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Annual Report 2013 - 2014

Legal Aid NSW Plan: a snapshot

Snapshot of achievements

All actions in the Plan have either specified measures of success or targets. All targets were either met or exceeded.

Access to justice

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

  • Implemented the Legal Aid NSW Aboriginal Reconciliation Action Plan 2013–2015 actions for 2013–2014
  • Piloted the civil Law Checkup tool to improve referrals in four locations (Target: 3)
  • Trialled a new model for early intervention legal assistance services for the child protection system before matters reach court
  • Developed three new initiatives that increase access to justice for people with disabilities
  • Conducted a second trial of advice and duty services for defendants in ADVO matters
  • Developed education resources on the risks of sexting and cyberbullying
  • Published information about the law for recent arrivals

Excellence in legal services

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

  • Developed a new time recording and reporting system to measure and cost activities of inhouse lawyers
  • Established new advice and duty services at the Social Security Appeals Tribunal and the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal
  • Delivered 24 training sessions in Bail law reform to over 600 inhouse and private lawyers (Target:15 sessions)
  • Lodged 68 appeals for prisoners arising from the Muldrock review (Target: up to 70)
  • Improved payment options for clients making contributions to their grant of legal aid
  • Implemented all actions in the Diversity Action Plan
  • Contributed to a major review of national legal assistance services
  • Expanded mobile technology to reach more people in rural areas, completing 5 initiatives (Target: 3)

Supporting our people

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

  • Launched the Aboriginal Employment and Career Development Strategy
  • Implemented a majority of recommendations from a review of our case and grants management systems
  • Implemented a new online Management Development Program
  • Published 11 editions of the Table Talk staff communication tool (Target: 10 editions)
  • Implemented an executive knowledge bank on the intranet

Strong partnerships

Objective: To build strong, effective service partnerships to respond to the legal and non legal needs of our clients

  • Developed new partnership protocols with the Aboriginal Legal Service for making referrals
  • Developed a state-wide Legal Aid NSW disaster recovery response plan in consultation with the Ministry for Police and Emergency Services and the legal assistance sector
  • Worked with the Justice cluster in developing a service model for young people with complex needs
  • Worked with the Department of Family and Community Services to improve responsiveness to client needs in family law matters
  • Implemented a pilot to share practice resources with the private profession
  • Collaborated with Health NSW and Centrelink to provide integrated services to clients

Year ahead

Our activity in 2014-2015 will be driven by our corporate planning process and our four strategic objectives.

Access to justice

  • Develop a new Reconciliation Action Plan for 2015-2017
  • Implement an immigration advice and outreach strategy
  • Provide legal education about the risks of cyberbullying and sexting
  • Expand the Best for Kids website for children and young people
  • Introduce new models for delivering legal services in child protection law

Excellence in legal services

  • Evaluate the civil law duty services model at tribunals
  • Implement recommendations from the review of the Panel Lawyer Audit Strategy
  • Review the outcomes of the Productivity Commission's Access to Justice Arrangements Inquiry
  • Implement the Diversity Action Plan 2014-15 to promote diversity and inclusiveness

Supporting our people

  • Develop a new Aboriginal Employment and Career Development Strategy for 2015-2017
  • Implement the requirements of the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 and the Public Service Commission Guidelines
  • Implement recommendations of the study into health and wellbeing in Legal Aid NSW
  • Introduce Activity Based Costing so we can measure, monitor and report the costs of our services

Strong partnerships

  • Identify gaps in the provision of legal services in South-West, Far West and Northern NSW
  • Provide training on best practice principles for outreach lawyers
  • Coordinate a new service delivery response (It Stops Here) to domestic violence in two launch sites – Waverley and Orange
  • Identify gaps in support systems for Aboriginal women leaving custody