Attorney-General’s Statement of Expectations - Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner

Statement of Expectations

The Attorney-General has issued us with a Statement of Expectations (SOE) for our contribution to the Government’s Regulation Reform Program.  This initiative aims to reduce red tape for the Victorian community by promoting greater efficiency and effectiveness in the administration and enforcement of regulation.

2019-2021 Statement of Expectations

The 2019-2021 Statement of Expectations (397KB PDF) sets out the Attorney-General’s expectations for our broader performance as a regulator.

We have provided the Attorney-General with our response to the 2019-21 SOE (85KB PDF).

For the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2021, the Attorney-General identified three key areas of governance and operational performance targets as areas where improvements could reduce cost impacts on businesses, including legal practices, and the wider Victorian community.  We are required to publish our response to the SOE for 2019-2021.

The following table sets out this response, detailing the strategies and measures for complying with the Attorney-General’s expectations.

IMPROVEMENT STRATEGIES IMPROVEMENT MEASURES/EVIDENCE
Timeliness
To improve e-access to information for legal practitioners and consumers of legal services by improving responsiveness of, and broader access to, the VLSB+C website from handheld devices. By June 2021, improve timely access for consumers and legal practitioners by enabling access to the VLBSC website from all mobile device types and a range of web browsers.

By June 2021, enable legal practitioners to complete and submit the full range of forms online and allow consumers a broader range of options to initiate contact with the VLSBC.

Risk-based strategies
To develop a better understanding of the consumer perspective on legal services, so we can regulate more effectively. By December 2020, collect data to understand the interaction of consumers of legal services with the legal industry and inform risk-based regulation.

By June 2021, prepare actions to respond to any the potential consumer harms identified in the consumer research.

Compliance related assistance and advice
To provide advice to the legal profession to raise awareness, knowledge and skill development in workplace safety and the prevention and management of sexual harassment in the workplace. By June 2020 the VLSBC will have undertaken 10-20 awareness raising proactive initiatives.

By June 2021 the VLSBC will have undertaken 10-20 knowledge and skill development proactive initiatives.

By June 2021, the VLSBC will have undertaken an evaluation of the quality of the proactive initiatives to determine success of uptake of practice change.

Reporting on progress to achieve these expectations will be also included in the Board and Commissioner’s 2020 and 2021 annual reports.

2018-19 Statement of Expectations

For the period 1 January 2018 to 30 June 2019, four key areas of governance and operational performance targets were identified. All performance targets were met by 30 June 2019.  The Department of Justice and Community Safety have independently evaluated our compliance with these performance objectives

The following table details the strategies and measures for complying with the three mandatory elements and the one recommended element of good regulatory practice.

 

IMPROVEMENT STRATEGIES IMPROVEMENT MEASURES/EVIDENCE
Timeliness
Improve e-access to information for legal practitioners and consumers of legal services by improving timely access to the VLSB+C website from handheld devices. By June 2019, improve timely access to information for practitioners by enabling better access to the online portal from hand held devices. Met
Risk-based strategies
Develop a strategy to respond to the independent review of the external examinations function. By April 2018, the Board will have formally reviewed the findings of the independent review. Met

By June 2018, developed a response to the review and associated action plan. Met

Compliance related assistance and advice
Undertake stakeholder consultation on existing guidance and develop new guidance to ensure it is easy to understand and comprehensive.Produce targeted information to assist legal practitioners in complying with their requirements. Supervision
By December 2018, it is proposed that the VLSB+C will have developed and published enhanced supervision guidelines to assist practitioners (both those who supervise and are under supervision) to understand the elements of good supervision. Met

By June 2019, identify ‘unsuitable qualities’ for supervisors by conducting an analysis to test the potential link between complaints and poor supervision.  Met

Incentive-based regulation
Develop understanding of sole practitioners’ behaviour incentives and disincentives in deciding whether to develop a contingency and succession plan for their practices. By June 2018, finalise a contingency and succession planning policy which will encourage sole practitioners to put a succession and contingency plan in place. Met

By June 2019, review the policy and measure the extent of voluntary uptake to examine underlying behaviour and incentives. Met

 

Last modified August 9, 2019.