Quarterly service and finance reports

In 2018, the Commission resolved that Legal Aid WA would report at regular intervals on its performance. The Commission's view was that the once-a-year Annual Report was insufficient and that Legal Aid WA should report quarterly.

Western Australians have a right to clearly understand Legal Aid WA’s performance and so these reports will be publicly available on our website. We will produce these reports every quarter to provide updates on our services, outputs, financial position and priority projects. More regular release of information is consistent with broader moves across government to open data. We’re confident that more transparent information will contribute to better operational efficiency and improved engagement with stakeholders. 

It is taxpayers’ money that we use and we are an open and accountable organisation. Creating and distributing quarterly reports in this way will put Legal Aid WA at the forefront of openness and transparency in the Western Australian public sector. 

You can read the most recent quarterly report below and download copies of quarterly reports from the past two years.

infographic from current quarterly report

Priority project updates

Expanding elder abuse services

In early July our Seniors Rights and Advocacy Service exceeded 1,000 calls for help since inception. We set up the service last year to help vulnerable Western Australians who were experiencing elder abuse. Of the 1,000 services provided, most concerned financial abuse from a family member. After a 208% increase in demand last year, Legal Aid WA is now tripling its capacity to provide elder abuse services. 

Preventing youth violence

In mid-September, Legal Aid WA launched a new campaign to educate young people about the lifelong consequences of violence. This quarter saw a spate of ‘fight videos’ filmed by young people and uploaded to social media. Many young people are unaware that it is against the law to film and share videos showing a person under 18 being abused. Our campaign included community legal education, media events and our new One Punch Can Change a Life animation.

New magistrate

In July, the Governor appointed one of our Commissioners, Genevieve Cleary, as a magistrate. Genevieve served as a Commissioner from April 2018 and also as a member of our Audit and Risk Management Committee. Genevieve made a significant contribution to Legal Aid WA in her two and a quarter years on our Board. Upon her appointment, she resigned as a Commissioner to avoid any conflict of interest.

Clean bill of health

In August, the Office of the Auditor General advised that they would be giving an unqualified audit opinion on our financial statements, our financial controls and our key performance indicators. That’s a ‘thumbs up’ without any qualification. They also commented on the high quality of information received from Legal Aid WA. It is essential for public trust and confidence that we get excellent results from independent audits.

New records set

In mid-August, our online legal chat service completed its 20,000th chat since inception. At the time, we wondered about demand for this new service but Western Australians have taken to it enthusiastically. In July, our website registered 128,919 page views – that’s the highest number ever in a month. With fact sheets, videos and animations, our website is the authoritative source of legal information for Western Australians.  

Chairperson reappointed

In July, the Governor of Western Australia re-appointed the Hon Jane Crisford SC as our Chairperson. Jane’s steadfast support, wise counsel, ready availability and her deeply-held belief that justice must not depend on a person’s ability to pay, have all been tremendous assets for Legal Aid WA. Under her leadership, Legal Aid WA strives for a future where all Western Australians benefit from the protection of the law, regardless of poverty or disadvantage.

Client stories: A successful property settlement

Legal Aid recently assisted a vulnerable client with a family law property settlement. The client had separated from her husband and left him in the family home. She suffered from a multitude of serious health problems and had a 15 year old son with cystic fibrosis living with her. The property of the marriage was modest but the client had made no progress in getting her ex-husband to pay her a settlement.

The client sought help through our Virtual Office service and was helped by a Legal Aid WA lawyer from our family law division. Our lawyer helped with negotiations with the husband and drafted court documents for the client, and resulted in a successful property settlement. These were the services needed for a breakthrough, and the client wrote a thank you note that said:

I would like to express my gratitude & appreciation to my Legal Aid lawyer. I was granted aid as she is helping me out with my Property settlement. She is a passionate, empathetic, understanding lawyer, whom I know is very busy, but has gone over & beyond to guide me into the right direction & help me out where I need it as I am on a Disability Pension and knows I could not afford a lawyer, and is aware I suffer with Mental health, on chemo & dealing with Domestic violence.

I would like for her Boss to see this, as I think she deserves the credit of how much she is a wonderful lawyer, that cares about her clients and helping them out as much as she possibly can. I am forever grateful & appreciative of such a beautiful, caring woman. Thank you, you have been my guiding angel throughout this traumatic time.

Any Western Australian who needs legal assistance can contact our Virtual Office team for a free legal assistance appointment. 

Financial performance

Legal Aid WA is expected have a deficit of $4,307,841 at the end of the 2020-21 financial year. This is based on the year to date actuals and forecast actuals for the remainder of the year for both revenue and expenditure.

Financial performance Year-to-date September 2020 Forecast^ June 2021
Commonwealth funding $20,678,370 $40,815,562
State funding $17,862,000 $52,088,459
Other income $837,826 $3,053,737

Total revenue

$39,378,196

$95,957,758

Total expenditure

$26,036,411

$100,365,599

Surplus/Deficit*

$13,341,785

- $4,307,841

 

* The operating surplus of $13,341,785 as at 30 September 2020 is due to the receipt of Commonwealth funding in advance which is scheduled to be expended by the end of June 2021, and CLC funding which hasn't yet being captured in the budget.

^ Forecast Actuals to the end of June 2021 are Legal Aid WA best estimate of where were believe the Commission's finances are currently expected to be at the 2020-21 year end.

These are management figures and have not been audited. 

 


 

Download quarterly reports

Disclaimer

The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.