Intake and Referral Policy
TASC National Limited (TASC) is committed to ensuring that everyone who approaches TASC for service is assisted either with access to the service or with an alternative strategy that addresses their needs. Intake or eligibility criteria will be inclusive of the widest possible group of people who may need to access the service and will comply with State and Commonwealth Anti-Discrimination legislation requirements.
- operate with clear criteria for eligibility and priority for service access;
- apply these criteria in a fair, equitable, ethical and transparent manner;
- provide information and referrals for clients who are ineligible for the service, unable to access the service for other reasons or who require the service of other agencies.
Intake and referral will operate within the service guidelines for TASC’s funding programs at all times.
Eligibility for assistance is a determination to be made within the discretion of the Chief Executive Officer and/or appropriate Coordinator. When determining whether a client is eligible for assistance, the following factors will be taken into consideration:
- recognition that the service is funded to provide advice and/or advocacy support only in relation to the areas of law as defined by our service Agreements
- whether TASC is able to provide any necessary specialised expertise
- physical resources available within the service
- existing commitments and priorities of the service
- workload issues
- TASC’s ability to provide further assistance in the ongoing conduct of the matter
- any other option available to the client, e.g., is the client’s case one that can be divided into stages? If so, TASC may consider assisting at different stages; the number of contacts the client has had with TASC in relation to the same issue.
- whether a conflict of interest exists
- whether the client has a disability or other disadvantage or vulnerability that impedes self-representation
- whether the client has the relevant skills, training, ability and personal resources to advocate for themselves
- whether the skills and abilities of the client, including cultural considerations warrant TASC’s involvement, e.g., language, literacy and self-confidence or advocacy skills
- whether TASC involvement will enhance the client’s ability to continue to act on their own behalf
- whether the assistance will increase the client’s prospects of success, including matters of public interest.
Budget and Budgetary Restraints
- whether the client is eligible for Legal Aid
- whether the client can access alternative legal advice
- whether another organisation can provide the client with the advice and representation required
- whether the matter is likely to be accepted by a private lawyer on a speculative basis
- whether the client has engaged a private lawyer to provide the appropriate service and that time spent by TASC is not providing unnecessary duplication
- the assets and financial resources available to the client.
These criteria will be consistently applied to anyone wishing to access the service.
The Chief Executive Officer will review the eligibility criteria on a regular basis or where otherwise specifically needed.
Management of requests for a service
Requests for service by clients are made through a variety of processes – by telephone, email, referral, outreach service or personal attendance.
Referrals from other agencies are accepted under circumstances where the TASC eligibility criteria are met.
TASC staff members receiving a request or application for service will ensure:
- the person has a clear understanding about the service’s available and the eligibility criteria
- advocates, support services and interpreters are involved as required
- the person’s needs are assessed
- if eligible, the person is provided with access to the service
- if ineligible, the person is provided, where possible, with alternative service options or referral to another appropriate service. If ineligible or excluded from the service, the person is informed of the reason for refusal of service, advised of their right to appeal, provided with alternative options and/or a referral to appropriate agency
- decisions are consistent and transparent
- a record is kept of a request for service and the referral details
Coordinators and Administration staff will be responsible for maintaining an accurate and current contact and referral database.
Informal referrals are made by providing the client with contact information about other services or agencies.
Formal referrals are made to other services or agencies at any stage of a matter by the staff member and if necessary, in consultation with the Coordinator. Referral is recorded on the CLSIS form.
Where more than one option exists, at least two referral options are provided to the client to choose from.
When a referral is made to another agency, the staff member making the referral will ensure that:
- confidentiality and privacy of the client is maintained at all times
- they have clarified with the client the service needs they have expressed
- the client is given an accurate picture of the other agency and its service
- the other agency is given full and transparent referral information
- details about the referral are put in writing to the client and the agency when appropriate
- records of contact with the client and the other agency are kept
- follow up with client and/or agency if required.