Funded by the Victorian Law Foundation, the TEALS Project aimed to explore whether an interactive online tool, which we named the Legal Connector, could streamline the triage process in a way that is comfortable and safe for service users and at the same time providing further referral information. We also aimed to learn more about the many people accessing our service for assistance, as every year we turn away more than a third of people seeking legal support due to limited capacity based on funding limitations. With better user information obtained via the tool, we hoped to ensure that our services targeted the right people, i.e. those in our community with the most legal need.
After piloting the tool over a six-month period we found that there are some benefits to using an online tool, including the ability to provide automated referrals to ineligible clients and enhanced targeted service delivery based upon the additional client information obtained.
However, we also found that the resourcing required was far greater than anticipated and that the administrative burden of managing the tool outweighed many of the benefits.
What this project did confirm was that there is significant unmet legal need in our catchment, which NCLC currently does not have the resources to address. Accordingly, NCLC will continue to advocate for enhanced access to justice for people in our catchments across Melbourne's North-West.
View the TEALS Project report here.