Towards Integrated Legal Service Delivery
15 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2009
Date Written: June 24, 2009
International research has revealed links between legal and health needs, particularly for people with chronic illness and disability and the prevalence of non-legal services as the first port of call for assistance with legal problems. These are sound reasons to integrate legal, health and welfare services. However, even though the co-ordination and collocation of legal and non-legal services (particularly for disadvantaged communities) seems a straightforward solution to these research findings, integrating services across sectors, government departments, organisational and professional boundaries is not a simple task.
In the context of this research and various Australian policy responses, I explore the desired features of an integrated approach in legal, health and welfare service delivery. I draw on the experience of the West Heidelberg Community Legal Service (WHCLS) which is collocated with Banyule Community Health (BCH) and some other recent innovative legal service delivery options. In conclusion, the current challenges facing those agencies wishing to enter into arrangements to provide integrated legal, health and welfare services are identified.
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