New data tool to help understand legal need in Victoria

New data tool to help understand legal need in Victoria

Monday, 19 July 2021

Our Data Discovery Tool is an interactive online dashboard developed to help support Victorian legal assistance providers with data-informed service planning and decision making.

Users can search and sort using geographic and demographic filters to show service data, client characteristics and legal need indicators relevant to their community and service.

Interactive maps, tables, graphs and charts provide easily understood visual representations that can be used for annual reports, funding submissions and planning documentation.

'Unmet legal need is an issue of shared concern across the Victorian legal assistance sector and investment in data capability is key to ensuring we’re working together to direct finite resources where they are needed most.' 

Peter Noble, Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) Executive Director, Regions & Service Delivery.

'For the first time community legal centres (CLCs) and VLA will be able to see how we collectively contribute to meeting legal need in Victoria and to better understand our common clients,' said Marie Baird, VLA's Service Design Lead, Sector Engagement & Service Design.

'The tool will help us design better, more responsive services and prompt us to think about our collective impact.'

Testing with the sector

The Data Discovery Tool has been developed with the sector and tested and refined at each stage with a range of users from VLA and the CLC sector, specialist and generalist services and varying levels of data skill, capacity and confidence.

Testing responses have been consistently positive, highlighting the immediate practical application users can see for the tool. 

‘My mind is already ticking over about where we might bring this into our own reporting.'

Cameron Lavery, Justice Connect's Head of Community Programs and Homeless Law Manager.

If we got some funding to expand services, it helps me think about who are the active providers, who should I talk to?’

Sonia Law, VLA Program Manager, Mental Health and Disability Advocacy. 

'It’s really useful being able to drill down to certain characteristics of clients in your region.'

Sarah Rogers, Hume Riverina Community Legal Service, Manager and Principal Lawyer 

Next steps

The Data Discovery Tool will be available to staff from VLA and CLCs from August. The rollout will be supported by training and ongoing support for users including a help guide, FAQs and a data manual.

We will continue to work with users to enhance and update the tool, adding further data sources and search options as they become available.

More information

Read more about the Data Discovery Tool and watch a video about the project.

To access the tool contact DDT@vla.vic.gov.au.

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