Quarterly service and finance reports
Priority project updates
New family violence service
In October 2019, we added a dedicated Men’s Support Worker to our integrated duty lawyer and family violence support service. This new service operates at the Perth registry of the Family Court of WA (FCWA) and on FCWA Magistrates circuits to Bunbury, Albany, Geraldton and Broome. This social support role provides ‘support without collusion’ to men where there are allegations that they have used or experienced family violence. This will enhance the social support services already provided to families experiencing family violence by our Family Advocacy and Support Service (FASS) and will help to ensure families are safe by supporting people to change their behaviour.
Adding more rigour
In July, our Automated Payments innovation went live. This new system enables us to automatically pay a lawyer’s bill if it meets certain business rules. We’re now paying 60% of all law firm bills automatically. This frees up assessing staff from manual processing and gives them 20% more time to quickly determine applications for aid. Auto Payments pays law firm bills within 5 days and the cash flow helps to keep top lawyers doing legal aid work.
Best practice entity
On 14 November the Auditor General tabled a report in Parliament naming Legal Aid WA as an example of best practice in finance. The Auditor General recognised Legal Aid WA as one of the 2018-19 best practice entities for timeliness and the quality of financial reporting and controls. The report acknowledges our high-quality financial reporting, and our good financial controls.
New legal communication tool
In November we launched the new Blurred Borders ‘Keep ‘em Safe’ child protection kit. Blurred Borders is an award-winning legal communication tool that uses visual art, plain language and story-telling to improve understanding of legal concepts. It’s particularly useful for people who don’t speak English as a first language. These new story cards will improve the way frontline services communicate with Aboriginal people in child protection matters. Improved understanding supports better justice outcomes for children in Western Australia.
Lawyer of the year
In November, the Law Council of Australia presented its President’s Award to our lawyer Haley Allan. This award recognised Haley for her outstanding contribution to the legal profession. In presenting the award, the Law Council President said: ‘it is a humbling experience to read of the work undertaken by Haley.’ The President noted Haley’s selfless contribution to her community and the assistance that she provided to Australia’s most vulnerable people.
At the end of December 2019, Legal Aid WA finished the quarter with:
Year-to-date December 2019
Commonwealth funding: $16,496,420
State funding: $28,426,540
Other income: $2,038,660
Total revenue: $46,961,620
Total expenditure: $47,706,723
* The operating deficit of $745,103 at 30 December 2019 is primarily due to overspent in State indictable and expensive cases which is expected to be covered by supplementary funding, offset by the receipt of State re-current funding for Jan-2010 in advance. These are management figures and subject to end of financial year audit.