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Annual Report 2011 - 2012

Legal Aid NSW Plan 2011-2012

Priorities, focus areas and achievements

"We completed the first year of a two-year plan, achieving many of our goals"

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

Year ahead
  • Implement a wide range of projects that will deliver increased advice and minor assistance services
  • Implement services to complainants and defendants in domestic violence and sexual assault matters
  • Provide legal assistance to people with high levels of unpaid fines and debt
  • Develop an Aboriginal Reconciliation Action Plan
  • Deliver innovative legal services to people living in rural and remote communities through the use of technologies
  • Develop a strategy and resources to improve communication with new and emerging communities

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

  • Appointed Aboriginal Field Officers in Walgett and Coffs Harbour (see Aboriginal communities and Web conferencing trial).
  • Commenced a web conferencing trial with the Aboriginal Legal Service in Walgett/Dubbo and Grafton (see Web confencing trial).
  • Implemented recommendations from a review of the Aboriginal Legal Access Program through CLCs (see Reviews).

Conduct regular service evaluations to identify and drive good practice

Year ahead
  • Review the effectiveness and efficiency of outreach services including a review of the Regional Outreach Clinic Program and the Cooperative Legal Services Delivery Program
  • Review the effectiveness of the private lawyer panels
  • Review the criminal law committals and indictable practices to increase cost-effectiveness and efficiency and improve services for clients

Supporting our people

Promote the health and wellbeing of staff through a wide range of initiatives

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 though improvements to business information systems

Year ahead
  • Continue our work in promoting and supporting the health and wellbeing of our staff
  • Increase Aboriginal employment through retention and targeted recruitment strategies
  • Implement new business systems and technology to improve efficiency and support the work of our staff
  • Review our data and information needs and develop a new strategy for management reporting and analysis
  • Conduct a post-implementation review of the grants management system

Linking services

Promote a culture of ‘one Legal Aid’ to improve internal referrals for clients across a range of services

Work with other agencies to respond to clients’ legal and non-legal needs

Year ahead
  • Develop new and innovative partnerships to improve access to justice for disadvantaged people
  • Develop more effective collaboration with panel lawyers and our service partners
  • Evaluate the Community Legal Centre (CLC)/Legal Aid NSW partnership program

Note: Some focus areas lend themselves to more than one priority therefore there may be some overlap.