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 Quality Audit team (QA) will request a practitioner’s files be sent to Victoria Legal Aid for audit. A legal quality auditor will assess the files and determine whether the files meet or exceed the requirements outlined in the Practice Standards and provide feedback.

Who may be quality audited

Panel practitioners can be audited at any time. However, we undertake a risk assessment to refine our selection for audits by considering the following:

  1. a practitioner’s certifier level
  2. the practitioner's volume of work and 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 operates in quarterly cycles. The quality audit cycles are aligned with Victoria Legal Aid’s cycle of compliance checks in order to minimise disruption to practitioners. A member of the QA team will contact a practitioner in advance of the audit. They will identify the files for audit and inform the practitioner of a submission date for the legally aided files.

Outcomes of quality audits

Following an audit, a Legal Quality Auditor will inform a practitioner of the outcomes of the audit. Practitioners may be contacted directly by Legal Quality Auditors to either discuss the audit outcomes or to arrange a meeting. Our performance outcomes set out possible outcomes where practitioner’s files do not meet the standards. Outcomes of the audit will be expressed in writing and where necessary, the Legal Quality Auditor will provide feedback, and recommendations on how to improve service quality. We encourage practitioners to contact the QA team to discuss audit outcomes. Audit outcomes range from identifying training, remedial action, greater supervision, quality improvement plans, 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 our clients, 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) 9280 3844 or (03) 9269 0558.

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