Legal assistance projects

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

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

Upcoming and completed projects outlined on this page are:

Current Projects (2018–19 and 2019-20 project funding)

Digital projects

The legal assistance sector (the sector) is becoming more dependent on effective digital tools to deliver its services; however, Community Legal Centres Queensland has observed that there are high degrees of variability across the sector in terms of availability, accessibility and suitability of appropriate digital infrastructure and support.

As the sector wants to adopt modern and fit-for-purpose technology solutions to support their services, the below incremental approach was identified as the most appropriate method of meeting their needs.

Step 1: Basic software and hardware upgrades – grants process

In April 2019, as a critical step in supporting the sector to pursue more advanced digital solutions, $370,000 of project funding was made available to community organisations funded under the legal assistance services program and allocated through a discrete grants process for basic digital hardware and software upgrades. A total of 27 applications were received, evaluated and recommended to the Director-General to be allocated funding for digital upgrades such as: new computers, printers, software and website updates. $262,399 was allocated through this process. These upgrades will increase community organisations’ day-to-day capabilities and facilitate entry into technology innovation.

Step 2: Developing a sector-wide digital strategy

To ensure collaborative and cohesive digital projects throughout the sector, $113,000 of 2018-19 project funding has been allocated to engage an external consultant to develop a sector-wide digital strategy. The strategy will help provide a shared direction within the sector and inform Government how best to direct funding for digital projects. Work has commenced and will build on the foundations set out in the digital framework developed by the sector at the end of 2018. It is anticipated that that the strategy will be a living document with the first iteration due to be completed by the end of 2019.

Step 3: Undertaking digital projects

Once the digital strategy has been developed and endorsed, a procurement process will be undertaken to allocate funding to projects which align with the strategy.

More information about the strategy and the procurement process will be provided in early 2020.

Research and evaluation

The sector has also been seeking strategic direction in relation to research needs and in November 2018, the Queensland Legal Assistance Forum (QLAF) endorsed a research and evaluation framework which was developed in response to the need identified in the sector.

Service and program evaluations have had an increased focus in the sector as funders, service users and clients look to better understand the value of the services they support or rely on. The Queensland and Commonwealth Governments are evaluating new services and reviewing programs to facilitate continuous improvement. While these evaluations are timely in their respective environments, the QLAF identified the need for strategic direction on evaluation to support service development and planning.

Subsequently, the Director-General approved for $300,000 of 2018-19 project funding to be set aside and allocated to research and evaluation initiatives that align with the framework.

A procurement process will be undertaken early in 2020   to allocate funding for research and evaluation projects that align with the framework.

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2018–19 project funding

Project funding of $640,500 is available to be allocated in 2018–19, which includes unspent funding from 2016–18 and funding for 2018–19.

A procurement process will be undertaken in early 2019 to allocate the 2018–19 project funding.

2016–17 and 2017–18 projects

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.

Law Yarn

The result of this was Law Yarn, which was launched in Cairns by the Attorney-General in May 2018.

Law Yarn is a unique tool to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. It helps health workers talk to members of remote and urban communities about their legal problems and connect them to legal help.

It uses images of cyclones, mangroves, stars and journeys to help vulnerable communities recognise their legal problems in context and learn where to get help.

Learning and development project

We have allocated $55,000 to Community Legal Centres Queensland (CLCQ) 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.

CLCQ has continued building on existing projects and networks to provide varied training opportunities to the community legal sector.

There were 38 training opportunities provided by CLCQ via webinar from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, with topics based on formal requests for feedback and through informal discussions.

CLCQ also provided face-to-face training in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and the Gold Coast.

Both training types relied on CLCQ’s ability to establish and cultivate partnerships with a broad range of cross-sector organisations throughout Australia, including community legal centres, education providers, government agencies, commercial law firms, and private organisations.

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Regionalised collaborative service planning project

We have allocated $200,000 to CLCQ 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.

CLCQ conducted 2 successful pilot sites, which resulted in regional plans being finalised.

Another 3 regions have been selected from expressions of interest to undertake the next round of planning.

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 allocated $150,000 to Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia (ADAA) to develop and provide resources and training for stakeholders that encourage collaborative service delivery, information sharing, and referral pathways between the criminal justice system, Queensland Health and advocacy and support services.

This will help them to better assist individuals experiencing mental health issues or with intellectual or cognitive impairment.

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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 (PDF, 1.1MB) 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:

Learn more general information about EPOAs.

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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