Any such document is bound to be somewhat controversial, and the draft represents a very major potential strengthening of LSC and its role in access to justice. I would urge any and all to comment, and help ensure that the ultimate document is as strong and effective as possible.
My prior blog, here, summarizes some of the main points of the draft, as well as attempts to highlight what is best about it.
I also share below some specific suggestions for additions that I made in my own comments, just submitted.
- Make a commitment to develop timelines. This is an ambitious Plan, and rightly so. The creation of timelines, particularly in potentially controversial areas such as the use of outcome measures for incentives and remedial actions, would make it much harder for inertia to prevent the implementation of these important ideas. Moreover, having a timeline would help ensure the momentum remained with the implementation of the Plan, even in possible times of unavoidable future leadership transition.
- Make More Explicit LSC’s Commitment to Creating Leadership Institutions on Issues of Access to Justice. The Plan is excellent in its articulation of the need for LSC to become a “leading voice” in this area. I make more explicit that LSC would encourage the organizations with which it partners in this work to create stronger integrated national leadership roles and groupings in this area. I have personally urged moving towards the creation of a national access to justice Commission or equivalent body, modeled on the bi-partisan, multi-constituency model that has been so successful in so many states. While I understand the political complexities, I believe that they can and must be overcome, and that LSC can show true leadership in helping to move such an idea forward.
- Expand Discussion of Staffing issues. I would encourage inclusion of additional discussion of staffing realignment, particularly at the most senior level, to “bake in” these changes. In particular I believe that there is need for a Chief Information Officer to take leadership of the information strategy.
- Consider Use of Refunding Process to Incentivize Best Practices. It has been my experience that putting grantees on notice of LSC’s intent to request information on, and consider effectiveness in, particular aspects of their activities, has a significant pact on grantee planning processes long before the actual refunding application is due. The competition process can be used to underline the importance of compliance with expectations such as those relating to Best Practices, outcome measures and program Board development. I draw attention to the OMB circular on evidence based practices, blogged about here: https://accesstojustice.net/2012/05/31/nyt-blog-on-omb-memo-the-dawn-of-the-evidence-based-budget-implications-and-ideas/
Feel free to spread your own ideas through the Comments to this post, as well as directly to LSC.