Management Response and Action Plan

Project Title: Evaluation of the Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio (BRLP)

Responsibility Centre: BRLP

Conclusions Recommendations Management Response Action Plan Responsible Manager (Title) Planned Completion Date

Provision of progress reports

Overall, the evaluation found that the Portfolio delivers high-quality legal services that are timely, responsive and useful.  However, the provision of regular and informative progress reports was identified as an area for improvement as clients who are not in regular contact with counsel (e.g. through recurrent meetings) generally mentioned having to seek updates on their requests for legal services.  Notwithstanding this limitation, the evaluation findings indicate that clients are generally very satisfied with the legal services they have received from the BRLP.

Recommendation 1:

That the Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio determine if there are ways of improving the provision of regular and informative progress reports in order to better meet the needs of its clients in this regard.

Agreed.

BRLP is committed to delivering high quality legal services to its clients and will ensure adherence of service standards as stated in the Annex A of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with client departments and agencies.

1. Managers across the Portfolio to communicate and remind employees of the service standards relating to the provision of regular progress reports to our clients.

ADM, DADM and BRLP managers 31 March 2017
2. Support the implementation of the new funding model at Justice by providing our clients with the new Business Analytics Report on a quarterly basis. ADM and DADM BRLP April 2016 and every following quarter (ongoing)

Roles and responsibilities

The evaluation found that there is room for improvement with regard to clarifying the respective roles and responsibilities of BRLP and regional counsel on shared files.  More specifically, 20% of regional counsel indicated that the roles and responsibilities between their regional office and the Portfolio’s DLSUs are not clear, and a further 36% indicated that roles and responsibilities are somewhat clear.  DLSU counsel were of a similar view with 7% indicating that roles and responsibilities between their DLSU and the regional offices are not clear and a further 42% indicating that roles and responsibilities are somewhat clear.  Although counsel generally seem to proactively delineate their respective roles and responsibilities, opportunities exist for this delineation to take place more consistently.

Recommendation 2:

That the Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio apply project management principles to clarify, at the outset of any litigation file, the tasks and responsibilities of each team member, appropriately tailored to each unique file.

Agreed.

It is important that respective roles and responsibilities are clearly delineated to ensure that legal service delivery is effective and efficient.

1. Continue to encourage Project Management training for all practitioners/ managers via a message from the ADMO.

ADM and DADM BRLP November 2016
2. Encourage all practitioners/managers with messaging from the ADM and DADM to apply project management principles to clarify tasks and responsibilities and consult Justipedia for tools and templates, in particular the preparation of a project charter and communication planning. ADM and DADM BRLP 31 March 2018
3. Establish a mechanism to demonstrate the application of project management principles to legal work. ADM and DADM BRLP 31 March 2018

Paralegal support

The delegation of suitable tasks to non-lawyers allows counsel to focus on work that requires their skills and reduces the cost of legal services.  However, more than half of respondents to the BRLP Legal Counsel Survey indicated that needed paralegal support was available on less than 50% of their files.  Additionally, lack of paralegal support was one of the factors frequently cited by respondents as constraining the Portfolio’s ability to provide high-quality legal services.  Together, these findings suggest that there are opportunities to increase the level of paralegal support that is available to counsel in the Portfolio.

Recommendation 3:

That the Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio monitor the impact of the new paralegal pool with a view to ensuring that DLSU counsel have sufficient access to needed paralegal support.

Agreed.

We agree that there is a need to monitor the use of and need for paralegal services in DLSUs.  This includes but is not restricted to the reliance on the paralegal pool whose mandate is to provide services when there is a temporary surge of work.

1. Request that each DLSU identify their paralegal needs and identify all tasks completed by their unit that could be done by paralegals (in consultation with the List of Paralegal Tasks).

ADM and DADM BRLP September 2016

2. Create a plan to encourage requests to the central pool of paralegals for services such as:

  • Temporary replacement of paralegals.
  • Temporary increase in need of paralegal support for large files.
  • Specific expertise.
  • Other situations not yet defined
ADM and DADM BRLP January 2017
3. Reassess on an annual basis the Portfolio’s need for use of the central pool of paralegals. ADM and DADM BRLP April 2017 and ongoing
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