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Annual Report 2018 - 2019

Measuring our performance

Building a strong evidence base for all that we do

We implemented a range of initiatives to monitor and review our performance and improve the quality of service-planning and delivery.

One of our greatest assets is the wealth of data we have about when, where and why clients need our services. We use our data to build an evidence base for our service design and to help us ensure that we are delivering the right services in the right places. Under our five-year strategic plan, we have committed to working with our partners to provide a richer picture of the legal and non-legal factors that exacerbate disadvantage, and to identify opportunities to achieve meaningful and sustained change.

"Our Civil Law Service for Aboriginal Communities was found to be an “informed, warm and compassionate legal service” that engages deeply with the communities it serves."

OBJECTIVE: Meeting clients' needs

Reviewing processes to understand what works well and what we can do better

We commissioned reviews for many of our processes and services. Reviews help us recognise what we are getting right for our clients, as well as highlighting areas where improvement is needed.

Key performance indicators2016–172017–182018–19
Community awareness of legal rights and responsibilities
Client satisfaction* 87% N/A 84%
Information services we provided 517,888 520,479 325,156**
Rate per 100,000 of NSW population accessing our information services 6,644 6,690 4,141**
Advice and minor assistance services we provided 141,000 145,768 138,639
Rate per 100,000 of NSW population accessing our advice and minor assistance services 1,809 1,874 1,766
Number of publications distributed 752,270 681,798 588,536
Rate per 100,000 of NSW population accessing our publications 9,651 8,763 7,496
Accessibility of legal aid
Means test income limit as a % of national minimum weekly wage 59.5 57.6 55.6
Percentage of Local Court sittings served by duty solicitor schemes 100 100 100
Representation service standards
Percentage of satisfactory comprehensive in-house file reviews 99.4 97.8 96.8
Number of Legal Aid NSW lawyers with specialist accreditation 77 79 63
Number of Legal Aid NSW lawyer attendances at training sessions 2,781 2,577 2,777
Number of private lawyer attendances at Legal Aid NSW training sessions 511 512 444

* We measure client satisfaction through surveys conducted every two years. This year, 84 percent of our clients reported that they were satisfied, or highly satisfied, with our service. See Learning from our clients.

** In September 2018, we changed the way we define information services to align with the agreed national standard. This led to a reduction in the recorded number of information services.

An external evaluation of our Civil Law Service for Aboriginal Communities (CLSAC) completed in May 2019 found it was “an informed, warm and compassionate legal service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities” and that its staff were “skilled and dedicated”. The review recommended CLSAC be expanded to meet demand from communities. For details of other specialist civil law services evaluated this year, see Evaluating specialist civil law services.

Developing more sophisticated forecasting tools

We are developing a framework that will use past service delivery data to forecast future demand for our services, and the cost of providing them.

This year, our Business Reporting Unit used historical service data to build a model that was able to generate aggregate-level service demand forecasts with around 97 percent accuracy. We are now working closely with other organisations, including the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, to gather additional data to refine this model and support short-term demand forecasting.

Directing our services to those most in need

We again exceeded the performance benchmark set out in the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services 2015–2020, which requires 95 percent or more of our representation services to be delivered to people experiencing financial disadvantage. See table below. This year, 97.9 percent of our representation services in Commonwealth matters were delivered to people experiencing financial disadvantage.

Reporting against the National Partnership Agreement

Legal aid commissions and community legal centres received Commonwealth funding to improve access to justice for disadvantaged people under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services 2015–2020.

The objective of the partnership is a national legal assistance sector that is integrated, efficient and effective. The current National Partnership Agreement commenced on 1 July 2015 and is due to expire on 30 June 2020.

Legal Aid NSW reports to the Commonwealth every six months on our performance against the performance indicators, benchmarks and milestones outlined in the National Partnership Agreement. We also coordinate reporting on behalf of the state for services delivered by community legal centres.

"We exceeded the benchmark for representation services to people experiencing financial disadvantage."

We report the number of legal assistance services for service types and law types, facilitated resolution processes and their outcomes, and the number and proportion of representation services we deliver to priority clients. Priority clients under the National Partnership Agreement include children and young people aged 24 and younger, Indigenous Australians, and people with a disability or mental illness.

Selected National Partnership Agreement performance indicators and benchmarks, July 2018 to June 2019

Performance indicatorPercentage
Proportion of Legal Aid NSW Commonwealth representation services delivered to people experiencing financial disadvantage 97.9% (exceeding the 95.0% performance benchmark set out in the agreement)
Proportion of facilitated resolution conferences held by Legal Aid NSW that resulted in either partial or full settlement 78.2%*

* Commonwealth conferences only. The combined total for NSW and Commonwealth conferences was 78.6%.

Collaborative service-planning

OBJECTIVE: Meeting clients' needs

In March 2019, Legal Aid NSW provided a report to the Commonwealth on collaborative serviceplanning in NSW.

The report included the following examples of collaborative service-planning:

Year ahead iconThe year ahead

  • We will pilot enhanced collaborative service-planning in four regional catchment areas, with a focus on using legal needs analysis and sharing service delivery data to support enhanced collaborative service-planning.