Quality audits

Quality audits

The Legal Aid Act 1978 (Vic) requires us to arrange and provide legal aid services in the most effective, efficient and economic manner. Private practitioners and panel memberships are central in achieving this.

Quality audits are an opportunity to strengthen our partnership with private practitioners and to recognise the high-quality work conducted by private practitioners on behalf of Victoria Legal Aid. An audit of legally aided files aims to check whether minimum standards have been met.

The two types of quality audits

Quality audits

The Quality Audit team either attends the firm or asks for files to be sent to Victoria Legal Aid. The Quality Audit team will assess the panel practitioner’s ability to meet or exceed the requirements outlined in the practice standards and provide feedback.

Self-assessment audits

Panel practitioners not selected for a quality audit will be required to self-report on their adherence with panel deed requirements. A self-assessment audit with instructions on how to complete and return the form will be forwarded to panel practitioners.

Who will be quality audited

We will select firms and certifiers to be audited in each cycle based on a risk assessment.

A risk assessment will consider:

  1. a practitioner’s certifier level (initially, we will focus on level two certifiers because they are less experienced practitioners)
  2. the practitioner or firm’s volume of work and case costs (we will focus on higher volume firms and high case costs)
  3. other factors such as complaints or compliance check data, or a focus on a particular area of law (for example, criminal trials).

When will quality audits occur

The quality audit schedule will operate in quarterly cycles. Where possible, the Quality Audit team will align its schedule with Victoria Legal Aid’s compliance checks in order to minimise disruption to practitioners. We will contact you in advance of the audit, and arrange a time and location convenient to you.

Outcomes of quality audits

The Quality Audit team will contact practitioners to arrange a meeting to discuss the outcomes of the audit. Files will be given an overall rating of either satisfactory or unsatisfactory, with feedback about how and why we came to our determination. Our performance outcomes set out possible outcomes where practitioner’s files do not meet the standards. Outcomes range from identifying training, remedial action, greater supervision and in the most serious cases, removal from a panel and referral to the Legal Services Commissioner or Victoria Police.

We know that some practitioners are providing exceptional services to the client, in a way that clearly exceeds the practice standards. We are committed to acknowledging examples of high-quality client service and file management. Acknowledgement can be through feedback to the individual practitioner, or, if appropriate, more widely through publications such as Legal Aid Brief.  

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.

Contact us

If you have questions about quality audits, please contact the Quality Audit team, via email qualityaudits@vla.vic.gov.au or phone direct on (03) 9606 5206 or (03) 9606 5242..