allocating resources effectively.

The biggest percentage increase was in minor assistance services – work done in advice sessions that helps people resolve their legal problem but does not require a formal application for legal aid. These services increased by 108%. This reflects the reforms set down by the Commonwealth Government under the National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on Legal Assistance Services. The NPA provided additional Commonwealth funding and required a 30% increase in early intervention services, such as minor assistance, by 2014.

More early intervention programs have helped people resolve their legal issues at an early stage whilst expanded regional programs brought our services into the reach of more people in rural and regional New South Wales.

We achieved most of the goals from the first year of the Legal Aid NSW Plan 2011–2013, placing us in a strong position for the second year of the plan.

There are four priorities in the 2011–2013 Legal Aid NSW Plan:

Priority: Access to justice

Increased minor assistance services by 108% (see Practice highlights)

Expanded outreach locations to 153 (see Fact file - Regional partnerships)

Launched a new website (see Communicating effectively with our audience)

Launched a multimedia package for separating families (see CLE highlights)

Established two specialist units for serious criminal offences (see Delivering legal services - new challenges)

Established the Work and Development Order Service for fines debt (see Fixing fines debt)

Commenced the Specialist Barrister Panel (see Lawyer panels)

Established a Referral Strategy and Network (see Halting the 'roundabout')

Launched a privacy legal service for victims of sexual assault (see Privacy for victims of sexual assault)

Provided 46 law reform submissions (see Advocating for reform and Appendix 8)

Priority: Excellence in legal services

Appointed 458 more lawyers to panels—a 13% increase on last year (see Lawyer panels)

Developed ‘communities of practice’ in civil law (see Knowledge management)

Conducted independent reviews and evaluations of our services (see Regular reviews and independent scrutiny)

Began a rollout of statewide domestic violence training (see Help for all parties to domestic violence)

Established a research alliance (see Collecting data on supply, demand and unmet need)

Commenced a web conferencing trial (see Web conferencing trial)

Appointed Aboriginal Field Officers in Walgett and Coffs Harbour (see Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal community partnerships)

Launched a new professional development program for family lawyers (see Developing skills base of staff)

Priority: Supporting our people

Developed a Health and Wellbeing Strategy (see Health and wellbeing of our staff)

Actioned 70% of recommendations from an independent health report (see Policy and reviews)

Surveyed staff on work-related stress (see Health and wellbeing of our staff)

Trained staff on how to manage stress (see Health and wellbeing)

Undertook an iPad trial (see Connecting systems and staff)

Improved Business Intelligence systems (see Business Intelligence)

Priority: Linking services

Launched a monthly e-newsletter (see Communicating better about our work)

Established an Outreach Advice Network (see Linking services)

Established an Offshore Asylum Seeker Project partnership (see Offshore Asylum Seeker Project)

Assisted private lawyers in the Shoalhaven to prepare s32 (Mental Health Act 2007) case plans (see Case managing clients with intellectual disabilities)

Financial management

Our net financial result was a loss of $0.2 million, which is a $0.7 million improvement on the budgeted deficit.

Financial summary 2010–2011 ($M) 2011–2012 ($M) Change (%)
Operating Revenue 230.1 243.6 5.9
Operating Expenses 230.2 244.7 6.3
Total Assets 97.8 100.9 3.2
Total Liabilities 62.1 92.5 49
Surplus / (Deficit) (0.6) (0.2) (66.7)
Net Equity 35.8 8.4 (76.5)