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Annual Report 2015 - 2016

Senior directors

Our senior management team is diverse and highly experienced, each director contributing to the strength of our organisation and helping to achieve our goals.

Bill Grant
Chief Executive Officer (SES level 6)

Budget total: $275.4M
Total staff: (FTE) 1,028.95
Total actual: 1,116

Bill’s biography appears in Board members.

This year, Bill led a number of important initiatives which build on the excellent assistance we provide in civil, family and criminal law and aim to deliver a more targeted, integrated and client-centred service for Legal Aid NSW clients. These initiatives include a Client Service Strategy, a Domestic Violence Strategy, a Community Legal Education Framework and a Regional Planning Framework. These initiatives will inform how services at Legal Aid NSW are delivered over the next three years.

Following on from the opening of a new office in Port Macquarie in 2014, Bill oversaw the further improvement of services to regional NSW in 2015–2016, including opening a new satellite office in Albury, expanding our inhouse committals service to a number of regional locations, and establishing a new Cooperative Legal Service Delivery site in Moree.

Bill ensured that Legal Aid NSW met, and in some cases exceeded, the performance indicators and benchmarks of the first year of the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services (NPA). He established collaborative planning forums under the NPA with Community Legal Centres, Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Ltd, and the NSW Department of Justice.

Steve O’Connor
Dip Law (BAB) Dip Crim
Deputy Director (Band 2)

Budget total: $169.3M
Total staff: (FTE) 887.65
Total actual: 965

Steve returned to Legal Aid NSW in September 2012. In addition to his role as Deputy CEO, Steve undertakes the role of Chief Audit Executive. In this capacity Steve has initiated six internal audits across the organisation, overseen by the Board’s Audit and Risk Committee.

This year, Steve has led two major projects.

Activity Based Costing was rolled out across Legal Aid NSW as the first stage of costing the work of our inhouse legal practices. This rollout followed the successful completion of a pilot across 10 sites.

Steve was Project Sponsor for the Mental Health Training Project, which started during the year with the aim of developing training modules to assist staff who come into contact with clients living with a mental illness.

Steve proudly continued his role as the first Disability Champion at Legal Aid NSW. This involved working closely with the staff Disability Network and promoting disability issues across the organisation.

Richard Funston
BCom LLB EMPA, Accredited Criminal Law Specialist
Director, Criminal Law (Band 1)

Budget total: $88.2M
Total staff (EFT): 286.5
Total actual: 312

During his 19 years with Legal Aid NSW, Richard has held leadership roles across the organisation including Solicitor in Charge of the Children’s Legal Service, Director Grants and Director Strategic Planning and Policy. Richard’s previous experience includes eight years with Victoria Legal Aid and four years as Principal Solicitor of the Inner City Legal Centre in New South Wales.

Richard’s achievements this year include participating in District Court trial backlog initiatives and Early Appropriate Pleas of Guilty Reform.

Richard is also committed to offering staff more opportunities for professional development. In his role as Chair of the Health and Safety Committee, Richard promoted good psychological health for staff through a range of wellbeing initiatives.

Richard also chaired the Legal Aid NSW Reconciliation Action Plan Implementation Working Group, and the NSW Legal Assistance Forum Prisoners Group.

Kylie Beckhouse
BA LLB, Accredited Family Law Specialist
Director, Family Law (Band 1)

Budget total: $49.4M
Total staff (FTE): 204.7
Total actual: 224

Kylie has specialised in family law for over 23 years. She was appointed Director of the Family Law Division in May 2009 and in this role has been responsible for many innovations in the delivery of family law services. She is an accredited specialist in family law and an independent children's lawyer.

Kylie is appointed to the Family Law Council of Australia and the NSW Children's Court Advisory Committee. She is a member of the Law Society of NSW Family Law Issues Committee and the National Legal Aid Family Law Working Group. She currently serves on the Family Court’s Children’s and Self Represented Litigants committees. In 2015, she was awarded a Churchill Medallion in recognition of her completion of a Churchill Fellowship to investigate the administration of child legal representation schemes in overseas jurisdictions.

Achievements this year include establishing a Domestic Violence Unit, and an Appeals and Complex Litigation Unit. She has also led national improvements in the representation of children culminating in the launch of a national internet site for Independent Children’s Lawyers.

Monique Hitter
BSW Dip Law
Director, Civil Law (Band 1)

Budget total: $20.3M
Total staff (FTE): 167.81
Total actual: 179

Monique has worked as a lawyer since 1997 in the community, government and private sectors.

Monique developed the model for the Cooperative Legal Services Delivery Program and managed its pilot in 2004. It is now implemented in many regions across New South Wales.

Monique has been the Director of the Civil Law Division since July 2007. She is also a member of the Women's Advisory Council for Corrective Services NSW.

This year, Monique expanded civil law services for Aboriginal communities and outreach services generally. She has also been a member of the consultation group for developing the first New South Wales Civil Justice Strategy.

Wayne Gale
BA (Computing) MCom (Accounting)
Director, Information and Communications Technology (Band 1)

Budget total: $3.4M
Total staff (FTE): 31.29
Total actual: 34

Wayne was appointed to his position in January 2007.

Wayne's career in information technology spans 30 years, including senior roles both in the private sector providing information technology services and solutions to Government, as well as working directly in the government sector.

This year, Wayne and his team completed the second phase of our data centre migration project involving the transition of out IT Disaster Recovery and Backup facilities to a cloud services arrangement in conjunction with our production data centre facilities now located in the NSW Government Data Centre at Silverwater.

Wayne also worked closely with other executive stakeholders on the development of the Client Service Strategy with a particular focus on the identification of future digital initiatives and opportunities to support that strategy.

Annmarie Lumsden
BA LLB Dip Bus EMPA, Accredited Criminal Law Specialist
Director, Strategic Policy, Planning and Community Partnerships (Band 1)

Budget total: $35.8M
Total staff (FTE): 30.9
Total actual: 34

During her 18 years with Legal Aid NSW, Annmarie has held leadership positions across the organisation, including as a Solicitor Advocate in the criminal law practice, Executive Officer to the CEO, Director Grants, and acting Director Family Law. She had previous experience in government and private practice.

Annmarie was elected as a Councillor of the Law Society in 2014. This year, she is Chair of the Juvenile Justice Committee, Deputy Chair of the Criminal Law Committee, and Deputy Chair of the Government Solicitors Committee. She is the Legal Aid NSW representative on the Victims Advisory Board and the Law Society nominee on the Children’s Court Advisory Committee.

This year, Annmarie has led implementation of the new National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Service 2015–2020, including collaboration with the legal assistance sector. She has also led the development of a strategy to capture data and information that demonstrates the value and quality of Legal Aid NSW services, and the development of a client-focused proposal for improved service delivery to meet the recommendations of the Review of legal service gaps in remote New South Wales.

Vicki Leaver
Director, People and Organisational Development (Human Resources) (Band 1)

Budget total: $1.9M
Total staff (FTE): 20
Total actual: 20

Vicki was appointed as the Director, People and Organisational Development in July 2011.

Before joining Legal Aid NSW, Vicki held senior roles at RailCorp and the Department of Health.

This year, Vicki's team has continued to modernise workforce management practices.

These include introducing:

  • an innovative Individual Planning process based on formal and informal discussions between managers and staff
  • a workplace standards package, focused on a code of conduct and respectful behaviours
  • a New Leaders Program and a supporting induction for newly appointed Solicitors-in-Charge.

Concurrently, Vicki is undertaking the ANZSOG Executive Masters in Public Administration.

Clare Hamilton
B Bus (Accounting) FCPA
Director, Finance (Senior Officer Grade 2)

Budget total: $275.4M
Total staff (FTE): 14.8
Total actual: 15

Clare was appointed to this position in 2008.

Her previous experience includes senior finance and corporate services roles across a range of public sector agencies.

Clare has consistently met financial targets and achieved successful funding outcomes in a difficult funding climate.

This year, Clare completed a restructure of the Finance team and introduced a number of process improvements, including a systems based funding submission workflow. She also negotiated a significant increase in expenditure limits with NSW Treasury.

Mary Whitehead
BA (Hons), LLB (Hons), G Cert Pub Sec Mgmt, Accredited Family Law Specialist
Director, Grants (Band 1)

Budget total: $6.3M
Total staff (FTE): 80.19
Total actual: 83

Mary was appointed Director of Grants in June 2012. In 25 years in Legal Aid NSW, Mary has held senior positions in the inhouse practice, Grants and in policy and project areas. She established the Child Support Service and took on the challenge of implementing the ATLAS grants management system.

This year Mary facilitated the implementation of the new contributions policy. She also chaired a review of the Domestic Violence Practitioner Scheme as part of the Domestic Violence Strategy. Mary chaired the new Data Governance Council, which is the key body in the Data Governance Framework.

Mary and her team worked with staff from across the organisation to design an online legal aid application form for clients, which will be implemented in 2016–2017.