About the role
CUSTODY NOTIFICATION SERVICE
- Fixed term contract until June 2020
- Lawyer ($97,372 to 121,189 plus superannuation and overtime)
- Attractive employee benefits including salary packaging
About the service
Aboriginal Legal Service of WA Limited (ALSWA) will provide a 24 hour seven day per week custody notification service (CNS) for all Aboriginal people detained in a police facility in Western Australia.
The CNS will provide a culturally competent and thorough welfare service complemented by access to necessary legal advice. Western Australian legislation will make it mandatory for police to contact the ALSWA CNS every time an Aboriginal person is detained in a police facility. The CNS will adopt a dual welfare / legal approach.
The CNS will be staffed by seven culturally competent, trauma informed employees: two Aboriginal support workers and five lawyers (including at least two Aboriginal lawyers).
CNS staff will provide an immediate “R U OK” check to ensure that the person detained is not experiencing any serious health or welfare issues and following this check (which will include notifying the police of any immediate needs), the person detained will have access to legal advice where relevant. The CNS staff will also, wherever possible, assist the person detained with referrals to relevant services including health services, mental health services, accommodation and homelessness services, counselling services and support to deal with unpaid fines. Where the person detained has been charged with an offence and wishes ALSWA to represent them, the CNS staff will need to ensure all relevant information about the pending court date is distributed to the relevant ALSWA office/staff member. If the person detained requires legal assistance from non-criminal lawyers, referrals to the ALSWA Family Law Unit or Civil Law and Human Rights Unit (or an external legal provider) will be made.
The CNS will maximise the ability for the immediate health and welfare needs of Aboriginal people taken into police custody to be identified and addressed and consequently reduce Aboriginal deaths in custody.
About the role
Due to the 24 hour seven day model, all roles will require flexibility of hours with contact time outside of normal working hours including weekends and public holidays. When outside of standard hours coverage is required, the successful candidate must be able to conduct their duties from their home (or other approved location).
The duties of the managing lawyer are to:
- Daily management
- Ensure a quality service with 24 hour seven days per week coverage through CNS
- Be available to assist CNS lawyers and CNS support workers with any queries in relation to services provided through the CNS
- Facilitate access to relevant professional development opportunities for all CNS lawyers and CNS support workers and conduct performance reviews as required
- Oversee and ensure all aspects of file management, data entry and reporting are undertaken in accordance with professional procedures for the role and the CNS team
- Manage the preparation of a complex roster and respond to roster changes due to illness and other circumstances to ensure 24 hour seven day coverage
- Work with human resources to ensure recruitment and employee processes are followed
- Work in partnership with Manager, Policy and Programs and Director Legal Services to
- Ensure a high quality and professional service is delivered by the CNS
- Continue to develop the administrative, operational and procedural framework of the CNS
- Consult with various Aboriginal and other community based organisations to ensure an effective referral processes for Aboriginal people who have been detained in police custody and who require further welfare support and/or legal assistance
- Maintain, and further develop, established relationships and lines of communication with the WA Police
- Ensure proper data recording and reporting systems, performance analysis, stakeholder engagement and consultation
- Participate in a stakeholder group, internal and external, which will meet at regular intervals to provide ongoing monitoring and feedback
- Communicate with other ALSWA staff on CNS matters as required
- Maintain oversight of the financial management, internal controls and ensure that the program is at all times operating in accordance with the funding requirements
- Ensure continuous improvement throughout the life of the program
- Fulfil the lawyer duties as required
The duties of the lawyer are to:
- Ensure all telephone calls on the CNS phone line are answered on a first call basis, and if not possible, the call is returned as per procedural requirements
- Ensure all aspects of file management and data entry are undertaken in accordance with professional standards
- Ensure that the immediate health, safety, and wellbeing needs of the detained person are identified and work with police, family and other services to ensure those welfare concerns are addressed
- Where ongoing welfare needs are identified, with consent of the detained person, work with the CNS support workers and refer the person to available community-based services
- Make referrals to emergency/crisis services at all times and if the phone communication is after hours, next-day referral to relevant services operating during working hours
- Monitor police conduct and report to the managing lawyer as required
- Legal advice
- After the initial welfare inquiry, where relevant and with consent of the detained person, provide appropriate legal advice
- Liaison with key stakeholders
- Liaise with police, family and other agencies as required to explore bail options (and/or access to diversionary options) for the detained person with a view to minimising unnecessary remands in custody
- Enable appropriate referrals to legal services following the cessation of the CNS service (whether this is to ALSWA or another legal service)
- Ensure that non-CNS legal services including ALSWA are advised of possible charges, court dates, bail status and other relevant legal issues.
The CNS roles will be busy and stressful. The CNS phone line must be staffed 24 hours per day, seven days per week, every day of the year and every phone call being answered immediately.
Under the CNS model there will, as far as practicable, be at least one CNS lawyer available at all times and at least one Aboriginal staff member available to speak with persons detained by police. There will be a second CNS staff member on the roster for busy periods to ensure that calls are answered promptly and effectively.
This position require responsible people who are compassionate and self-motivated with well-developed interpersonal skills and personal integrity.
Knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal culture, society and the issues affecting Aboriginal people is required.
To be considered for a CNS opportunity, you will need to meet the following criteria:
- Eligibility to hold a current WA Practicing Certificate
- Ability to obtain a satisfactory police clearance and hold a Working with Children Check card
- High level organisational and time management skills with the ability to work under pressure
- Ability to work with Aboriginal clients and employees with an appropriate levels of cultural understanding, empathy and sensitivity
- Ability to work flexible hours to cover a 24 hour seven day per week roster
- Ability to work from home (or other approved location) when covering shifts outside of standard working hours (8am to 5pm)
- Demonstrated ability to work both independently and as part of a team comprising legal and non-legal staff with a willingness to learn and share knowledge with others
- Highly developed communication skills (interpersonal, written and verbal) with experience in conflict resolution and the ability to communicate well over the phone
- Highly developed conceptual and analytical skills
- Ability to confidently use workplace technology
- Ability to work in a sensitive manner with clients
- Ability to participate in individual performance reviews
About our benefits
We have a friendly, caring and diverse work environment. We offer attractive employment benefits including salary packaging (making part of your salary tax-free), free counselling services to employees and immediate family through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), flexible working arrangements and opportunities for professional development. We also provide five weeks of annual leave per year with leave loading.
In addition, these roles will attract overtime payment for work conducted outside standard hours.
About the organisation
ALSWA is a not for profit independent government funded organisation working to provide high quality representation and assistance to the Aboriginal community in WA.
Our aim is to deliver a quality legal service and education which contributes to participation, empowerment and recognition to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples throughout WA. ALSWA has 13 offices across regional WA and practices in the areas of criminal, civil, human rights and family law, as well as law reform, community legal education, a diversionary program for Aboriginal youth and now, the custody notification service. The service is a ground-breaking program for our organization.
How to apply for this role
Applications not allowed for this job listing.
Please quote in application: MANAGING LAWYER via Pro Bono Australia.