In this section
START OF Policies and procedures
START OF Grants Handbook
START OF Grants division compliance and audit program
END OF Grants division compliance and audit program
END OF Grants Handbook
END OF Policies and procedures
Legal Aid Queensland's (LAQ) purpose is to give legal help to financially disadvantaged people regarding criminal, family and civil law matters. The Grants Division is responsible for processing all requests for funding and where approved allocating this funding to our in-house practice or firms on the preferred supplier panels.
LAQ and preferred suppliers enter into a service agreement so as to:
• ensure LAQ has certainty about the delivery of its services throughout Queensland
• ensure that LAQ referrals go to firms on the applicable preferred supplier list
• maximise the quality and cost effectiveness of legal services purchased by LAQ and delivered to the people of Queensland by the preferred supplier
• ensure the preferred supplier adopts service delivery practices in accordance with the practice and case management standards
• ensure proper accountability on the part of the preferred supplier for the expenditure of funds provided by LAQ
• allow the preferred supplier free access to LAQ's resources (e.g. library database, comparable sentences database, legal information database) to better enable the preferred supplier to deliver a quality legal service.
By signing the service agreement the preferred supplier agrees to provide to LAQ any legal aid files, or specific parts of a file, for audit. LAQ’s in-house practice is also subject to internal processes to confirm compliance.
Some of the areas specifically targeted include compliance with:
• LAQ’s means and merit tests
• Funding criteria and documentary requirements
• Terms and conditions
• Payment rules associated with invoices.
It is important that an appropriate level of monitoring and compliance activity is established to ensure that funds are spent in accordance with the purpose for which they were granted and that grant applications are assessed consistently. LAQ implements a mixed model compliance framework that includes targeted spot compliance and full file audits. Spot compliance focusses on a particular aspect of grant funding activity and across a large number of files. Full file audits focus on a smaller number of files, are more intensive and look at multiple aspects of the file.
LAQ aims to complete at least two rounds of spot compliance per year, with additional rounds as required. Full file audits may be completed where it is identified, through spot compliance, that further investigation is required or as deemed necessary through other activities.
Following the completion of spot compliance or full file audits written advice will be provided to the firm detailing levels of compliance and any areas requiring attention. Where it is identified that payments have been made incorrectly these must be refunded to LAQ.
Repeated non-compliance and/or a serious non-compliance will be referred to the Regional Services and Business Partnerships (Preferred Supplier Management) area for review and action as required.
Electronic communication is the preferred method of providing requested information; however where hard copy material is requested for audit activity the reasonable cost of delivering and returning files is met by LAQ.
Where an acceptable unit costing system is not maintained the following costing guidelines are used when assessing claims for payment:
a. short letter* (up to 1 folio)
b. circular letter**
c. any other letter
a. 7 minutes
b. 3 minutes
c. 6 minutes per folio and 15 minutes per page
a. per page
b. per folio
a. 19 minutes
b. 7 minutes
c. lengthy perusals of > 30 folios
b. 2 minutes
c. an amount at the discretion of LAQ
a. < 10 pages
b. > 10 pages
a. 3 minutes per page
b. an amount at the discretion of LAQ
a. to file/serve documents
b. to swear documents
c. to take instructions (if no time indicated on file)
d. adjournments/mentions (if no time indicated on file)
a. 15 minutes
b. 15 minutes
c. 60 minutes
d. 30 minutes
a. 6 minutes
b. time actually spent
Folio = 100 words in family law matters, 75 words in civil law matters
Formal (printed) parts of documents are not to be included in costing
*Short letter: where practitioner's mind has been applied
**Circular letter: eg letters making appointment, filing documents, enclosing document