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Legal assistance projects

We invest in legal assistance projects that improve frontline services for vulnerable and disadvantaged Queenslanders by enhancing the efficiency or effectiveness of all or part of the statewide service system.

The projects produce a predetermined product or outcome, have no ongoing costs, and ideally involve collaboration with the broader Queensland legal assistance sector.

Over 2014–20, we have set funding aside for the delivery of innovative projects.

Upcoming and completed projects outlined on this page are:

Current projects (2016–17 and 2017–18 project funding)

Under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services 2015–20 (the NPA), the Queensland and Commonwealth governments are collaborating on service planning with the legal assistance sector. The aim is to coordinate and maximise the reach of services, and to ensure that services are directed where they are most needed.

In March 2017, the Queensland Legal Assistance Forum (QLAF) endorsed a sector work plan (QLAF work plan) of 6 projects considered to have the greatest impact for statewide collaborative service planning.

We support the sector in its collaborative service planning by directing the funding set aside for projects in 2016–17 and 2017–18 to implementing these priority initiatives.

The 6 projects we have allocated funding over 2016-17 and 2017-18 are as follows.

Indigenous legal health check project

We have allocated $300,000 to LawRight to:

  • develop an Indigenous health check and deliver collaborative, cross-sector legal service in 3 Indigenous communities for 2 years
  • develop resources and training so stakeholders can better assist individuals who have mental health issues, intellectual disabilities or cognitive impairment by encouraging collaborative service delivery, information sharing and referral pathways between
    • the criminal justice system
    • Queensland Health
    • advocacy and support services
  • support up to 5 legal assistance service providers in implementing legal health check resources over 12 months through active collaboration with community or health service providers
  • develop a best practice how-to guide for delivering outreach services.

Learning and development project

We have allocated $55,000 to Community Legal Centres Queensland to appoint a training and development officer for the legal assistance sector to:

  • deliver training opportunities based on need
  • deliver cross-sector training and partnerships
  • leverage fee-based training at discounted rates
  • coordinate mini regional conferences
  • develop sector-specific content.

Regionalised collaborative service planning project

We have allocated $200,000 to Community Legal Centres Queensland to pilot a regionalised collaborative service planning process in 3 regions of Queensland.

Using evidence of legal need and their own expertise and experience, the project will enable local service providers to identify:

  • services provided locally
  • service gaps
  • opportunities to ‘draw in’ specialist, statewide services.

Legal health check implementation project

We have set aside $55,000 to support up to 5 legal assistance service providers in implementing legal health check resources over 12 months by actively collaborating with community or health service providers.

Guide to outreach project

We have allocated $18,750 to LawRight to develop a best practice ‘how to’ guide for delivering outreach services.

Mental Health Act 2016 collaboration project

We have set aside $150,000 for the development and provision of resources and training so stakeholders can better assist individuals experiencing mental health issues or with intellectual disability or cognitive impairment by encouraging collaborative service delivery, information sharing and referral pathways between the criminal justice system, Queensland Health, and advocacy and support services

Funding for this project has not yet been allocated.

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2016–17 projects

Queensland Legal Assistance Forum coordination project

The Queensland Legal Assistance Forum (QLAF) terms of reference have been dramatically revised to reflect its central role in driving collaborative service planning under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services 2015–20.

We allocated $78,000 to Community Legal Centres Queensland to employ a dedicated and skilled person throughout 2016–17 to support and coordinate the QLAF in achieving its goals in driving collaborative service planning.

This project facilitated capability building of the QLAF and its sub-working groups to plan for and deliver agreed priority collaborative service planning initiatives.

Community legal sector sustainability and development project

Queensland has been building an evidence base to identify priority clients and the locations of people with the highest levels of legal need. This enables us to identify and analyse evidence of disadvantage, as a proxy for legal need, and target legal assistance services accordingly.

It is important that individual organisations within the community legal sector are given appropriate resources and support to effectively apply the evidence base in their service planning, including when preparing to apply for funding.

We therefore allocated $120,000 to Community Legal Centres Queensland to undertake a 12 month project that delivered:

  • a strategic planning toolkit to provide practical support for community legal centres undertaking strategic planning processes, allowing an organisation to demonstrate that they have considered the impact of the internal and external environment, and to identify and set goals and strategies that define what they are trying to achieve, setting the future direction of the organisation
  • 2 workshops/webinars and appropriate resources to support eligible organisations that applied for Queensland and Commonwealth funding over 2017–20
  • a report on identified cost-saving opportunities within the legal sector and the broader community sector.

Supported decision making resource project

It is important that people with intellectual or cognitive impairment can access support to exercise their legal capacity.

We allocated $55,000 to Mamre Association Inc. to deliver a client-focussed resource to help people with intellectual or cognitive impairment exercise their legal capacity to instruct solicitors to draft a will or appoint someone to assist them in making decisions through a power of attorney.

On behalf of Mamre, Disability Law Queensland has developed a suite of resources to help people with intellectual impairments develop the capacity to:

  • understand what a will and/or enduring power of attorney is
  • instruct a lawyer to prepare a will and/or enduring power of attorney.

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2015–16 and 2016–17

Enduring power of attorney project

An enduring power of attorney (EPOA) is a legal document that allows a person to appoint a trusted person or people to make financial and/or property decisions on their behalf if they become unable to make their own decisions.

EPOA matters can be complex to navigate for people in the community, and there is the potential for misuse of EPOAs, either intentionally or unintentionally, with consequences for vulnerable people and their attorneys. It is therefore important that information, advice and services for EPOA matters are accessible.

We allocated $75,000 to Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia Limited to coordinate early intervention responses for EPOA enquiries, which improves access to justice for vulnerable people and their attorneys.

The project has delivered invaluable resources:

  • a standardised EPOA intake pro forma for legal and community services to facilitate effective referral of enquiries to existing information and services

Learn more general information about EPOAs.

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Self-evaluation toolkit project

We allocated $75,000 to Community Legal Centres Queensland to enable Queensland’s community legal service providers to better evaluate and understand the outcomes of their work in the community by developing a self-evaluation toolkit.

The main purpose of the project was to develop a toolkit that could:

  • capture, measure and report outcomes for clients and other stakeholders more systematically
  • build the measurement and evaluation capacity of community legal centres and the sector
  • effectively capture and communicate what works to funding bodies and the sector
  • use the information and insights to highlight possible improvements to each community legal centre.

The project developed an outcomes measurement framework that has been piloted with 3 different community legal centres.

Community Legal Centres Queensland are currently developing online resources to help implement the toolkit within the legal assistance services sector.

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2015-16 project

Mental health collaborative service delivery project

It is widely recognised that best practice in service delivery for people with mental health issues involves collaboration between lawyers and the non-legal community workers who support them.

We allocated $42,000 to LawRight to address the need for lawyers to develop collaborative practice skills to make the justice system more accessible to people with mental health issues.

In partnership with Community Legal Centres Queensland, LawRight hosted a one-hour webinar to increase awareness and promote collaboration between legal and non-legal services that assist clients with mental illness.

LawRight also developed a number of resources, including:

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2014–15 and 2015–16 projects

Queensland Law Handbook project

The Queensland Law Handbook is a valuable resource for lawyers (particularly in community legal centres), students and the general public. It promotes access to justice by explaining many Queensland and Commonwealth laws and offers detailed information about rights, responsibilities and where to go for further assistance.

We allocated $130,000 to Caxton Legal Centre to make edition 13 of the handbook available online. Queensland Law Handbook is an independent website including features which make it a user-friendly, easy-to-read and effective online legal information resource accessible to everyone.

Popular factsheets and self-help kits have also been revised, updated and published on Queensland Law Handbook.

Legal health check project

We allocated $100,000 to LawRight to continue developing the Legal Health Check (LHC), a resource for lawyers and non-legal professionals used to identify legal problems and tailor legal advice for highly vulnerable people, including through collaboration.

As part of the LHC’s development, the project evaluated if LHCs are providing efficient and effective intervention for clients, particularly for those in priority vulnerable groups.

Further, the project contributed to informing how referrals resulting from LHCs should be made, and provided guidance to legal services across Queensland on how to develop and maintain referral pathways and collaborative partnerships with relevant community services.

The LHC resources produced are relevant for all community legal centres wanting to develop effective collaborative service delivery and include:

Training and development project

We allocated $50,000 to the Queensland Association of Independent Legal Services (now Community Legal Centres Queensland) to produce a clear model for the delivery of training and development initiatives. The initiatives are for implementing within legal assistance services (primarily community organisations) across Queensland to induct new staff delivering legal services and develop the skills and expertise of staff.

A number of resources were developed to aid in the creation and delivery of training and development modules. These resources are to help:

Finally, the project developed an induction module and effective referrals module for people working in Queensland's legal assistance services sector.

Specialist services accessibility project

We allocated $50,000 to Queensland Advocacy Incorporated and Queensland Association of Independent Legal Services (now Community Legal Centres Queensland) to deliver a prototype plan to be adapted and adopted by ‘specialist’ service providers.

The prototyped plan is to make their services more accessible across Queensland through the use of technology, and information and training in generalist services.

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