Data mapping project: Apples, Oranges and Lemons
Examining how administrative data is collected and used in the Victorian legal assistance sector.
Apples, Oranges and Lemons: The use and utility of administrative data in the Victorian legal assistance sector is the first report in the Data Mapping Project.
Reliable data is powerful. It has potential to illuminate the forces shaping our society. Data is increasingly used to help us understand complex issues and one important source is administrative data.
Administrative data is information collected and stored as part of the everyday function of organisations. It can be used to generate insights into the operation of the legal system.
In the legal context, service providers are demanding more from their data to improve and design effective services. Used well, administrative data can measure not only the volume and type of work done, but the success of services and programs.
To unlock the potential of this data, we first need to know what data exists, its form and quality, how it is currently used, and what it can be used for. Hence this project to map data collected by the Victorian civil justice system.
This is key to more fully exploiting its potential as a tool for answering important access to justice questions.
Victoria Law Foundation’s data mapping project examines how administrative data is collected and used in the Victorian civil justice system. The project investigates what data is available, its accuracy and consistency, how data is used and what needs to be done to improve its utility for addressing access to justice questions.
The project is in three stages. The first explores administrative data collected in the legal assistance sector. The second will cover courts and tribunals, and the third will examine other dispute resolution and complaint bodies.
Stage one: Apples oranges and lemons
For Apples, Oranges and Lemons: the use and utility of administrative data in the Victorian legal assistance sector we interviewed 29 public legal services. These included a cross-section of legal assistance providers in metropolitan and regional Victoria, covering both generalist and specialist services. We also spoke to representatives from peak bodies and funders.
Data practice was variable
Data collection practices across the sector varied considerably. Between organisations there was inconsistency in how data was collected, counted and measured. These variations reflected pragmatic choices of individual organisations, with data collection tailored to the needs of services and their clients.
Apples, Oranges and Lemons: The use and utility of administrative data in the Victorian legal assistance sector
Release Date: 8 July 2020
Authors: Hugh M. McDonald, Cosima McRae, Nigel J. Balmer, Tenielle Hagland, Clare KennedyDownload the report