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Annual Report 2015 - 2016

Measuring performance

Indicators and targets help improve services to clients

Legal Aid NSW uses a range of methods to measure performance and continues to strengthen its focus on performance measurement.

Progress towards better measurement of performance

Legal Aid NSW consistently monitors and reviews its performance to ensure we are meeting our organisational goals, improving the quality of our services and demonstrating the value of our work.

We developed an Outcomes Framework to capture appropriate data and information to measure the impact of our services on our clients, the community and the justice system and developed a complementary monitoring and evaluation framework. The Outcomes Framework will establish new measures and benchmarks of performance for the future.

New performance indicators have been introduced in the National Partnership Agreement 2015–2020. We have exceeded the key performance indicator benchmark. See Performance indicators.

We continue to enhance our business intelligence tool by providing interactive online dashboards for our criminal, family and civil law practices allowing staff to access timely, accurate data that meets their planning and service delivery requirements.

We provide duty lawyers in every Local Court in New South Wales. Duty lawyers are either inhouse or private lawyers paid by Legal Aid NSW.

Key Performance Indicators 2013–142014–152015–16
Community awareness of legal rights and responsibilities
Client satisfaction rating  N/A*  87.0%  N/A*
Average waiting time (weeks) for advice appointments  0.77  0.87  0.87
Number of information services provided  654,958  564,958  528,798
Rate per 100,000 of NSW population accessing information services  8,740  7,441  6,873
Number of advice and minor assistance services provided 140,362 150,396 147,419
Rate per 100,000 of NSW population accessing advice and minor assistance services 1,873 1,981 1,916
Number of publications distributed 712,395 707,409 729,120
Rate per 100,000 of people accessing publications 9,507 9,317 9,477
Accessibility of legal aid
Means test income limit as a % of national minimum weekly wage  51.1%  60.1%  60.9%
Percentage of Local Court sittings services by duty solicitor schemes  100%  100%  100%
Representation service standards
Percentage of satisfactory comprehensive inhouse file reviews  96.8%  97.1%  98.0%
Number of Legal Aid NSW lawyers with specialist accreditation 76 63 79
Number of Legal Aid NSW lawyer attendances at training sessions  3,306  3,118  2,783
Number of private lawyer attendances at Legal Aid NSW training sessions  1,313  882  700

*N/A=surveys conducted every 2 years

tick iconWe exceeded all but two of our service delivery targets for 2015–2016.

Service Delivery Targets 2014–15 performance 2015–16 target 2015–16 performance 2016–17 target
Legal advice services  96,410  96,500  104,547  105,000
Information services  564,958  565,000  528,798  530,000
Inhouse and assigned duty services  174,562  175,000  196,004  196,500
Conferences—family dispute resolution 2,676 2,700 2,796 2,800
Community legal education sessions  2,975  3,000  2,243 2,300
Outreach advice services 14,769 14,800 17,771 17,800
Locations with regular outreach 210 210 248 260
Locations with regular outreach for Aboriginal communities 34 35 45 48

Reporting against the National Partnership Agreement

Commonwealth funding to Legal Aid NSW is governed by a national partnership agreement.

The National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Service (NPA) 2015–2020, started on 1 July 2015. The new five-year agreement covers Commonwealth funding for both Legal Aid Commissions and Community Legal Centres (CLCs).

The objective of the NPA is a national legal assistance sector that is integrated, efficient and effective, focused on improving access to justice for disadvantaged people and maximising service delivery within available resources.

Outcomes include:

  • legal assistance services are targeted to priority clients with the greatest legal need
  • legal assistance service providers collaborate with each other, governments, the private legal profession and other services, to provide joined-up services to address people’s legal and related problems
  • legal assistance services are appropriate, proportionate and tailored to people’s legal needs and levels of capability
  • legal assistance services help people to identify their legal problems and facilitate the resolution of those problems in a timely manner before they escalate
  • legal assistance services help empower people to understand and assert their legal rights and responsibilities and to address, or prevent, legal problems

OBJECTIVE Excellence in legal services

New benchmarks and milestones highlight priority clients

Progress towards the objectives and outcomes is informed by new performance indicators, performance benchmarks and milestones. Service definitions and counting rules under the NPA are now defined by the National Legal Assistance Data Standards Manual. The manual contains practice guidance to legal assistance service providers to help collect consistent and comparable data across the legal assistance system.

Performance indicators are different from those required by the NPA which were in place from 2010 to 2014. Comparisons with NPA data in previous years are therefore not possible.

A number of the performance indicators and the benchmarks focus on the proportion of services delivered to ‘priority clients’. For example, each six months of funding is subject to Legal Aid NSW demonstrating that 95% or more of representation services (grants) are delivered to people experiencing financial disadvantage. Not all performance indicators are reported every year. For example, client satisfaction surveys are required every two years.

We submit a detailed data report every six months. Our systems and processes have been updated to capture the additional demographic data required under the NPA.

In addition to reporting on our own services, we also coordinate reporting on behalf of the state for services delivered by Community Legal Centres.

A new key milestone under the NPA is collaborative service planning. The aim of service planning is to target services to where they are most needed. Further reporting against NPA milestones for Community Legal Centres, including the implementation of collaborative service planning can be found in the section CLSP Service Agreements.

tick iconWe exceeded the benchmark for representation services.

Selected NPA performance indicators and benchmarks
Performance indicator PercentageBenchmark
Proportion of representation services to people experiencing financial disadvantage  99.2%  95% or more
Proportion of alternative dispute resolution conferences held by Legal Aid NSW resulting in either partial or full settlement  78.2%*  N/A

* This is the percentage for Commonwealth conferences only.
The combined total for State and Commonwealth conferences was 78.5%.

Icon for The year aheadThe year ahead

  • Conduct a client satisfaction survey.