Whilst always available to respond to requests to support clinic development in a ‘reactive’ way, the Clinics team have developed a detailed strategy to guide proactive clinic development. Initial research in each region has been carried out to establish existing services and provision, as well as an analysis of the local need. Each Clinic Support and Development Officer is now building partnerships with local advice services and law firms to stimulate new clinic development in targeted areas where the greatest need has been identified.
As part of our support offering to clinics the team visit clinics and coordinators across the Network. Our visits provide an opportunity to better understand the clinic and its operation, as well as assist with addressing any challenges, and share learning, templates and resources.
In the East of England and Midlands, LawWorks’ Clinic Support and Development Officers have recently hosted more local networking events bringing together clinic coordinators to explore ideas of how they can better work together, share resources and make efficient referrals, as well as inform the development of new LawWorks resources. As a neutral facilitator LawWorks have received positive feedback from these meetings; they will continue on a regular basis, and be rolled out in other areas across the country.
There have been two roundtables this year;
- March 2017 - a discussion about the Court modernisation programme, with contributions from HM Courts & Tribunals Service, who provided an introduction to the reform programme, and Roger Smith, a solicitor, researcher, journalist and author of ‘Law, Technology and Access to Justice’.
- June 2017 – a discussion about the aims of supervision and the role of the supervisor in different clinic models, with contributions from Alan Russell, senior lecturer and fellow of the Higher Education Academy at London South Bank University (LSBU), and supervisor at the LSBU Legal Advice Clinic, and Shyam Popat, Client services manager at South West London Law Centres and Legal Adviser at Waterloo Legal Advice Service.
Each roundtable also provides clinic coordinators with the opportunity to meet and network with fellow colleagues in other clinics and the opportunity to discuss current issues facing their clinics and exchange ideas and share learning towards best practice.
The next roundtables are scheduled for Wednesday 27th September and Wednesday 29th November, topics to be confirmed.