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SHARING THE MENU Using a Legal Health Check QAILS Conference// May 25, 2015
Presented by…. Sue Garlick QPILCH
We will explore: v v What is a LHC? Why a LHC? Where does a Legal Health Check fit with CLC practice? How might a CLC use a LHC? What resources already exist? What is planned?
What is a Legal Health Check? Productivity Commission 2014 Access to Justice Arrangements Inquiry Report: Rather than simply responding to the self-identified needs of clients, legal health checks enable legal and community workers to identify a person’s legal issues and direct the client to an appropriate response. This emphasises the need for community organisations to be attuned to the legal issues faced by their clients and aware of appropriate avenues for legal resolution. The legal health check operates as: v a structured interview tool for pro bono lawyers; v a resource for community workers to identify and prioritise the legal needs of their clients; and v a menu for clients to maximise their choice by understanding which issues the lawyers can assist with. (QPILCH, sub. 58, p. 29)
The original Legal Health Check Developed by QPILCH in 2009 with support from Street. Smart, Roma House, Herbert. Smith Freehills and Minter Ellison lawyers.
Which legal issues in LHC? Representative: HPLC casework frequency Endemic: Legal issues entrenched in homelessness experience e. g. SPER Barriers: Biggest legal barriers to sustaining housing Solutions available Debts Fines Tenancy Public Trustee/ITOs Crime (practical help and active referrals) Family (practical help and active referrals) and Other Client demographics: Refugees/DV service/Mental Health
We need to collaborate more to solve legal problems Don’t always identify all legal need (just family law and criminal) Need training, resources and support to identify, prioritize and refer legal need Vulnerable clients Has multiple legal needs, but doesn’t know what/how/who to ask about them Will benefit from “diagnosis” of those needs Support workers Lawyers Choice = knowing what’s on the “menu” Benefit from a structured interviewing tool Need community workers to ask Qs at the best time, and refer/support client
Showing the “menu” Enabling choice: Asking the right questions in the right way at the right time Legal Health Check Standard Legal Assistance Service Client-centred – recognise inequality Assumes knowledge/choice inherent in disadvantage in client Comprehensive (clustered problems) Only presenting issues addressed Caseworkers part of legal process Lawyer is the ‘expert’ Collaborative with non-legal outcomes Legal service is siloed from other needs Context-specific model Standard legal model for all client groups
Multiple legal issues: Roma House 2011/12 67 new clients with 204 legal matters, across 7 issue types Average of 3. 04 legal matters per client 58% of clients had a SPER issue identified. Compare with Café One (our busiest HPLC) where 8% of clients had a SPER issue identified Roma House 2011/12 SPER Debt Housing Crime Guardianship Family Other 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Number of clients with issue of that type 35 40 45
Legal Australia-Wide Survey Disadvantaged or socially excluded groups, such as those experiencing homelessness, are: more vulnerable to having multiple legal problems; less likely to take action to resolve these problems; less capable of handling their problems alone; and grappling with non-legal needs; more likely to suffer a variety of adverse consequences that may further entrench their social exclusion Client-focussed or case-management services suggested: “a more systematic diagnosis of a client's full range of legal and non-legal needs at entry, followed by a case plan for addressing all of those needs through coordinated response across all services” (at 213) Coumarelos C, et al, ‘Legal Australia-Wide Survey: legal need in Australia’ (2012) Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Sydney
QPILCH publications on the LHC Articles in Parity/Proctor NACLC Conference 2013 QAILS webinar 2014 www. qpilch. org. au/lhc 1. Sharing the Menu Report 2. Snapshot Report 3. HPLC videos Independent Evaluation of LHC videos Productivity Commission Submissions Pending: 1. www. legalhealthcheck. org 2. DJAG LHC Project 2014 -16
NACLC Legal Health Check website www. legalhealthcheck. org
Where does the LHC fit with CLC practice? PC Report Chapter 5: Understanding and navigating the system 5. 1 Using the civil justice system Knowledge helps people identify legal problems and work out how to resolve them … but evidence suggests that legal knowledge is lacking Capacity to resolve problems Some require specific assistance 5. 2 Existing services that build legal capability Community legal education Legal information including self-help resources Minor assistance and advice
Context continued. . . 5. 3 Reforms to improve knowledge and capacity building activities Best practice community legal education and information Greater coordination of information and education resources amongst legal assistance providers Well-recognised entry points can also serve as legal triage 5. 4 Specific measures to identify and assist those that need more help Legal health checks and screening tools Outreach services Holistic services Training non-legal staff to identify legal issues and refer clients What would training look like and who would provide it?
LHC Detail 5. 4 Specific measures to identify and assist those that need more help Legal health checks and screening tools o Relies on community organisations being attuned/trained/having capacity o Suitable for targeting needs of specific client groups o Can prevent problems escalating o Is there a need to use a well-recognised entry point with LHC? o Legal assistance providers need capacity to deal with increase in demand
Recommendation 5. 3 To support the identification and assistance of disadvantaged people with complex legal needs: • legal health checks that are developed for priority disadvantaged groups should be funded through the proposed Community Legal Education Collaboration Funds. The resulting material should be shared amongst providers. Legal Assistance Forums should coordinate this activity to avoid duplication between jurisdictions and maintain the currency of the health checks. • legal assistance and relevant non-legal service providers should be encouraged to coordinate their services in order to provide more outreach and holistic services where appropriate and need is greatest. • the proposed Community Legal Education Collaboration Funds should assess the most effective way to support the legal education of non-legal community workers. Training materials should be shared among legal assistance service providers and between jurisdictions. Legal Assistance Forums should regularly reassess the mix of these services in order to promote efficient service delivery by adapting to changing needs.
How might a CLC use a LHC? v What resources already exist? v What is planned? Those organisations responsible for creating legal health checks or involved in holistic services could provide training to non-legal workers. All staff using legal health checks (both legal and non-legal) must be trained and monitored in understanding the background, context and use of any checklist or survey. It is [CLC assoc WA] position that such training should be undertaken by legal assistance agency peaks. . . (PC page 179)
What resources already exist? In QPILCH context: q Data q Rationale q Practice Frameworks: v Training community workers v Collaboration spectrum v Remote collaboration options v Range of applications With NACLC resources: www. legalhealthcheck. org Content of Basic Legal Health Check Connect to a local community organisation to build a LHC pathway.
QPILCH Data: The value of Legal Health Check pathway HPLC data for 2013/14 (as at June 10, 2014) indicates that: In four HPLC locations where a LHC is completed and community worker involvement is significant , clients are assisted with 2. 4 to 3. 2 legal matters each. In twelve HPLC locations where a LHC is only occasionally used and community worker involvement is limited, clients are assisted with only 1 to 1. 7 matters each. Other factors may influence the efficacy of the model including the expertise of the individual lawyers, the capacity of the Legal Assistance Service, the stability and resources of the community service, and the engagement and circumstances of the individual client.
QPILCH Rationale: Why train community workers to use LHC ? Efficient: community workers have no/few tools to identify and prioritise legal needs. These skills stay with the worker across client groups and roles. Appropriate: So workers can be involved with the clinic on a couple of different levels. Once they signed the consents that the client’s okay for them to communicate with the lawyers, they can keep on top of the situation to assist the law firm in delivering communication and also being aware of all the issues affecting the resident that they are working with which again feeds into their recovery and support plan. – Kelly Sciacca, Roma House q Flexible: can be adjusted to existing in-take process and capacity of the community organisation – e. g. 139 Club/500 Lives/Outreach Legal Clinic
QPILCH training caseworkers with LHC ‘Legal Basics’ Training days: HPLC Legal Basics Training day in March 2013 Around 65 community workers from more than 25 homelessness/housing/health organisations receive free training in March each year since 2010 topics echo Legal Health Check, including debt, tenancy & housing, child protection and mental health law presenters from Legal Aid Queensland, Tenants’ Union of Queensland, SPER, Commonwealth and Queensland Ombudsman and Welfare Rights Centre In-house training program for community agencies – identifying best referral processes Video and postcards In 6 months post production, the HPLC trained over 180 community workers and 100 pro bono lawyers using the videos. On-going support
QPILCH spectrum and process for collaboration with community workers Chat Legal Health Check Postcard/Focus question Prioritise Impact on housing e. g debt barriers Reducing stress – e. g debt collector harassment Connect Make appointment Provide client with clinic details Support Attend with/Follow up Correspondence “buddy”
QPILCH Remote LHC collaboration Outreach Legal Clinic (casework and collaboration by phone) People in unstable or transitional housing on Brisbane’s north side who are supported at one of the four participating community agencies –a women’s’ refuge, a support program for young parents, a tenancy support service and a migrant settlement agency Complete a LHC with their worker in order to identify legal needs, and then access a pro bono casework lawyer together, by phone, for any issues identified. Completed LHC is provided to the lawyers prior to the initial legal interview, which maximises the time and skills of the lawyer. The lawyers “borrow” trust and engagement from the community worker. In the first 6 months of the pilot, 16 clients were assisted with 52 legal matters (an average of 3. 25 legal matters each), ranging from debts, fines, tenancy, family law, guardianship and victims compensation.
More Mental Health Outreach Clinics/Refugee Civil Law Clinic/Legal. Pod NSW (CLC and LANSW)/Tasmania/ Victoria (CLC and Justice Connect)/ACT/WA Flood Legal Help Health-legal Alliances Canada Legal Aid TCLS Seniors LHC
DJAG LHC Project 2014 -16 Evaluate LHC – where and how might it work best? Steering Committee – ATSILS/LAQ/QAILS/QCOSS/DJAG/QPILCH Pilot sites for LHC Pathways Matching LAS with various community services Produce training materials and best practice guidelines for QLD LAS settings
What can your CLC do now? Experiment and participate by asking: Which client group do I want to better connect to our legal service? Talk to us or QAILS about pilot sites Questions?