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Preferred supplier newsletter—January 2019

Welcome to the first edition of Legal Aid Queensland’s Preferred supplier newsletter, which will provide you with news and policy updates, upcoming CPD events and other relevant information. We will try to limit the adhoc emails that have been sent previously and hope that you find the monthly newsletter useful.

If there are any topics you would like us to cover please contact us at psupp.coordinator@legalaid.qld.gov.au and we will try to include it in the next newsletter.

This month:

  • Clarification on disposal freeze
  • Grants restructure
  • Outcomes on invoices
  • For Lawyers resources
  • Upcoming CPD sessions
  • IT maintenance schedule

Clarification on disposal freeze

You may recall correspondence that was sent out in June 2018 advising preferred suppliers that the Queensland State Archives (QSA) issued a disposal freeze relating to all “Records that are relevant to, or may become relevant to, an allegation of child sexual abuse” as a result of recommendations contained in the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

At the time, the advice from QSA was that LAQ must ensure that all service providers who create, keep or manage records on behalf of LAQ are following this directive. We have since followed up with QSA and advised them that as set out in the Grants Policy Manual, preferred supplier files are owned by the preferred supplier and the client. As such, preferred suppliers are not bound by the QSA directive to retain child-related files indefinitely.

Grants restructure - team based support

The Grants Division has finalised its restructure into teams. Grants requests are assessed and processed by 6 grants operational teams with 6 or 7 grants officers supported by a senior grants officer. This team based work allocation also applies to emails and phone calls relating to your matters. All invoice processing is undertaken in a separate grants functional support team.

All preferred suppliers have now been allocated to a team to provide additional support options. If you need to contact Grants, please use the general contact numbers for the team that is now supporting you. Where you need to escalate something you can contact any of the grants officers listed in the team. Should there be an occasion to escalate something outside of the grants officers then please contact the senior grants officer or grants manager for that team. For phone numbers of staff within the team supporting your firm please refer to the team contact lists sent out in December.

General contact numbers for the teams are:

  • Grants Operations Team 1 – 3917 0960
  • Grants Operations Team 2 – 3917 0943
  • Grants operations Team 3 – 3917 0952
  • Grants Operations Team 4 – 3917 0926
  • Grants Operations Team 5 – 3917 0936
  • Grants Operations Team 6 – 3917 0941

To support this strategy it is also important to remember that all communication about grants of aid must be through your preferred supplier email inbox which is managed by the team. Specific email contacts for other matters include:

Please email your team rather than specific Grants officers, as team members are not able to access each others email inboxes, which may result in a delay in us being able to respond to your request.

Outcomes on invoices

LAQ gathers a range of information about matters funded and one of the ways we do this is through outcomes recorded on invoices submitted for payment. The information provided informs decision making about the structure and suitability of grants of aid. Recording outcomes also assists LAQ to verify that public funds have been expended for the purpose intended.

When completing invoices for payment and lodging through Grants Online please ensure the outcome questions are fully completed. The invoices are currently under review and over the next month revised invoice outcome questions will appear on criminal law invoices. It will be mandatory to supply outcome information on invoices with the inability to submit an invoice where mandatory information has not been completed.

For Lawyers resources

The For Lawyers page of the Legal Aid Queensland website contains useful information for preferred suppliers including the login for Grants Online, announcements, CPD events and various LAQ factsheets, practice and case management standards, handbooks and policies.

There is also a link to Grants Online resources which provides some of the information that was previously available on Grants Online including checklists, FDR forms, expensive case request form and the Electronic Lodgement User Manual.

As you are aware, Grants Online is experiencing some technical difficulties whereby users are unable to access certain resources. If you need something that not currently accessible and is not available in the Grants Online resources please email webteam@legalaid.qld.gov.au who will forward to the relevant team for a response.

Upcoming CPD events:

Duty lawyer in the Children’s Court: March 19 – 1pm – save the date further details to follow.

Observations from the Bench for Lawyers representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. To continue the journey to cultural competence, a panel of judicial officers and other invested parties will lead a discussion on two occasions to highlight the critical requirement for unique advocacy skills when representing an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. Full details and dates are yet to be confirmed however these events should take place towards the end of March. Stay tuned!

Ethics and Professional responsibility – A CPD topic covering an ethics point will be presented by one of our experienced in-house barristers. The event date and topic content are yet to be determined for this event—further details will be provided in the next newsletter.

As the end of the CPD year approaches, LAQ is busy planning for other interesting CPD topics to assist you in gaining those last 1or 2 CPD points you’re chasing which will be advertised in the newsletter. Information will also be posted to the CPD events section of the For Lawyers page as it becomes available.

IT maintenance schedule

Legal Aid Queensland regularly conducts IT maintenance and during these times the Legal Aid Queensland website and Grants Online system may be unavailable. Where possible, maintenance will be conducted outside of core business hours but sometimes circumstances may arise where emergency maintenance is required.

At this stage, a summary of the scheduled IT maintenance nights are:

  • 26 February 2019
  • 26 March 2019
  • 30 April 2019
  • 28 May 2019
  • 25 June 2019 (subject to change due to end of financial year)
  • 23 July 2019
  • 27 August 2019
  • 24 September 2019
  • 22 October 2019
  • 26 November 2019
  • No date scheduled in December
  • 7 January 2020
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