Close Search
 
MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES for the COMMON GOOD
News  | 

NSW Community Legal Centres - Funding Review


13 March 2007 at 3:17 pm
Staff Reporter
The Federal Government has provided an injection of funds following a review of the NSW Community Legal Centres which found the program struggling to meet the growing demand for services in the community.

Staff Reporter | 13 March 2007 at 3:17 pm


0 Comments


 Print
NSW Community Legal Centres - Funding Review
13 March 2007 at 3:17 pm

The Federal Government has provided an injection of funds following a review of the NSW Community Legal Centres which found the program struggling to meet the growing demand for services in the community.

The Review found that while there have been allocation increases to the Community Legal Services Program (CLSP) over the past 25 years, these have rarely gone to existing Centres’ central activities, but rather have been used to establish new Centres or new projects in existing Centres.

At times annual CPI increases to the CLSP have been discounted and some costs have risen faster than Centres’ income.
The Review says salary levels are very low in most Centres, as is the proportion of resources allocated to administrative costs and to the efficient use of technology.

It found that almost all Centres are overwhelmed by demand for their services and cannot sustain their current levels of service, nor meet emerging service gaps.

Limited resources mean that most Centres severely curtail the casework services they offer, by applying restrictive guidelines. The consequence is that many of their clients cannot obtain legal advice or assistance in critical areas such as family law, employment law and other civil matters.

Since the Review, the Federal Government has announced a $1million funding boost for a range of information technology and training initiatives to enhance the operation of community legal centres nationally.

The funding will allow for:

– computer upgrades;
– trialling of low cost telecommunications technology;
– investigation of improved arrangements for IT support;
– development of training materials for volunteers and management committee
– members and online training for staff in the use of the program’s data collection system; and
– updating of legal libraries or resources

The Review says that sustainable funding for Centres, while creating a front-end expense, would ultimately save money in other areas of the justice system, and other socio-economic costs to individuals and the community.

It says if additional funding is not forthcoming, governments risk losing their existing investment in the CLSP, as Centres struggle to perform basic functions at the expense of service delivery.

Some of the key recommendations include:

– Establishment of a NSW Legal Assistance Forum
– Adoption of a Strategic Service Delivery Model for the CLSP
– A review to identify the full range of effective service delivery models for regional and remote areas
– Establishment of a Training, Resource and Infrastructure Program (TRIP) to provide centralised support for Centres on a range of issues
– An audit of Centres’ information and communication technology needs and a one-off upgrade of Centres’ computer networks to an agreed standard
– CLSP funding for Centres to provide specialist services targeted at Indigenous people and communities
– An Indigenous Access project
– Investigation of the true level of need for interpreter services in Centres (rec. 35).
– A review by funding bodies of reporting and accountability requirements for Centres
– Specific assistance for Centres on governance issues, including training for boards and management committees on their roles and responsibilities
– A review of pro bono referral systems

The full report can be downloaded at: www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au



PB Careers
Get your biweekly dose of news, opinion and analysis to keep you up to date with what’s happening and why it matters for you, sent every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers? Get in touch at news@probonoaustralia.com.au or download our contributor guidelines.

Advertisement

Virtual Congress - CPA Australia

Tags : Funding,

 Print

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Making room for change through challenges

Maggie Coggan

Monday, 26th October 2020 at 8:35 am

How to prototype your career as a social innovator

Contributor

Monday, 26th October 2020 at 8:21 am

New digital initiative takes Australian history into the classroom

Luke Michael

Saturday, 24th October 2020 at 8:00 am

Early survey insights reveal a social sector facing severe burnout

Luke Michael

Thursday, 22nd October 2020 at 5:22 pm

pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook
×