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Annual Report 2012 - 2013

Legal Aid NSW Plan: a snapshot

We completed the final year of our two-year plan, with significant achievements in all priority areas.

Promoting access to justice

  • Expanded civil and family law advice and minor assistance services to Aboriginal people through outreach services by more than 10%, against a target of 5–10% (p 14)
  • Established a partnership with Settlement Services International and delivered new outreach advice services to culturally diverse and newly arrived migrant communities in eight Migrant Resource Centres (p 14)
  • Completed a systematic review (Muldrock review) of sentences on selected closed files, made grants of aid in approximately 70 matters and prepared appeals for filing (p 20)
  • Established the Sexual Assault Communications Privilege Service (SACPS) and implemented services to complainants and defendants in domestic violence and sexual assault matters through the SACPS and the Mt Druitt ADVO Defendant Pilot (pp 18, 24)
  • Established a State-wide Work and Development Order Service (WDO) assisting organisations and health practitioners to become WDO sponsors and linking eligible clients with the scheme to clear fines debt. Assisted over 300 people, against a target of 200 (p 14)
  • Developed the Legal Aid NSW Aboriginal Reconciliation Action Plan 2013–2015 (p 39)

Pursuing excellence in legal services

  • Developed and implemented the Metropolitan Duty Scheme, a new system for allocating back-up duty work for metropolitan Sydney (p 46)
  • Reviewed the effectiveness of the Regional Outreach Clinic Program (p 38)
  • Completed a review of the criminal law committals and indictable practices to increase cost-effectiveness and efficiency and improve services (p 46)
  • Developed training and delivered five sessions across New South Wales to enhance Aboriginal cultural competency skills of private lawyers (p 39)
  • Developed domestic violence awareness training and delivered training to over 18% of Legal Aid NSW staff, exceeding a target of 15% (p 45)
  • Participated in the Review of the National Partnership Agreement and submitted a comprehensive response to the Commonwealth (p 7)

Supporting our people

  • Continued retention and targeted recruitment strategies to increase Aboriginal employment at Legal Aid NSW to 4.9%, against a target of 5.5% (p 44)
  • Developed and implemented a Health and Wellbeing Strategy (p 43)
  • Completed a post-implementation review of the grants management system (p 47)
  • Reviewed the data and information needs of Legal Aid NSW and developed and implemented a new Business Intelligence tool and reporting dashboards (p 48)

Linking services

  • Developed effective communication strategies with panel lawyers and our service partners, by publishing 10 e-newsletters and achieving a 53% increase in subscribers and over 25% increase in web page views (pp 33, 41)
  • Conducted a review of the Community Legal Centre/Legal Aid NSW partnership program (p 35)
  • Completed a review of the Cooperative Legal Service Delivery program (p 37)
  • Established a joint project with the Consumer Credit Legal Centre to assist vulnerable people targeted by payday lenders, providing over 200 advice and minor assistance services (p 24)

Year ahead

2013–2014 Objective: To promote access to justice through early intervention and prevention and better targeting of legal assistance to disadvantaged people

  • Develop new early intervention legal assistance services for the child protection system before matters reach court
  • Conduct a trial of a duty and advice service for defendants in Apprehended Domestic Violence Order matters and evaluate the trial in partnership with the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research
  • Pilot and evaluate a civil law check-up tool in targeted locations to reduce the risk of homelessness for disadvantaged people, especially young people
  • Implement key actions for 2013–2014 from the Legal Aid NSW Reconciliation Action Plan 2013–2015

2013–2014 Objective: To pursue excellence, innovation and efficiency in legal service delivery

  • Implement initiatives in relation to State Government reforms to the law of bail
  • Use mobile technology and, in particular, web conferencing technology with rural and remote service partners, to enhance the delivery of legal services
  • Pilot an expansion of civil law advice and duty services to targeted tribunals
  • Implement a new Diversity Action Plan which promotes inclusiveness and diversity to improve client service and support for staff
  • Develop and pilot activity-based costing

2013–2014 Objective: To support and develop our people and improve our systems to meet organisational goals

  • Develop and implement an Aboriginal Employment and Career Development Strategy
  • Finalise and implement a framework to establish individual plans for all staff at Legal Aid NSW
  • Progress the approved recommendations of the post-implementation grants management system review
  • Implement a program for managers to support health and wellbeing and a respectful workplace for staff

2013–2014 Objective: To build strong effective service partnerships to respond to the legal and non-legal needs of our clients

  • Develop an initiative with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to reduce committals for trial and increase early pleas of guilty where appropriate
  • Implement a pilot to share practice-based resources with the private profession
  • Develop strategies in partnership with the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Ltd to  support the delivery of legal services to  Aboriginal clients