Eastern CLC understands that intake processes into legal services may create barriers for some people, particularly when they have both legal and non-legal is...
Eastern Community Legal Centre
Enhanced Entry Project – Pandemic Response
FIELD OF INTEREST
- Tackling Inequality - Housing and homelessness
- Tackling Inequality - Health and wellbeing
- People experiencing socio-economic disadvantage or vulnerability
- People with a disability, illness or disease
Eastern CLC understands that intake processes into legal services may create barriers for some people, particularly when they have both legal and non-legal issues. The Enhanced Entry Project (EEP) – a major innovation for legal assistance services in Victoria – completed a pilot phase from 2016-2018 that reduced barriers to accessing legal services by increasing support to people with mental health issues, homelessness or other complex needs or vulnerability.
The Enhanced Entry Co-ordinator, a community services professional supported clients with legal and related issues from first contact, while assisting the Centre to improve its accessibility and processes. The Centre also transformed its triage and intake processes, enabling ‘priority clients’ with complex needs to be better identified. These major quality improvements have been maintained since, with limited resourcing.
As the pandemic moves into the next phase, ECLC is experiencing and anticipates increased demand, including from people with little experience of the legal or social service sectors, alongside increased mental health issues, financial hardship and housing stress. The renewed EEP will increase capacity to respond in a multidisciplinary approach, while easing pressure on the broader intake and legal teams.
Priority clients will include people:
• Experiencing or at risk of family violence
• Who experience language, reading or writing difficulties
• Experiencing or at risk of homelessness
• With a disability or mental illness
• Who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
• Aged over 60 or under 25 years
While a number of key lessons and approach from the first phase of EEP have been utilised in the Centre’s new HEAL outreach project (see Integrated Practice brochure), the demand for continued EEP support within the in-house team is increasing, necessitating increased capacity.
The completed evaluation of the EEP pilot found evidence that it produced a range of positive outcomes for clients. These included:
• easier access for priority clients to legal and related services
• by spending more time assessing inquiries, the approach is effective at surfacing legal issues that the client, especially high priority and vulnerable clients, may not be able to clearly explain themselves
• help clients better articulate their legal need
• more person-centred approach gives clients a better experience of seeking legal assistance
• positive experience for clients with intake staff and process, with the lawyer and with the co-ordinator (community services professional)
Across the organisation broader impacts included:
• increased staff understanding and identification of priority clients
• elevated the role of intake and intake staff
• led to increased dialogue across the organisation about client vulnerabilities
ECLC is leading significant program development where Integrated Practice approaches utilising communiy lawyers within multidisciplinary teams are achieving significant positive legal, health and wellbeing outcomes for clients, while increasing support available to them.
Eastern Community Legal Centre
ECLC is a multidisciplinary legal service that works to prevent problems, progress fair outcomes and support the wellbeing and resilience of communities and community members in Melbourne’s East.
Human Rights | Fairness | Justice
ECLC works with communities and community members living in Boroondara, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges.
Making the most of its abilities and the resources available, ECLC provides:
» information, advice and assistance across a range of legal and related issues
» advocacy to resolve problems at the earliest opportunity
» referrals to community agency partners
» integrated legal services, including through Health Justice Partnerships
» community development and education programs with a focus on rights, responsibilities and options
» primary prevention activities, using broad partnership approaches
» strategic advocacy to change unfair laws and improve systems and practices.
Independent research and Eastern Community Legal Centre’s (ECLC) experience has identified that some groups within the community are more likely to confront persistent barriers to getting help and managing legal problems.
ECLC therefore prioritises its services to the following community groups and aims to address the causes of the disadvantage they experience:
• People experiencing or at risk of family violence
• Older people experiencing or at risk of elder abuse
• Indigenous Australians
• Children and young people
• Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer peoples
• People who experience language or cultural barriers
• People experiencing or at risk of homelessness
• People with a disability or mental illness
TOTAL BUDGET: $65,000
|ECLC internal funds||$25,000|
|Funding Gap (unconfirmed)||$40,000|
|Salaries - Enhanced Entry Co-ordinator: 0.5eft||$49,665|
|Management and Support||$13,500|
|Program and client costs||$1,835|
Support Enhanced Entry Project – Pandemic Response
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