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Community Legal Centres Australia

ICT & Data update

Welcome to the August edition of Community Legal Centres Australia’s ICT & Data monthly update. Read on for news on our priority ICT & Data projects.

If you have any questions, please contact either our ICT Delivery Manager or our Data Manager We value the guidance of our Information, Communications and Data Technology Advisory Group, but please note that questions about our work should not be directed to Advisory Group members. Members can certainly help by raising your issues for discussion at our monthly meetings, but enquiries about our activities should be directed to Meghan or Suzanne.

You’re receiving this newsletter because you are the Coordinator, Director or Principal Solicitor of a centre, or you’ve previously been nominated as a CLASS contact. If you’d like to unsubscribe, please hit the button below; if you’d like to nominate someone else from your centre to receive it, please email us on with their name and email address.



Unit-level data


For a year we have been warning that centres using CLASS would need to provide unit-level data to the Commonwealth in September 2023 (National Legal Assistance Partnership [NLAP] Agreement Schedule D). The date for this provision is fast approaching and we have just received advice from the Commonwealth on the scope of this exercise.

We will only provide your unit-level data to the Commonwealth (or more precisely, to the Australian Bureau of Statistics [ABS] acting as the Commonwealth’s agent) with the express permission of your centre’s Principal Solicitor. In order to approve data extracts, Principal Solicitors will need to be confident the data does not identify any client. Principal Solicitors will need to allocate time to assessing the data for their centre. We recently ran a pilot unit-level data exercise to test the impact of this data requirement on centres, and based on this we calculate that it will take Principal Solicitors between a couple of hours and half a day to complete their checks. You will need to do this between 11 and 22 September.

Next month you will receive an encrypted file with instructions on how to unencrypt it. We’ll be applying security measures to ensure only you are able to access the file. The data included in the file will already be significantly deidentified. It will not include names. It will include age ranges for each client rather than birth dates. Addresses won’t be included, instead location data will be recorded at SA2-level. Specific disabilities won’t be listed, just yes/no. Information about a client’s language background will just note if a language other than English is spoken at home, rather than the specific language. Despite these measures, Principal Solicitors will still need to check the data to make sure that no clients can possibly be identified. There will be capacity to delete client records where you have concerns.

To support you, we will:

  • Provide information on our de-identification process (our Deidentification Guidelines)
  • Run a webinar with a Q&A session, on 7 September, 11:30-12:30 AEST –Principal Solicitors will be invited to a Teams meeting
  • Provide guidance for centres on the process by which they can assess files
  • At the time we send you your encrypted file, provide you with details of the person within our team assigned to your centre plus the opportunity to book time with this person

We’re also liaising with the ABS to see if they can provide a training session for the sector.

We’ve long complained that this unit-level data exercise will be a demanding process without a clear aim. But now we have to get on with it. The Commonwealth has shown some flexibility around scope, and it may be possible to extract further changes next time around. For now, we’re committed to supporting you as best we can to meet this NLAP requirement.

Note that the ABS will only publish data in aggregate form.



Data Standards Manual changes live in CLASS

Long-delayed changes to CLASS to make it compliant with the updated Data Standards Manual are finally live in CLASS.

These changes include:

  • Ongoing Legal Support has been added as a new service type. All service-related DIY reports can now report on this service type.
  • In addition to reporting by calendar date, Active services now includes ongoing legal support and ongoing non-legal support.
  • The Financial Disadvantage Indicator field is now multi-select, so you can select more than one reason for financial hardship if needed. The Mode of Service Delivery field is also now multi-select, allowing you to choose multiple options for how you deliver services to each client, for example, face-to-face and outreach. The Financial Disadvantage Indicator and Mode of Service Delivery field changes can now be included in all reports that use these fields.

We will add specific release information and updates to relevant ICT and CLASS resources pages on our website soon.



National Data Repository

We’re continuing our work towards building a National Data Repository that can store reporting data from any modern client management system (CMS) a centre uses. We know many of you have adopted or are contemplating adopting a CMS to streamline your day-to-day work. This project aims to ensure every centre can use its CMS of choice (within reason) and still have all your work reflected accurately in state and national reporting data.

This month, we have been working with centres that have moved to Actionstep to troubleshoot problems that arise as they share their data with us through the Konekta Sync tool. This has been largely successful. Although we have come across some difficulties, working with centres to identify and manage issues has helped highlight some changes we can make to centre data collection processes. This will help to streamline data work for all centres going forward.

We have also been working directly with centres to make sure their Actionstep data complies with the National Data Standards Manual or standards in CLASS.

With the National Legal Assistance Partnership mid-point review now underway, it is more important than ever that we have high-quality centre and sector data that gives a true picture of your work to support your communities. We are grateful for all your work with us to get this challenging process right.



NLAP reporting


The January–June NLAP jurisdictional reports will be delivered to jurisdictions within the required timeframe.

Thank you all for your patience as we’ve grappled with data extracts in this age of modern client management systems. We’re confident it will be better next time around.


We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work and live, and recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We also pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging

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