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Annual Report 2015 - 2016

Achievements against the Legal Aid NSW Plan 2015 - 2016

The Legal Aid NSW Plan 2015–2016 was ambitious in scope with many actions requiring significant planning, development and implementation. Despite this we achieved what we set out to do1. The actions highlighted on the facing page are examples of what we did particularly well.

All actions in the Plan have specified measures of success, or targets*.

* Measures of success/targets are published internally only.
1 - We were unable to roll out the Safer Pathway element of the domestic and family violence reforms to additional sites in NSW as the new sites were not confirmed by Government until June 2016. This rollout will now be undertaken in 2016–2017.

Access to justice

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

  • Implemented the 2016 component of the NSW Aboriginal Reconciliation Action Plan 2015–2018 (See Targets exceeded and Aboriginal community partnerships)
  • Expanded our inhouse capacity to conduct more committal matters across New South Wales (See Early settlements)
  • Expanded civil and family law services to Aboriginal communities in 11 regional and remote areas (Target 10) (See Targets exceeded)
  • Developed a new Domestic and Family Violence Strategy 2016–2018 across all areas of legal service delivery (See Safety for victims)
  • Developed a proposal for improved service delivery to meet the recommendations of the Review of legal service gaps in remote NSW (See Reshaping service delivery)

The year ahead 2016–2017

  • Implement the Reconciliation Action Plan 2015–2018
  • Develop a new model of legal service delivery to assist high conflict families in the family law system resolve their dispute.
  • Expand legal assistance services in the Riverina and Murray regions of NSW
  • Implement the Legal Aid NSW Domestic and Family Violence Strategy 2016–2018
  • Roll out the Safer Pathway part of the Domestic and Family Violence Reforms to more sites in NSW

Excellence in legal services

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

  • Implemented Activity Based Costing where lawyers in all legal practices record the amount of time spent on the delivery of legal aid services (See Lawyers and advocates)
  • Completed a strategic framework for the delivery of community legal education (See Community legal education)
  • Commenced implementation of the new National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services 2015–2020 (See Reporting against NPA)
  • Developed a Client Service Strategy 2016–2020 to ensure quality and consistency of services to clients (See delivering a strategy)
  • Implemented the Diversity Action Plan 2015–2016 to promote diversity and inclusiveness and improve client service and support for staff (See Meeting needs of diverse clients)

The year ahead 2016–2017

  • Implement the new Client Service Strategy 2016–2020 to improve the quality of service delivery, client engagement and access to services
  • Identify the impact of the expanded inhouse committals practice
  • Implement the Community Legal Education Strategic Framework to assist people identify and address legal issues early, and to improve access to justice

Supporting our people

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

  • Implemented the 2016 part of the new Aboriginal Employment and Career Development Strategy 2015–2018 (See Employing Aboriginal staff)
  • Analysed results from the UNSW report Creating a Supportive Culture for Legal Services to implement options for improved staff health and wellbeing (See Wellbeing strategies)
  • Developed and launched the New Leaders’ Program to develop capabilities to manage people effectively and improve performance (See New Leaders Program)
  • Developed a new induction module for lawyers in all legal practices, ready for launching in November 2016 (See induction process)
  • Developed and submitted a business case for a new case management system (See Treasury approval)
  • Implemented the new data governance framework (See New data governance)
  • Developed a strategy to capture data and information that demonstrates the value and quality of Legal Aid NSW services (See Collecting better information)

The year ahead 2016–2017

  • Develop a Work Health and Safety Plan to improve staff safety and wellbeing
  • Develop and pilot the delivery of training and resources for staff providing services to people living with mental illness
  • Implement the Activity Based Costing Management Model to improve data quality and test costing capability
  • Develop a new Case Management System to support staff in meeting future business needs and deliver improved client services

Strong partnerships

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

  • Identified new initiatives to improve access to legal services in correctional facilities through the use of technology (See Improve access)
  • Collaborated with the legal assistance sector to implement the requirements of the new National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services 2015–2020 (See NPA funding and NLA Data Standards)
  • Developed local partnerships with the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS) and Community Legal Centres to implement Care and Protection reforms, achieving a 10% increase in referrals from FaCS (See Early intervention reforms)
  • Developed a framework to establish regional service delivery plans for Legal Aid NSW offices which was trialled in five regional offices (See Regional plans)

The year ahead 2016–2017

  • Roll out the new framework for Regional Service Delivery Plans for Legal Aid NSW offices
  • Collaborate with the justice cluster to improve the criminal justice system and develop and implement reforms and initiatives to reduce backlogs in the District Court
  • Implement the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services 2015–2020