Feedback by 19 July 2022 - draft new audit methodology for legal aid providers

The Ministry of Justice is leading a project to improve the legal aid provider experience. In 2020, the Ministry streamlined processes for becoming a legal aid provider. In 2021, the Ministry implemented changes to how it managed complaints about legal aid providers and introduced a new limited audit process for completing a high volume of paper-based reviews of legal aid provider files to identify areas where improvements are required.

This year, the Ministry's focus has been on improving its full audit process. It hasdeveloped a new draft full audit methodology and would appreciate your feedback on the changes it is proposing.

It is the Ministry's intention that the changes will result in:

  • more effective and efficient monitoring to ensure that legal aid services are delivered in accordance with legislative, contractual, and professional obligations
  • improved support for lawyers to understand the Ministry's expectations of good practice and make timely improvements if required           
  • quality matters being managed in a manner that upholds public confidence in the quality of legal aid services.

Compared to the current audit process, the updated methodology allows for:

  • the auditors and legal aid providers to discuss the selected cases and the approach taken when providing legal aid representation
  • a greater focus on the quality of legal aid representation
  • auditors to interview other stakeholders (such as lawyers being supervised by the provider) and observe the legal aid provider working with clients
  • the Ministry to make recommendations for improvement and/ or require that the provider undertakes corrective actions within a set timeframe where this is warranted.

The draft full audit methodology and associated policy and draft audit report template are now available on the Ministry’s website for your consideration and feedback. The consultation will run over a two-week period from 5 July until 19 July 2022. 

The consultation process will help the Ministry to ensure that the audit methodology is fit for purpose.  It will use the feedback to strengthen or clarify the audit methodology before it is finalised.

Please feel free to contact the person below if you have any questions.

Deborah Mills (she/her) 
Principal Advisor – Service Improvement
Commissioning and Service Improvement

Sponsors & Service Providers