With a powerful tool kit out there to help states engage in 100% access to justice strategic planning, and with states now engaged in the process (and not only those with grants from the JFA Project), I thought it might be useful to lay out some thoughts on how to asses whether an emerging plan does all that it can do. As you know, the process as laid out in the Guidance is component based, and so therefore are these self-assessment thoughts. (For an analysis of the Components, and of parallel suggestions in ABA ABA and Civil Justice Reports, see here.)
I wold suggest that each state should periodically ask itself:
Are we, and will we be, on an ongoing basis –
- Able to identify how far we are in deploying all the key components,
- Able to make choices about which components should be given greatest attention and what steps need to be taken to complete deployment of those components or to start deployments of those not deployed,
- Know what needs to be done to put in place systems that will ensure that those in need of access services will be referred to, and in fact connect to the most appropriate and cost effective services, and have a plan for what will be done when resources are not sufficient,
- Able to identify which deployments will need additional or diverted funds or resources, and be able to identify plans to raise needed funds and also to move forward regardless of whether additional resources can be raised in the short term,
- Know what needs to be done to put in place measures of availability and delivery of services in comparison to need, and of the impact upon the extent to which the services impact upon the meeting of the “decision upon the facts and the law” standard,
- Identify the tasks needed to complete these steps and be able to assign to different organizations the responsibility for the tasks needed to achieve the above,
- Have a plan for making changes when tasks are not completed,
- Know how to develop a legitimate governance system for the integrated components of this system.
Thanks again to the Public Welfare Foundation for their funding of the JFA Project.