Victoria Legal Aid Checker is now live!

We’re rather excited to announce the release of a new online tool to help Victorians access legal help, created in collaboration with Victoria Legal Aid as part of our fellowship program.

The new tool is expected to reduce pressure and save up to 30 hours per week of phone calls to Victoria Legal Aid’s (VLA) Legal Help team.

Through the Code for Victoria Innovation Challenge, Design Engineer Rikke Winther-Sørensen, Product Managers Becca Blazak and Michael Calle, and Software Engineer Christian Arevalo, teamed up with VLA and were tasked with using technology to better match people with the right legal services.

After an analysis of service data, an opportunity for improvement came in the form of an online checker, which aims to help people who have legal problems that are considered ‘out of scope’ for VLA, meaning VLA is not the appropriate place for their legal problem.  

VLA’s Legal Help lawyers can spend up to 5 minutes on the phone for each caller who has an issue that is out of scope for VLA. The new online checker provides an alternative way for these people to get help, simply by answering questions online, while also relieving wait times for others who have issues VLA can help with.

The CfA team used coding from the gov.uk Legal Aid Checker (run by Government Digital Services, UK) as a starting point, and refined the tool to fit Australian needs.

Victoria Legal Aid Managing Director, Bevan Warner, says the new, fresh user-centred design prototype has great potential.

‘Learning from, and working with, the fellows has brought a dynamic perspective to Victoria Legal Aid, building our capacity to use design thinking, rapid prototyping and co-design. I am looking forward to seeing this prototype develop and also looking forward to see how Victoria Legal Aid can continue to grow and explore in applying user-centred design principles.’

All code published by the CfA team is open source, meaning it can be replicated in other organisations who have similar needs. The code can be found on here on Github.

We'd love it if you could give the Online Checker a whirl for yourself, let us know your thoughts, and of course, share it to anyone who might find it useful.