Information Communications Technology and Data
Our role in ICT and data
Community Legal Centres Australia formed an ICT team to develop and implement CLASS, a software tool used by legal centres funded under the NPA (National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services, 2015–2020) and its successor, the NLAP (National Legal Assistance Partnership, 2020–2025). These centres are required to use CLASS to report on the funding they received by entering data about each service they provide, and then producing reports based on that data. Over time, the reporting requirements have become more complex; meanwhile centres have increasingly moved away from paper-based approaches to their legal practice management to digital solutions such as client management systems, or CMSs. Community Legal Centres Australia has pivoted to respond to both of these developments, with a dedicated Information Communications Technology and Data team which, apart from maintaining, updating and providing helpdesk support for CLASS, is focussed on supporting the sector in four main project areas.
Community Legal Centres Australia continues to operate the ICT and Data Helpdesk to provide technical support and training for CLASS and to help centres with their data management and reporting obligations.
Centres will find extensive documentation on CLASS in the CLASS and ICT resources section of clcs.org.au.
Latest CLASS update
August 2023 – Data Standards Manual compliance
The Commonwealth Government publishes the National Legal Assistance Data Standards Manual. This documents outline the reporting requirements for centres receiving funding under NLAP. Community Legal Centres Australia produces the Data Consistency Guide to help centres ensure they are meeting the requirements of the Data Standards Manual. In August 2023, a major update was made to CLASS to streamline the process of generating reports consistent with the Data Standards Manual.
From September 2023, centres will be required to provide unit-level data on its provision of legal services to the Commonwealth Government. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has been nominated as the agency to receive this data. Community Legal Centres is supporting centres to ensure that they are able to meeting their reporting requirements without compromising the confidentiality of their clients.
National Data Repository
Community Legal Centres Australia continues to work towards building a National Data Repository that can receive and store data from any modern client management system (CMS) that a centre uses. Many centres have adopted or are contemplating adopting a CMS to streamline day-to-day work. This project aims to ensure every centre can use its CMS of choice and still have its work reflected accurately in state and national reporting data.
Community Legal Centres Australia assists with the production of jusrisdictional reports required by state and territory NLAP program managers, and we are currently working on the reports for the January–June 2023 period.