Identifying and responding to need

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Join us for the next Research Network event on Identifying and responding to need

About this event

Putting people at the centre of service design and provision is central to practical access to justice . To design responsive and appropriate services, organisations must understand the needs of the community.

So how does an organisation identify and respond to needs?

In this session you will hear from

• Marie Baird, Service Design Lead, Victoria Legal Aid

• Dr Hugh McDonald, Principal Researcher, Victoria Law Foundation

• Professor Nigel Balmer, Research Director, Victoria Law Foundation

Hugh McDonald will share his expertise on how services can use data. He will explore various available data sources, and discuss how they can be used, what they might reveal, and what limitations they have. Like service provision more broadly, there is no single or one-size-fits-all way to using data to identify and respond to need, but some approaches may be more informative and meaningful than others.

Nigel Balmer will discuss our Public Understanding of Law Survey (PULS) that will go into the field next month, including what it measures, and how it will contribute to understanding community needs.

Marie Baird will discuss how Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) identifies and responds to legal need and share examples of VLA’s evidence-based planning and service design work. She will also introduce the data tool VLA has developed to support the legal assistance sector in identifying and responding to need.

Our speakers

Dr Hugh McDonald

Hugh joined the Foundation in September 2019 as Principal Researcher.

He previously worked at the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, on several landmark access to justice and legal need projects.

Throughout his career, he has worked closely with legal aid commissions, community legal centres, state and federal governments, giving him a deep understanding of legal institutions and access to justice issues throughout Australia.

Professor Nigel Balmer

Nigel joined the VLF in December 2018 as its inaugural Research Director. He has been conducting empirical research for over twenty years and is expert in the application of social science and modern quantitative methods to explore how the public understand and interact with the law.

Nigel’s research includes work on the role of law in everyday life; attitudes to justice; public experience of and response to legal issues; the interaction between legal and health problems; and design of legal services and legal aid. He is best known for his work on legal need surveys around the world, including recent guidance supporting global access to justice initiatives under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16.

Nigel is also Honorary Professor of Law and Social Statistics at University College London

Marie Baird

Marie is Service Design Lead in VLA’s Services and Innovation directorate. Marie and her team provide strategic advice and support to VLA and sector partners in legal need analysis and service planning and design.

Marie has previously worked in the community legal sector and community agencies and has a deep commitment to helping make legal processes and systems work better for the people who need them most.

About the Victoria Law Foundation Research Network

Thank you for showing an interest in Victoria Law Foundation’s Research Network.

We are aiming to build a network across the justice, community, and academic sectors to share knowledge and encourage collaboration among those working on legal research and evaluation related to access to justice issues.

What will this involve?

Throughout the year we will hold events where attendees can showcase or learn about interesting research projects, findings, work currently being conducted, and learnings from past projects.

Who can be part of the network?

We welcome those who are conducting research and evaluation in relation to access to justice issues.

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Organiser Victoria Law Foundation

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