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Preferred supplier newsletter—January 2021

This month: 

  • LAQ Family Dispute Resolution Conferences — arrangements for clients attending remotely
  • Youth crime panel
  • Instruction in criminal law matters
  • Preferred supplier agreement expiring — feedback required
  • Delivering services to clients while maintaining COVID-19 safe workplaces
  • Expressions of interest — child protection duty lawyer service
  • Expressions of interest — domestic and family violence duty lawyer service
  • Expressions of interest — counselling notes protect panel
  • Announcements you may have missed
  • Continuing professional development
  • Feedback

LAQ Family Dispute Resolution Conferences — arrangements for clients attending remotely

Requests from parties attending a LAQ Family Dispute Resolution Conference (FDRC) remotely (that is, external to a LAQ office) to participate from the same location as another party to the conference will not be approved by Dispute Resolution Services (e.g. the other party’s home, the other party’s lawyer’s office, or the shared home of the parties). Other alternative arrangements are to be made. This does not apply to the situation where both parties are represented by the same lawyer (after considering conflict).

This will ensure:

  • solicitor’s communications with their client are in a confidential setting and in line with the Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules (ASCR)
  • the family dispute resolution practitioners (FDRP) can meet their professional obligations, including maintaining confidentiality of the process, a party’s ability to speak freely, the safety of the parties, and the equality of bargaining power among the parties
  • LAQ delivers FDRCs in a manner that prioritises safety
  • the client is not exposed to the influence and coercion from another party (which may occur before, during and following the conference and any breaks). This is consistent with the Domestic and Family Violence Best Practice Framework.

As a general reminder, the conference arrangements (location, format, etc) are to be made via the conference organiser and not the FDRP. 

Youth crime panel

A reminder that the transition period for youth practitioner certification training has now ended. This means that in line with the Criminal Law Case Management Standards, as of 1 January 2021, practitioners undertaking work on criminal law youth matters (file work or duty lawyer work) are required to have completed the youth practitioner certification training.

Any preferred suppliers who do not have any accredited youth practitioners employed at their office have been contacted and advised that the firm has been removed from the youth crime panel for the purposes of new matters, until the firm can satisfy the requirement for accredited practitioners. Firms can continue with their existing matters. 

Only practitioners who have completed the youth practitioner certification training can undertake legally aided criminal law youth matters. The Best practice guidelines for working with children and young people and its supporting framework are available for you to view. 

Instruction in criminal law matters

LAQ in-house staff appear on a daily basis in courts across the state for legally aided criminal law matters as town agents for preferred suppliers. Recently we have noticed that the instructions do not include the best contact details for LAQ staff to communicate with firms regarding the appearance. To ensure our lawyers can feedback court results as quickly as possible, please ensure all instruction memos forwarded to LAQ set out clear instructions and that all appropriate contact details (including best phone, fax and email addresses) are included in the memo. 

Preferred supplier agreement expiring — feedback required

The current preferred supplier agreement will expire on 31 July 2021. It is expected the new agreement and application package will be available in May 2021. All current preferred suppliers who are wanting to undertake new legal aid work after 31 July 2021 will be required to complete an application and enter into a new agreement. 

We are currently reviewing the selection criteria and the preferred supplier agreement as well as previous feedback received, to determine what changes need to be made to these documents for the new agreement period.  If you have any comments about the current selection criteria or agreement terms, please send these to psupp.coordinator@legalaid.qld.gov.au for consideration in the review process.

This renewal process only relates to the substantive preferred supplier agreement and does not include the independent children’s lawyer and separate representative agreement.  The independent children’s lawyer and separate representative agreement is current until 31 July 2022. 

Please provide feedback by Friday 19 February 2021 to allow sufficient time for all suggestions to be considered and amendments made. 

Delivering services to clients while maintaining COVID-19 safe workplaces

With the Greater Brisbane lockdown being lifted on 22 January 2021, LAQ and businesses are returning to the COVID-19 normal.  This means following the updated COVID-19 restrictions roadmap and the National COVID-19 safe workplace principles

It is important that preferred suppliers follow these requirements and any current Queensland Health directive while also ensuring that client services are maintained.  It’s essential for service delivery that firms have clear arrangements in place for clients to contact the office and that suitable arrangements are in place for attending upon clients.  Ensure that social distancing and appropriate hand washing, and hygiene practices are in place and observed at all times and, where appropriate, consider the use of technologies in place of in person attendances. 

The Queensland Law Society has created a dedicated COVID-19 information resources hub that is regularly updated as new information becomes available.  

Expressions of interest — child protection duty lawyer service

Expressions of interest are currently being sought from community legal centres and preferred suppliers to provide child protection duty lawyer services in all regions where there is a current service from 1 March 2021 until 30 June 2023.

Please see the announcement on our website to view the expression of interest and accreditation requirements.

All expressions of interest are to be sent to cp.dutylawyer@legalaid.qld.gov.au by 5pm on Monday, 15 February 2021. 

Expressions of interest — domestic and family violence duty lawyer service

Expressions of interests are currently being sought from community legal centres and preferred suppliers to provide the domestic and family violence duty lawyer services in all regions where there is a current service from 1 March 2021 until 30 June 2023. 

Please see the announcement on our website to view the expression of interest and accreditation requirements.

All expressions of interest are to be sent to dv.dutylawyer@legalaid.qld.gov.au by 5pm on Monday, 15 February 2021.

Any practitioner wishing to provide domestic and family violence duty lawyer services must hold Domestic & Family Violence Duty Lawyer accreditation.  Attendance at the DFV Duty Lawyer Training Session conducted by LAQ is mandatory for all practitioners wishing to obtain accreditation.  The next training session will be held on Friday 12 February 2021, 12:30pm-2:00pm via Microsoft Teams.  If you wish to participate in this training, please advise our office by 12:00pm 11 February 2021 via email to dv.dutylawyer@legalaid.qld.gov.au

Expressions of interest — counselling notes protect panel

Expressions of interests are currently being sought from community legal centres and preferred suppliers to join the Counselling Notes Protect Panel in all regions from 1 March 2021 until 30 June 2023.

Please see the announcement on our website to view the expression of interest.

All expressions of interest are to be sent to CNP.Panel@legalaid.qld.gov.au by 5pm on Monday, 15 February 2021. 

Announcements you may have missed

Continuing professional development

LAQ is working to deliver online CPD training opportunities to preferred suppliers and CLCs, and emails will be sent when training is available. Please be aware there are limited spaces for training delivered via Microsoft Teams and this training is only available for LAQ staff, current preferred suppliers and CLC staff. Recorded CPD seminars are also available from Grants Online under the Information resources tab.  

Feedback

We welcome feedback and comments from clients, the community and our suppliers. As preferred suppliers you play an important role in helping us to provide quality legal services to disadvantaged Queenslanders. If you would like to provide comments or suggestions to us about our services, policies, processes or staff members, you can complete a contact form or email us at complaints@legalaid.qld.gov.au at any time.

Your feedback is important to us. We ensure a senior staff member investigates all issues thoroughly and we analyse all feedback every quarter to see what processes and services can be improved.

 

 

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