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Implementation of the Cameron Review of Community Legal Centre Services

Implementation of the Cameron Review of Community Legal Centre Services

In 2017, the NSW Government asked Mr Alan Cameron AO to review the way the NSW Government supports community legal centres (CLCs) in NSW in order to improve access to justice. The Cameron Review has now been approved by the NSW Government, which is implementing the vast majority of recommendations made by Mr Cameron AO.

The Cameron Review recommended that, from 2019–20, a new application process be introduced to allocate State Government funding to CLCs. A minimum three year funding cycle has also been introduced for State funding. This supports CLCs to engage in forward planning for service delivery which will, in turn, support the delivery of better outcomes for the community.

A new application-based funding model

The new application-based funding model helps to ensure that government funding is aligned with changing demographics, community demand and quality of service delivery and is invested based on evidence of greatest need.

Additionally, the Public Purpose Fund (PPF) Trustees agreed to incorporate the PPF funding to CLCs under the Community Legal Services Program (CLSP) in the application process.

Commonwealth Government funding has already been allocated for a three year period from 2017-18.

Implementation

The NSW Government asked Legal Aid NSW to implement the new funding model. Legal Aid NSW worked with Community Legal Centres NSW (CLCNSW) and the Department of Justice to develop and implement the new application process.

CLCNSW supported the sector to participate in the new process and developed supporting materials to assist CLCs in the application process.

The evidence base to inform applications

The Law and Justice Foundation developed a Legal Needs Analysis to inform applications for funding, similar to that developed in Queensland.

The Legal Needs Analysis for NSW consists of data relating to priority client groups, services available and gaps in legal services in the identified catchment areas.

This helped to support evidence-based proposals for CLC service planning and funding applications.

Legal Needs Analysis report available here.

Assessment of applications

The NSW Attorney General appointed an independent evaluation panel to assess applications from 41 organisations and make recommendations about the funding allocations. The panel consisted of five members, including two senior NSW Government representatives.

The Attorney General has announced funding allocations for the period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2022.

Announcement available here.

More information

More information about the Cameron Review can be found on the Department of Justice website:

https://www.justice.nsw.gov.au/justicepolicy/Pages/lpclrd/lpclrd_consultation/community-legal-centre-services-review.aspx

For further information, please contact the Community Legal Centres Program Unit at Legal Aid NSW at clcprogram@legalaid.nsw.gov.au.