Client satisfaction surveys

Client satisfaction surveys

Our Client Satisfaction Survey 2019 provides an opportunity for clients to tell us what they think of our services. It also provides us with valuable information on how we can improve.

Colmar Brunton Research surveyed 997 clients who had received either Legal Help information, Legal Advice, Duty Lawyer or a grant of aid between July 2018 and February 2019. The clients were surveyed through a mixed method of online and telephone surveys, 20 clients also participated in follow up qualitative interviews.

About the clients who completed the survey

  • 46 per cent of clients reported having a disability or mental illness, with the most common being mental illness
  • 29 per cent lived in regional Victoria
  • four per cent identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • 25 per cent lived in a single parent household
  • 64 per cent received a government benefit or pension.

What did the survey find?

Clients’ overall satisfaction levels remain high in 2019, with 70 percent of clients satisfied, or very satisfied with our services. There have been no changes in overall rates of satisfaction since the last survey in 2017.

Key findings 

  • 84 percent of clients agree that it was easy to contact VLA when they first needed help
  • 82 per cent of clients felt that their lawyer or advisor listened to them 
  • 77 per cent of clients felt that their lawyer or advisor helped them understand their situation
  • 86 per cent of clients felt empowered to seek legal help in the future;
  • 45 per cent of clients with personal/cultural needs felt that VLA met those needs 
  • 85 per cent of clients would recommend VLA’s services to others.

The results indicate that our services have a very positive impact on clients’ wellbeing. Before receiving our help, clients had relatively high levels of stress, depression and anger, with lower levels of calmness, confidence and feeling informed. After our help, their feelings of stress, depression and anger reduced. While feelings of calmness, confidence and feeling informed increased.

There was no significant difference in satisfaction for clients by gender, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background, whether the client resided in a metropolitan or regional area or via disability status.

Areas for improvement

While findings of client satisfaction were mainly positive, the study has also revealed some areas where we can improve. 

Out of each of the key performance measures that were assessed, feeling that the service met their expectations was rated the lowest across all service types and client types. This is possibly due to a mix of:

  • ineligibility for services in relation to expectations
  • lower than expected quantities or types of service
  • perception of under-resourcing (non-attentive staff).

Findings from the in-depth interviews revealed that clients who were deemed ineligible as well as clients’ who received a less intensive service than what they expected, demonstrated higher dissatisfaction than those who received greater or more intensive services. Among duty lawyer clients, those who had received only information and advice had lower rates of satisfaction than those who received representation. 

The study indicated that 45 per cent of clients with personal/cultural needs felt that Victoria Legal Aid met those needs. It is important to note, 31 per cent of clients did not feel strongly either way in response to this question – this is a very high neutral response and should be taken into consideration when analysing the results. However, clients who spoke a language other than English (LOTE) at home were less likely to be satisfied with our service (63 per cent satisfied as opposed to 73 per cent non-LOTE). This does identify a key area for VLA to improve.

Many clients across all service types also suggested that lawyers and advisors make more effort to listen to clients’ needs.

What we are doing about this feedback?

In response to the survey, we will focus on the following areas of improvement:
  • improving our referrals to other sources of help, including other legal and non-legal support
  • keeping clients better informed at key stages of their legal matter
  • improving how we listen to, and communicate with, our clients 
  • improving our explanation around our eligibility criteria 
  • looking at other ways to engage with clients to gain a better understanding of the client experience and how we can improve our services. 

Client First Strategy 

Identifying the gaps and areas of improvement feed directly into our Client First Strategy, a new initiative where we  aim to improve clients’ experiences of seeking and receiving legal assistance

Future surveys 

Over time we propose to move to more frequent client feedback. This can supplement the more in-depth, biennial survey, which can also be more strategically deployed to provide a deeper investigation of, for example, key areas or client groups. 

Download the Client Satisfaction Survey 2019

You can also download the Client Satisfaction Survey 2019 – Client journey map (pdf, 523.34 KB) or the accessible Word version (134.16 KB)

Download our reports from previous years

You can view or download the:


For more information about the survey, contact us on (03) 9269 0665 or

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