The Victorian community and our stakeholders in legal and non-legal sectors help us meet our objectives and deliver services effectively. Engaging with the community and stakeholders enables us to: 

  • harness knowledge and experience to help us improve our services 
  • test policies, ideas and directions 
  • identify and, where possible, address issues of concern. 

This year we consulted and collaborated with the community and our stakeholders on a number of activities and projects. The input we received influenced our decision-making and is contributing to the continuous improvement of our services. 

Key achievements 

Seeking community and stakeholder views to help shape our future directions 

During the past year, we consulted with nearly 4,000 stakeholders including our staff, members of the community and external stakeholders to ensure we had the best input possible on which to make decisions about the future of legal aid in Victoria and our strategic directions. 

Listening to the community and our stakeholders also helped us to make informed choices about how we assist the most vulnerable and disadvantaged Victorians in a challenging environment where community need for services outweighs our capacity to always respond in the way we would like. 

One result of our extensive consultation is our unifying Strategy 2015–18

Community research 

We commissioned research to better understand community awareness of legal aid, perceptions about priority access to services, and expectations of government funded legal aid. We consulted more than 1,500 people, with 92 per cent of respondents agreeing that it was important or very important for a government funded agency to help people who cannot afford legal services. Aligning with our priority clients, respondents nominated people on a low income, people experiencing or at risk of experiencing family violence and people with a disability as most in need of legal aid. 

External stakeholder consultation 

We also undertook a comprehensive stakeholder consultation to gather views from our Commonwealth and state governments, the judiciary, members of the Bar, lawyers in private practice, other justice sector partners, and community and welfare sector stakeholders. Consultation took the form of individual meetings, roundtable discussions and an online survey. The consultation highlighted: 

  • a strong call for increased collaboration through closer, more respectful and mutually beneficial relationships 
  • the need to forge better links with the non-legal, not-for-profit sector 
  • increased transparency and accountability. 

Establishing new and stronger collaborations 

We also commenced a number of new collaborations that we will start to deliver on our new Strategy 2015–18 commitment to ‘working better together’. In 2014–15 we: 

  • announced a new fund for community legal centres – the Innovation and Transformation Fund – to foster innovation and further strengthening of the sector 
  • commenced a collaboration with the Federation of Community Legal Centres and RMIT University's Centre for Innovative Justice and its Innovation Fastrack Program to improve access to justice through better use of technology 
  • established a two-year partnership with the Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales to undertake evaluation services. The foundation has extensive experience in undertaking independent high quality evaluations in the legal assistance sector. 

More information

You can also read about other consultations and community engagement efforts we have undertaken this year: