What could the community legal sector look like beyond the year 2020? What will our communities and the people we help need from us? How can we work collaboratively to provide leadership, build upon the valuable work of the sector and be adaptable to change?
This week’s National CLCs Conference, co-hosted by NACLC and Community Legal Centres NSW, provided an opportunity to explore a shared vision for the community legal sector, the justice system and better social justice outcomes for our communities. This week, our team contributed to shaping that vision through a stimulating and interactive conference:
- James chaired and spoke at a panel session on ways that clients’ experiences could, and should, improve our services and inform our work. Exploring client stories, gathering feedback through client surveys, comparisons with health consumer processes, and community development models like Seniors Creating Change, the session sparked conversations about tools and tactics to ensure clients’ experience give our work direction and impact.
- There's a review of the national accreditation scheme happening, and Penny joined members of the review working group to consult with CLC people about potential changes to the scheme (you can provide more feedback by completing this online survey).
- Rosslyn convened a workshop to help community legal centres from across Australia implement our impact measurement framework, using the online toolkit we’ve developed. Community legal centres are operating within an increasingly competitive and sophisticated working environment, so it’s vitally important that we measure our outcomes and impacts, and Rosslyn’s training session gave practical instructions on how to use the toolkit.
- We’re contributing to a national project to improve data consistency, and Carly was part of a panel that consulted workers about the challenges with existing data definitions. Data and research needs to be collected to tell the story of our clients, and of our role in assisting them. This information can also be analysed to inform service reviews, evaluation and future planning, so it’s important we’re gathering consistent and useful data. This project will help our members collect, understand and use accurate and consistent data and information about the services they deliver.
- Collaborative service planning is a formal requirement of the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services, and our members collaborate with other legal services, community organisations, governments and others to ensure people get the legal help they need. James and Rosslyn were part of a panel (with people from NACLC, Legal Aid, Government and CLCs) that looked at varying approaches to collaborative planning across the country, showcasing some positive work that’s been happening in Queensland.
- It’s important that we’re able to tell our stories, so Caroline and Angela attended a masterclass on The Story of Justice: getting your point across through methods old and new. We attended other fringe events, like a masterclass on immigration law, CLASS training and a forum on legal technology.
Overall, the conference provided a great platform to share experiences, work towards a vision of our sector, and network with colleagues and friends. Thanks to NACLC and CLCNSW for a great conference!