Quality audits – helping our clients and panel practitioners

Quality audits – helping our clients and panel practitioners

Our Quality Audit team ensures our clients receive quality legal representation from of our section 29A Panels

This is done by applying our Practice Standards against practitioner practice files. 

Recognising high-quality work

Quality audits are an opportunity to strengthen our partnership with private practitioners. It is also an opportunity to recognise high-quality work conducted by our practice partners. 

Who will be quality audited

All panel practitioners may be subject to a quality audit. We undertake a risk assessment before selecting panel practitioners to audit. This includes considering:

  • practitioner experience
  • practitioner or firm’s volume of work and case costs
  • other factors such as complaints, compliance check data, past performance, and/or the outcome of a previous quality audit. 

As we select practitioners to audit based on a risk-based model, practitioners who achieve consistent excellent outcomes in their audits will be audited less frequently.

When do quality audits happen

If you are selected for an audit, you will be contacted by one of our legal quality auditors in advance of the audit. We will provide details on the procedure of the audit, what information you need to provide, and suggestions on how you can achieve a successful audit.

Although audits may be conducted at any time, the Quality Audit team will generally schedule audits in line with a specialist practitioner panel. This means we will focus on an area of law (i.e. indictable crime) during a single audit cycle. 

Outcomes of quality audits

At the end of an audit, the Quality Audit team will assign an audit outcome category (AOC) to the audit based on the individual and collective quality of the files audited. 

The AOCs are:

  • Good practice – a practitioner’s files demonstrate a very high standard of service quality with few practice standard issues identified
  • Good practice and education – a practitioner’s files demonstrate a generally good standard of quality with some practice standard issues identified
  • Education – a practitioner’s files demonstrate that you meet the minimum standard for legal practice work but with several issues identified
  • Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) – a practitioner’s files have not met minimum standards with significant issues identified. The Quality Audit team will meet with the practitioner and develop a plan to assist the practitioner improve their service quality. 

Recognising our practitioner’s high service quality 

We know that most practitioners are already providing exceptional services to the client in ways that clearly exceed the Practice Standards. We are committed to acknowledging examples of high-quality service that we see during audits by communicating this feedback to our practice partners, and, if appropriate, more widely through publications such as Legal Aid Brief.  

More information

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, or have been chosen for audit and need assistance, please contact the Quality Audit team, via email qualityaudits@vla.vic.gov.au or phone direct on (03) 9269 0558 or (03) 9269 0413.

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