Legal assistance sector planning

Legal Aid WA and the not-for-profit legal assistance sector provide an important service to the community, enabling more people from disadvantaged groups to access legal assistance when needed. A significant amount of funding for these legal and welfare support services comes from a mix of State and Commonwealth Government sources.

At different times, the Commonwealth and State Governments have required each state to undertake planning for, and reviews into, the legal assistance sector. This is designed to help coordinate and maximise the reach of services in the legal assistance sector, and to ensure that services (and funding) are directed towards the areas of greatest need.

On this page you can read more information about the following activities:

View the complete set of reports

NPA Collaborative Service Planning Group

The National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services 2015 -2020 (the NPA) is an intergovernmental funding arrangement that covers Commonwealth funding to both Legal Aid Commissions and Community Legal Centres (CLCs) in each jurisdiction.

As part of the NPA, the states are required to undertake collaborative service planning with the legal assistance sector to improve coordination between service providers in the planning and delivery of services.

The intended aim of collaborative service planning is to facilitate a holistic and evidence-based approach in making decisions about the allocation of funding within the legal assistance sector.

A Collaborative Services Planning Group has been convened for Western Australia and has co-ordinated the preparation of Legal Need Mapping Reports for WA. These reports examine an evidence base for legal need in WA and map where existing legal assistance services are located in WA. These reports will be updated as required under collaborative service planning processes detailed in the NPA.

You can access these reports below:

  • Assessment Of Legal Need Demographic Report for WA (2017)
  • WA Overview of Legal Need Report (2017)
  • Legal Service Mapping Report (2017)
Assessment of Legal Need – Social and Demographic Analysis of WA (2017)

Assessment of legal need demographic report

Legal Need in Western Australia - a preliminary review (2017)

Cover of Legal Need in WA

Legal Assistance Services Mapping in WA (2017)

Legal Assistance Services Mapping in WA front cover image

A report specifically focused on identifying areas of need in family violence services in WA was overseen by the Aboriginal Family Law Services.

Another working group has also conducted extensive mapping of Community Legal Education activities and projects in WA.

WA CLC Stakeholder Consultative Committee – 2009 update report

Cover of the 2009 Update Report

Following a recommendation in the 2003 Joint Review, the WA Community Legal Centre Stakeholder Consultative Committee was formed in 2006 to provide advice to government on:

  • addressing unmet legal needs, and
  • ways to facilitate coordination and collaboration throughout the CLC sector.

In 2009, the Committee published a report to:

  1. Give an update on the key findings and recommendations from the 2003 Joint Review.
  2. Outline new and emerging areas of legal need.
  3. Identify priority areas in the current sustainability of CLC services.
  4. Briefly outline current WA demographics relevant to the review.

Joint Review of CLCs in WA – 2003 report

Cover of the Joint Review 2003 report

In 1997, the Commonwealth and states began a series of joint reviews into CLCs receiving funding through the Commonwealth Community Legal Services Program. In WA, the Joint Review of Community Legal Centres report (the 2003 Joint Review) included all CLCs, whether or not they received CCLSP funding.

The 2003 Joint Review made four key findings:

  1. CLCs enhance citizenship, make a positive contribution to the community and should be actively supported by all levels of government.
  2. The diverse nature of CLCs, the specialist and general services they provide, and their community involvement ensures relevant and appropriate services are offered that are responsive to client needs.
  3. Existing CLCs are appropriately located and the services they are able to provide with existing resources are aligned with need.
  4. Gaps in coverage exist in four regional areas (Gascoyne, Peel, West Kimberley and Wheatbelt) and three geographical corridors of the outer metropolitan area (north, north east and south east).

The report includes 16 separate recommendations to achieve the outcomes from the Joint Review’s terms of reference.



NPA Collaborative Services Planning Group
Commonwealth Community Legal Services Program Joint Review
WA CLC Stakeholder Consultative Committee


Reviewed: 20 April 2018


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.