Federation of Community Legal Centres Victoria
About this project
Community Legal Centres (CLCs) around Australia are increasingly seeking to measure and report on the outcomes they achieve for their clients and communities. Clear evidence of impact plays an important role in accountability and oversight. It can drive better services by pinpointing areas of success as well as areas for improvement. Evidence of impact also enables organisations, and entire sectors, to more effectively demonstrate the value they contribute to individual clients and to communities.
In 2016-17, Lirata partnered with the Federation of Community Legal Centres Victoria to develop an Outcomes Measurement Framework for the Victorian Community Legal Sector. This innovative project was completed in December 2017. The Framework represents international leading practice and provides a sophisticated foundation for the sector to evaluate and communicate its impact. As part of the project, Lirata also supported six CLCs to develop their evaluation skills and systems.
Sector Outcomes Measurement Framework
The CLC Outcomes Measurement Framework was developed through extensive consultation with the Victorian Community Legal Sector over 18 months. Lirata undertook three rounds of stakeholder consultation involving representatives from over 40 CLCs, and gathered feedback from experts in the field.
Lirata developed the detail of the Framework in collaboration with Federation staff and the Outcomes Project Steering Committee. Lirata also worked directly with six CLCs to pilot outcome measurement processes. Through this process, Lirata and the Federation crafted a Framework that is highly tailored to the work of the sector.
The Framework centres on five High Level Outcomes, which together span the range of work of the sector from direct legal assistance to community legal education, law reform and advocacy.
High Level Outcomes for the Community Legal Sector
People experiencing disadvantage have increased access to justice.
Community members have increased capability to understand and address their legal issues.
CLCs and stakeholders have increased capability to provide integrated responses to the needs of people experiencing disadvantage.
Decision makers address systemic injustices.
CLCs are capable, sustainable and able to respond to the legal needs of people experiencing disadvantage.
These High Level Outcomes are accompanied by intermediate outcomes, indicators and data collection tips to guide implementation.
Lirata also developed a set of outcome measurement tools, templates and instructions that provide an important resource for the sector. These include a client outcomes survey, stakeholder and partner survey, advocacy register, and incoming enquiry log. The Framework and accompanying tools are available from the Federation’s website.
Building evaluation skills and systems
The second stream of the project involved evaluation capacity building with six CLCs: Casey Cardinia Community Legal Service, Central Highlands CLC, Flemington Kensington CLC, Peninsula CLC, Social Security Rights Victoria and Springvale Monash Legal Service. In addition, Lirata provided some M&E assistance to the Federation and to ARC Justice during the project.
Lirata’s consultants worked collaboratively with each CLC to develop a theory of change and Monitoring & Evaluation framework. Lirata provided training and mentoring, and assisted each CLC to develop and pilot M&E tools and to produce a pilot outcomes report. Lirata also assisted in facilitating a community of practice to enable peer learning and support among the participating organisations.
The project produced a ground-breaking Outcomes Measurement Framework which is assisting CLCs in Victoria and beyond to demonstrate the importance and impact of their work. The consultative and capacity building approach of the project has enabled the sector to use M&E effectively to progress its aims.
The Framework represents international leading practice and provides a sophisticated foundation for the sector to evaluate and communicate its impact.