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Annual Report 2014 - 2015

Fact file

Finance

Our total income was $253.4 million and we spent $257.4 million.

Of our total expenditure, 47.4 per cent was spent on criminal law services, 27.3 per cent on family law services, 13.1 per cent on civil law services and 12.2 per cent on community partnership programs. See the financial summary for details about where our funds come from and how we spend them. Details about our community partnership program funding can be found in Appendices 4 and 5.

Our people are highly trained

We employed 1,046 staff (945.85 fulltime equivalent), 479 in regional offices and 567 in the Central Sydney office. Of that total, 533 are lawyers and 513 are employed in administrative and corporate services roles.

Sixty-three lawyers have specialist accreditation - NSW Law Society qualifications for expertise in their field.

We recorded a 44 per cent increase in employee attendances at learning activities. The increase reflects training related to legislative and policy reforms. See Learning and development and Appendix 3 for details

Management is headed by an Executive team of eight

An independent Board oversees our long-term strategic direction, whilst the day-to-day management is overseen by the CEO, assisted by a Deputy CEO and eight Directors.

See Board members and Executive directors for their achievements and profiles.

Private lawyers - key partners

In 2014-2015, 41.8 per cent of our case and duty services were provided by private lawyers. See Assigned Grants and Duty Services in Appendix 6.

Structure includes three legal practices

Our organisation is made up of these areas - Criminal Law, Family Law, Civil Law, Grants, Strategic Policy and Planning, Finance, People and Organisational Development, IT Services and Records and Operations Support.

Three of these divisions are legal practices - criminal law, family law and civil law. Each legal practice has a number of specialist services. We also have an Aboriginal Services Unit.

Our organisational structure can be viewed in the Corporate governance section.

Key legislation governing our work

Our organisation is established under the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979 (the Act), which establishes Legal Aid NSW as an independent statutory body with a mandate to provide effective, efficient and economical services that are available and accessible to disadvantaged people in New South Wales.

Section 68 of the Act enables Legal Aid NSW to establish special consultative committees to advise the Board in exercising its functions under the Act.

The Government Sector Employment Act 2013 provides a framework for employment and workforce management. We have complied with all aspects of the GSE Act reforms and implemented compliant recruitment practices well ahead of the Public Service Commission deadline (see Adherence to public sector management reform).

The health and safety of people in our workplace is conducted in accordance with s18 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Our financial statements are prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983.

Significant efforts to reach disadvantaged clients

Legal Aid NSW provides services to socially and economically disadvantaged members of the community. Clients who seek and receive assistance from Legal Aid NSW present with a wide range of complex legal, social, psychological and physical problems. Clients' issues may be compounded due to their lack of English proficiency, low levels of education and literacy, and disability.

Legal Aid NSW has made significant efforts in improving access to services by Aboriginal people through expanded and enhanced services to Aboriginal communities. The increase in case grant and duty services to Aboriginal clients from 10.2 per cent in 2013-2014 to 11.3 per cent in 2014-2015 is a pleasing result.

Similar efforts have been made in reaching people outside Legal Aid NSW offices through a comprehensive outreach program. The increase in case grant and duty services to people in regional and rural New South Wales from 42.5 per cent in 2013-2014 to 45.3 per cent in 2014-2015 is a welcome result.

Legal Aid NSW client profile: %
based on total case grants and inhouse duty services

Chart showing Legal Aid NSW client profile