Summary Crime’s first quality audit a success but not perfect

Summary Crime’s first quality audit a success but not perfect

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

During 2017 we conducted our first summary crime panel practitioner quality audit. We would like to thank our panel practitioner partners for working with us.

Most panel members passed the audit and did not need further support to meet the practice standards.

Key facts and findings include:

  • 20 practitioners from the summary crime panel were audited
  • 100 practitioner files were reviewed by the Quality Audit team
  • 40 per cent of practitioners audited practised in regional Victoria
  • 254 instances of non-adherence to the Practice Standards were identified.

The practice standards that a third of practitioners audited failed are:

  • Include advice about prospects of appeal with final outcome report to the client
  • Have up-to-date knowledge and understanding of legal aid obligations and processes
  • Provide the client with sufficient information to enable them to effectively understand the process, participate in the proceedings, make informed decisions and provide instructions; and
  • Clearly explain to the child the sentence outcome and appeal options which must be considered in the context of the special jurisdictional issues that apply in the Children’s Court jurisdiction.

Prior knowledge of clients can result in a lapse of practice standard

It was observed that high case volumes coupled with the rapid processing, and prior knowledge of clients from previous matters resulted in poor communications with clients and lack of documentation of communications. Such factors had a significant influence on non-adherence to the Practice Standards. 

Strengthening our partnership with private practitioners

The QA team would like to thank the practitioners who participated in the quality audits. We look forward to further strengthening our partnership with private practitioners who conduct work on behalf of Victoria Legal Aid.

If you have questions about quality audits, please contact the Quality Audit team, via email or phone direct on 9606 5229 and 9606 5247.

More information

Download the quality audits terms and conditions

See Section 29A panels conditions to download the quality audit terms and conditions or other schedules of the panel deed.