Strategic framework and objectives: towards 2015

PILCH has a Strategic Plan, which operates until June 2012. It brings together all of the diverse activities of PILCH in one document, grouped under 5 goals. These are in turn supported by objectives which relate to our various programs. By and large, these objectives remain relevant and have influenced the work planning of PILCH managers for this calendar year (although inevitably there have been some changes, particularly in light of our restructure and our sharpened advocacy focus).

However, the current Strategic Plan lacks an overall sense of what draws all the programs together as being recognisably PILCH. It also does not provide much assistance in making strategic choices about the development of new programs, or the refinement of existing ones.

This strategic framework fills this gap. Its purpose is to set out a strategic operating framework for PILCH and its programs. This is designed to give clear parameters for decision making about program design and delivery and organisational capacity building.

Development of the framework is also important pre-work for the development of our new strategic plan, which will need to be in place in about 12 months time.

Strategic operating framework

Our Strategic Operating Framework has 3 elements:

  1. The Three Guiding Principles
  2. The Program Response Model
  3. The Program Development Model

and is supported by a set of implementation tools

  • Program Objectives and Campaign Objectives
  • Operational Plans, including Communications Plan, Funding Strategy, Staffing Strategy and Budget

Three guiding principles

Three Guiding Principles:

  • Leadership
  • Sustainability
  • Effectiveness

Everything we do reflects these principles. They inform our strategic planning, especially program development and staffing plans. Each principle has an internal PILCH element and an external sectoral element


Our people

  • Growing our leaders and experts - for us and others in the sector

In the sector

  • Leading thinking and practice, especially in pro bono relationships and effectiveness. Examples include:

    • Law & Social Change Dialogue
    • Pro bono capacity building
    • Innovative responses to unmet legal need


Our structures

  • Organised for efficiency and effectiveness
  • Demonstrate a clear PILCH "brand"
  • Include a strong support "hub" to underpin our programs and those of others (eg HRLC) and to support innovation

Our programs

  • Sustainable funding
  • Collaborative


Evidence based

  • From our own data, or (sometimes) from a reliable external source
  • Based on effective knowledge management and organisational learning (PIMS)

Impact orientated

  • Evaluation of our effectiveness
  • Collaboration with others, including non legal
  • Capacity building in the sector
  • Professional development of our people

Our primary response model

- Primary response modelPrograms are structured and managed to be a client centred response to need. This drives advocacy and broader change. New programs are also developed and designed in this way. It also ensures we meet the need of law firms for pro bono referrals.


This means that every response to legal need:

  • originates with a client need that we have identified (and so is evidence based)
  • Includes a pro bono referral component as our first response (and so is true to our identity and heritage, and meets the need of our members)
  • Seeks to collaborate with others (and so builds on one of our core strengths)

    - Organisational structure

  • Does not duplicate the work of others (and so strengthens the access to justice sector as a whole)


Our organisational structure reflects this model.

Our program development model

Sometimes, a pro bono referral response on its own may not meet the need we have identified. If

  • no one else is meeting the need, and
  • no one else is better placed to meet the need, and
  • we have the skills and capacity, then

consistent with our guiding principles, PILCH may develop a "legal services" response.

Under this model, the Referral Team is the first response to legal need and the key "data source". It identifies unmet legal need and organises or oversees a pro bono referral response. It also uses data obtained through this work to inform project areas where a more comprehensive legal services response may be appropriate. It thus provides (or at least is a key contributor to) our evidence base.- Program development model

A Legal Services response will include a pro bono component, but will also involve a broader and more complex solution. This may include PILCH staff lawyers providing advice, and/or a partnership with other service providers. These responses will be developed in collaboration with others including PILCH members and will be based on data from PILCH's activity, as well as external sources.

EG -Connect, HPLC, SRLC. Also HRLC, ACDC.

In some cases, a Legal Services response program may identify areas where a pro bono referral response is appropriate - the "cogs" of the "gears" can operate in both directions.

And in some cases, we won't be able to respond to the need.

We will always seek to make the best referral out of PILCH

Law and policy reform campaigns

PILCH prides itself on facilitating pro bono legal services for individuals and organisations in need. However, when systemic failures and gaps exist in the legal system, individual referral and case work may not be a sufficient response. In those situations, PILCH may undertake law and policy reform and advocacy, alongside referral and case work.

PILCH is well placed to identify systemic failures in the justice system through its referral and case work. The information gained through that work is used to inform our law and policy work, and in particular, our systemic campaigns.

Our campaign work is guided by the following principles:

  • Campaigns are consistent with our vision, mission and values and the principles set out in this document
  • Campaigns are evidence based and are drawn from our referral and case work
  • We only undertake campaigns where we have the necessary expertise and capacity
  • Campaigns are properly managed and regularly reviewed for effectiveness.
  • Campaigns will apply, or are consistent with, a human rights based approach (participation, empowerment, respect)

We currently have 4 priority areas and each has 2 focus areas

  • Access to the justice system
    • Increasing access to legal representation
    • Facilitating public interest litigation
  • Assisting people experiencing homelessness to assert their legal rights
    • Reform of the infringements system
    • Management of public/social housing tenancies
  • Strengthening Australia's human rights framework
    • Supporting the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities
    • Strengthening federal and state equality laws
  • Improving the legal framework for community organisations
    • Improving the legal regime for Victorian NFP incorporated associations
    • Modernise the definition of charity

Program objectives and reporting

Within the Strategic Operating Framework, each program develops its own strategic plan and targets. PILCH program managers and the Executive Director will meet to report quarterly on performance and this will form the basis of reporting to the Board, external funders and PILCH members.

The program work is supported by the PILCH "operational hub", which is responsible for providing HR, IT, facilities and finance, as well as strategic leadership and management, leadership development, stakeholder management and support with program funding.

Contact details

Fiona McLeay
Executive Director
[email protected]
(03) 8636 4405 or 0425 714 545