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Integrating legal need research into centres’ strategic planning Polly Porteous - Combined CLCs’ Group NSW NSW CLC State Conference 8 April 2008
1. Strategic Service Delivery Model NSW CLC Review defines SSDM: • Element A: Identifying unmet legal needs • Element B: Planning and developing service responses • Element C: Delivering services CLC Conference April08
2. SSDM - Element A • Element A: Identifying unmet legal needs through a variety of techniques including • Monitoring casework patterns and statistics • Research including consultation with, and/or surveys of clients, legal and non-legal service providers and communities • Demographic data • Socio-economic data and reports. CLC Conference April08
3. Law and Justice Foundation of NSW: Data Digest 3 • The Foundation is in the process of developing an interactive computer application with data “mining” and spatial mapping capabilities. • The main aims of the Data Digest 3 (DD3) project are: • to enhance the description, analysis and interpretation of legal need in NSW, particularly as it is expressed by socially and economically disadvantaged persons • to assist the public legal sector in the modelling, planning and delivery of legal assistance services in NSW • DD3 will contain de-identified legal inquiries records from Legal Aid NSW, LawAccess and NSW Community Legal Centres. CLC Conference April08
4. DD3 cont’d DD3 will allow users to generate information on: • the type of legal matter for inquiries; • the demographic characteristics of inquirers; • the pathways that service users take; • changes in legal inquiries over time; • the rate of legal inquiries for particular population groups and/or geographic areas of NSW; and, • spatial maps of how expressed legal need relates to socio-economic measures, such as Census indicators of disadvantage. CLC Conference April08
5. DD3 cont’d • DD3 will operate as a web-based application only accessible via secure password • CLCs will get access to DD3 early 2009 • CCLCG is on the Steering Committee for DD3 and we are working to ensure DD3 will be useful for all NSW CLCs, but also that the privacy of data and centres’ services are protected • CCLCG has also asked for permission to access DD3 early in order to use it for our Strategic Planning Project (but most recent news is we can’t get data til late 2008) CLC Conference April08
6. SSDM - Element B Element B: Planning and developing service responses [to legal needs identified via Element A] in accordance with good practice including: • Adopting a strategic approach to planning and service development • Considering equity and consistency issues • Identifying preventative, early intervention and capacity building approaches • Using community development approaches • Working cooperatively with other legal and/or community services providers • Adjusting service delivery in response to changing circumstances CLC Conference April08
7. How do you integrate results of research into your planning? • Sounds simple but when it comes to the crunch, how do you do it? • Questions (you will probably have more!): • Isn’t there more need that all of us can meet? • Given our measly budgets, how can we do MORE? • How do you prioritise between equally disadvantaged client groups? • How do you choose between modes of service delivery - eg more advice vs more casework? CLE vs advice? Law reform vs casework? CLC Conference April08
8. CCLCG grant application to Law and Justice Foundation • CCLCG has applied for a grant of $24,000 to run a project “Assessing legal needs of community legal centres and translating into service delivery” • Partners in the grant application are Legal Aid NSW, National Association of CLCs, and the Foundation itself (a Steering Committee will be established) • The grant funds will be used to employ consultant/s to work with two pilot centres - Western NSW CLC and Women’s Legal Service NSW • We originally hoped the project would start in May 2008 but the Foundation is now not considering our application until August 2008 CLC Conference April08
9. CCLCG grant application cont’d The consultants will • Use the Foundation’s DD3 to generate information about the pilot centres’ geographic/specialist areas • Consult with other legal service provides in the pilot centres’ region/specialty area in order to map current service delivery • Conduct strategic planning workshops with each pilot centre and facilitate the use of the research to inform centre plans • Develop templates for strategic planning that can be used by all centres • Write up the project with recommendations for how to roll out to all NSW centres (and potentially across Australia) CLC Conference April08
10. Possible Template for legal needs assessment Legal Needs Assessment for X CLC Prepared for X CLC’s Strategic Planning Day 2008 1. What does our community look like? • Demographic and socio-economic data made available through DD3; or if DD3 unavailable, through census, local council analysis etc 2. Who currently comes to our centre – people and issues? • CLSIS reports and other databases used by the centre 3. What is the expressed legal need in our area? • Use DD3 to look at legal inquiries to CLCs/Legal Aid/Law Access (or in the absence of DD3, ask State Office for CLSIS state-wide data, and ask Law Access for their data) • Identify whether the rate of inquiries in certain subject matters is higher for this region/area than the state average CLC Conference April08
How can we possibly do all this? • It is beyond the resources of the average CLC to conduct such a detailed legal needs analysis • The purpose of the grant project is to create some easy-to-use templates, set up a process to access DD3, and suggest ways in which CCLCG and NACLC can assist centres in their legal needs assessment • It may be that we then pitch for funding from the Commonwealth AGD for a position with NACLC that resources centres in legal needs research/strategic planning CLC Conference April08
11. Possible template cont’d 4. What is unexpressed or unmet legal need in the area as measured by • NSW Legal Survey by the Law and Justice Foundation • Survey of local community organisations (not legal services) re the legal needs of their clients (? Query if this is unmet need?) 5. What legal services exist in this region and what do they do? (Map current coverage) • Consult CLSDM or specialist stakeholder groups • “Gap analysis” in key subject areas eg family law, care and protection 6. Is there any other research / evidence relevant to assessing legal needs or prioritising amongst need of our centre? • Consider court data (eg mortgage repossession data from Supreme Court, crime data including DV) • Look at NSW State Plan, the Aboriginal Justice Strategy, Local Council Social Plan/s, and other key Government docs relevant to your area CLC Conference April08