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Access to legal aid

20 Aug 2014

Overview: The audit found that Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) is performing its role delivering legal aid services across Victoria, and prioritising the most vulnerable people based on a sound understanding of demand drivers and funding risks.

VLA is providing its services in a challenging environment of increased demand and with fixed funding that is largely based on demand levels from 2008.

Determining the extent to which VLA is providing services effectively, efficiently and economically is constrained, however, by its performance monitoring framework, which does not clearly inform VLA's board or the public about how well it is achieving its statutory objectives.

Increased demand has resulted in VLA tightening eligibility for its more intensive and costly legal services in order to remain financially sustainable. This has had the effect of reducing the number of people who are eligible for legal representation, while moving more people to less intensive services. While these actions are consistent with VLA's legal obligations, this has implications for access to justice.

There are gaps in some areas of its service delivery, and VLA is actively addressing these gaps to improve services.

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