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Annual Report 2017 - 2018

How our key services tracked over the last five years

Five-year comparisons showing our services. See below for an explanation of these services.

Total client services 5 year chartDuty services 5 year chart

Outreach legal services 5 year chartLegal advice ervices 5 year chart

Minor assistance services 5 year chartCLE sessions 5 year chart

Aboriginal clients 5 year chartFamily law mediation conferences 5 year chart

We provide services to disadvantaged people including vulnerable clients with complex needs and those who are financially disadvantaged. The volume of our services shows the volume of work undertaken, but is not indicative of the degree of complexity of this work.

OBJECTIVE Access to justice

Total client services

Since 2013-2014 our overall service count has decreased because of a substantial drop in total information services provided. Information services are very high volume, representing more than half of our total service count.

Changes since 2013–2014 to the way we deal with telephone calls from prisoners have increased our efficiency, but reduced the volume of information services recorded. There is also an ongoing trend towards clients obtaining information through our website, which is not captured in the information service totals.

Duty services

Duty services grew by 14.7% over the five years to 2017–2018, with all law types contributing to the increase. Criminal law duty services are the largest single component of our duty total count, and increased by around 20,000 services or 13.5% over this timeframe.

Legal advice and outreach advice services

Legal advice services have increased in each law type since 2013-2014, by a total of 12.7%.

Included in the total advice count are outreach advice services, which are delivered outside Legal Aid NSW office settings, with a particular focus on disadvantaged communities. Outreach advice services have risen by 5,065 or 32.6% since 2013-2014, again with all law types contributing.

Minor assistance

Minor assistance service volumes fell by 18.0% between 2013–2014 and 2017– 2018. This reflects changes in recording practices made to align with our funding agreement with the Commonwealth Government (the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services, 2015–2020). Another factor is the introduction of a new service type called Extended Legal Assistance, initially on a pilot basis in July 2017. In most cases, for each Extended Legal Assistance service provided, the client would previously have received a series of several minor assistance services.

Extended Legal Assistance (ELA)

ELA is a new type of assistance which aims to achieve early resolution for people with multiple legal problems as well as providing assistance in priority areas of law at early stages to clients with other vulnerabilities. It includes assisting a client resolve multiple problems in an ongoing, representative capacity. In 2017–2018 we conducted an ELA pilot in the Civil Law Division, with 515 ELA applications approved.

Family law mediation conferences

There were 6.8% more family mediation conferences held in 2017–2018 than 2013–2014, reflecting an ongoing emphasis on less adversarial forms of dispute resolution. The success rate of these conferences has remained consistently high, at around 80%.

Community Legal Education (CLE)

CLE sessions reached a peak in 2013– 2014, and were 38.1% lower in 2017– 2018. A greater focus on quality and our strategic move to use technology to deliver CLE–such as podcasts and an enhanced webinar platform, has enabled us to reach a much greater number of people in a more costeffective and less resource-intensive way. Our CLE Strategic Framework has also meant that our CLE is more targeted to our priority clients, and more integrated with our other service delivery models.

Aboriginal clients— percentage of services

The proportion of grants and in-house duty services provided to Aboriginal clients has increased each year since 2013–2014, from 10.2%, to 14.2% in 2017–2018. This reflects our ongoing focus on targeting all services to the most disadvantaged client groups, including Aboriginal communities.