Go to content

Annual Report 2017 - 2018

Efficiency measures

OBJECTIVE Access to justice

New service model in Remote NSW

During 2017, we consulted with local communities, and state-wide stakeholders, and created a plan with a staged approach to improving our service model in the North West NSW.

The first stage involves making changes to current criminal law service delivery. The second stage involves developing a broader plan for ongoing services (including family and civil law services) in the region.

Implementing the NSW Government’s package of criminal justice reforms

We established the Early Guilty Pleas (EAGP) Implementation Team to design and implement necessary changes across the organisation. We redesigned our workforce – at Central Sydney, we amalgamated the Committals and Indictable Sections, and the Advocates Unit into three new Indictable Teams; and for Regional Offices, we created 14 Legal Officer and seven Legal Support Officer roles, following detailed analysis and consultation to assess relative business needs at each location. Additional Grants and Case Conferencing positions were also created to facilitate the reforms.

Putting clients at the centre of everything we do

During 2017 we started developing a new online booking system to improve the management of and communication of client bookings. The new system will improve client service by providing a streamlined and consistent process for staff to manage client bookings.

Following the successful trial of client computers at our Central Sydney and Gosford offices, we installed client computer kiosks in six regional locations. The kiosks are operating at our Bankstown, Campbelltown, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Lismore and Penrith offices.

Clients can use the kiosks to print documents to support an application for a grant of aid and find legal information and resources to help with legal problems.

Online Application Form

We trialled an online version of the legal aid application form between July 2017 and April 2018. A number of recommendations were made on the basis of the trial and we are working to implement these this year.

OBJECTIVE Supporting our people

Transforming our administrative support services

In response to our administrative staff increasingly handling high volumes of work and providing client service, we began three trials to alleviate capacity issues:

  • An administrative relief pool with four staff placed at offices where required.
  • An administrative work pool of two staff based in Central Sydney.
  • A Senior Legal Support Officer trial offered four existing staff the opportunity to act in more high-graded administrative role.

OBJECTIVE Excellence in legal services

A new monitoring and evaluation framework

The Legal Aid NSW Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (the Framework) was developed in 2017–2018. Informed and aligned to the NSW Government Program Evaluation Guidelines (C2016-01- Program Evaluation), the Framework provides an overarching guide to evaluative practice in order to integrate and evaluative activities into service planning and delivery.

The Framework is designed to embed a culture of evaluation throughout the organisation, in order to equip all staff with the tools to demonstrate and assess the impact of Legal Aid NSW's work to our clients, community and the justice sector.

OBJECTIVE Strong partnerships

Regional plans built on local needs

We continued to roll out Regional Service Delivery Planning during 2017–2018. Following the successful pilot conducted in 2016 a total of nine offices now have an approved plan with a further four offices in the final stages of finalising their plans.

Regional Service Delivery Planning takes evidence-based, legal-needs driven planning that has been used through Legal Aid NSW programs such as the Cooperative Legal Service Delivery Program and applies it to all our regional offices. As part of this planning each office examines the demographic and other data about their local populations to identify likely local legal need.

Reviewing our grants system

As a result of review recommendations, our Grants Division launched the Grants Efficiency Review project. Part of this project includes a comprehensive review of the Grants systems, processes and workshops with all Grants staff to engage in identifying Grants specific priorities.

Integrated health justice partnerships

We developed a Statement of Strategic Intent to guide its Health Justice Partnership (HJP) work which was approved by the Executive Steering Group for HJPs in July 2017.

The Statement of Strategic Intent is to improve the health, wellbeing and legal outcomes of clients through integrated health and legal partnerships.

Physical environment supports staff to work safely and efficiently

This year, we completed a number of office relocations and refurbishments whilst maintaining safe interrupted service delivery.

New satellite offices were established in Bourke and Walgett, relocations were completed for Parramatta and Penrith Office and refurbishments were undertaken at Gosford and Campbelltown offices.

We also introduced new personal security devices for staff conducting outreach work.

calendar iconThe year ahead

  • Streamline consistent client entry pathways and design new digital channels.
  • Complete the design and testing of our client triage model.
  • Build on the review of our advice model by developing a new Legal Aid NSW advice framework.
  • Progress work on our service model for priority client groups, especially prisoners and Aboriginal people.
  • Complete evaluations of our specialist services and draw together learnings about what works.