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Structure and Function of Head Office

The Board’s Head Office is located in Quay Street, Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry V23 RD46. A number of head office functions are located in the Board’s Dublin offices.

Structure of Head Office

The Board’s staff is headed by a Chief Executive appointed by the Minister for Justice and Equality, upon the recommendation of the Public Appointments Service. A number of Directors report directly to the Chief Executive. 

Appendix A shows the structure of the Board’s support services.

Head office sections

Law Centres will have interaction with most Head Office sections on a regular basis. Two sections relate primarily to service delivery, Civil Operations which manages the law centre network, and Legal Services which deals with matters such as grant/refusal of legal aid.

Civil Operations

This Section has overall responsibility for the delivery of the legal aid service through the law centre network.  The Section is responsible for service delivery and for developing proposals for legal aid policy development.  It handles complaints in relation to delivery of services by law centres.  It also has a role in relation to responding to complaints against private practitioners and provides quality assurance in relation to services provided  by them.

Legal Services

The consideration of certain applications for legal aid is assigned to the staff in Legal Services, based in Cahirciveen. Legal Services is divided into a number of Units and each law centre is allocated to a Unit.

Much of the regular correspondence between a law centre and Legal Services can be generated through EOS. This includes applications for legal aid certificates and for amendments to certificates. Legal Services respond through EOS.

A unit within Legal Services, Legal Services Unit 4, process certain applications for legal aid, such as from the Central Authority for Maintenance Recovery / Child Abduction, from complainants in rape cases, and administers our solicitors’ and barristers panels. Unit 4 also deals with general enquiries from members of the public.

For non-client related queries, group email addresses should be used by law centre staff.

Information Technology

Information Technology (IT) deals with the provision of IT systems, hardware, software and support for the Board. Law centres may need to contact IT from time to time. The IT Helpdesk is based in Cahirciveen. Calls may be placed with the IT Helpdesk by clicking the Log Servicedesk Call button in the Lotus Notes email application, which is the preferred method of contacting IT Unit. Where Lotus Notes is not available (for example, in the case of a general system or network outage) call 066 9471076.

IT Unit has produced comprehensive help manuals which are available via the IT Help Manuals tile in Lotus Notes and should first be consulted prior to contacting IT Unit.

Human Resources

Human Resources (HR), based in Cahirciveen, deals with personnel matters, including recruitment, bullying and harassment, industrial relations, and disciplinary matters.  HR have produced a comprehensive è Staff Handbook and a Manager’s Handbook which are available on your Lotus Notes Workspace and which should be consulted regarding general HR queries.

To contact HR, the group email HR Cahirciveen is available. Queries regarding flexitime and attendance (see Chapter 10) should be emailed to the group Time Management.

Some HR functions are now dealt with by the National Shared Services Office. You can find details of NSSO and the functions it looks after on iLAB.

Research, Learning and Development

Research, Learning and Development, based in Montague Court is responsible for the  Board’s training and research functions.

As part of the training function, it organises training courses, is responsible for booking staff on external training courses, planning training and development, study and examination leave, advance and refund of fees, and change management in the Board. 

The research function comprises the Board’s Library service which holds copies of legal texts and other documentation and provides a query service, and the Refugee Documentation Centre which holds materials relating to international protection law and which provides a legal query service and a country of origin information service. The Library can also conduct Property Registration Authority (Landdirect) searches and Company/Director searches as well as caselaw, legislation and journal article searches.  If you require assistance with searching, contact the LAB Library.  All law centre staff can request access to the Landdirect website, through the LAB Library, which allows access to conduct these searches.  Research and Information also provides training on country of origin information research, information skills and legal databases which are available to Board staff.

The Library offers an electronic catalogue of materials it holds, which can be accessed  on the Portal page for all Board users via a link in the top menu bar or on the left hand pane under LAB/RDC Library. A user manual is also available on the LAB Portal. A username and password can be obtained by contacting the group email Resarch, Learning and Development.

Staff can refer to the Library Services Guides for further information on library services which are available to them.  The guides are on the Portal page under LAB/RDC Library. Staff may contact the library at (01) 477 6250 or by emailing the  LAB Library email group.

Access Officer

Under the Disability Act 2005, all Government Offices are required to appoint one or more Access Officers to help customers with disabilities to access their services, buildings and information. Therefore, in accordance with section 26(2) of the Disability Act 2005 the Legal Aid Board appointed an Access Officer who is responsible for providing or arranging for, and coordinating assistance and guidance, to persons with disabilities accessing services provided by the Board. It is essential that all staff members are instructed as to who the Board's access officer is and how they may be contacted, and be able to refer clients onwards for advice when required.  

The Access Officer can be contacted at mmdonnelly@legalaidboard.ie

Disability Liaison Officers                                                                                                                                                                                      

All Civil Service Departments/Offices are required to have a Disability Liaison Officer (DLO) whose role is to:

  • Act as the point of contact for Civil Servants with disabilities, their managers and Human Resources Sections
  • Assist and support Civil Servants with disabilities, in confidence, and their line managers by providing necessary information, appropriate contacts, guidance, suggestions and advice
  • Assist in the implementation of best Human Resource practices in line with equality legislation
  • Facilitate increased awareness of disability throughout the organisation
  • Attend meetings of the Civil Service Disability Liaison Officers Network. 

The Disability Liaison Officers can be contacted at DLO.                                           

Organisation

Organisation deals with buildings and facilities, including the provision of furniture, office supplies, and telephone lines, and buildings maintenance. Organisation has introduced a facility whereby law centres may order stationary and certain office supplies locally, via the Internet. è Chapter 2 details how to use this facility.

Other queries should be directed to the group email Organisation.

Finance

Finance is responsible for the Board’s accounts and banking functions, including payment of all invoices. Law centres must file returns to Finance Unit on a monthly basis (see Chapter 9).

Payroll and the payment of travel and subsistence claims are now dealt with through the National Shared Services Office’s Payroll Shared Services Centre in Killarney. Instructions for the use of the PSSC’s online portal can be found on iLAB Alternatively, the PSSC Helpdesk can be contacted at 076 100 2702 or by email to helpdesk@pssc.gov.ie .

Contacting a section of Head Office, a law centre or a mediation office
On occasion, you may need to call  a specific section or office in the Legal Aid Board . The Telephone Directory application, available through the LAB Portal, allows staff to obtain individual telephone numbers for Head Office staff, as well as  Law Centres and Mediation Offices.

The Telephone Directory can also give you the telephone numbers of law centres, by clicking “By Law Centre” under View.  If you need to contact a mediation office then click under “By Family Mediation Office ”.   It also has an alphabetical list of all staff employed by the Board.

Updating the telephone directory

Staff now have access to edit their own telephone directory records.  You can also add a photograph to your telephone directory entry.

What do I do if I want to have my photo added to my Telephone Directory entry?

On a mobile phone please take a photo and text or Whatsapp to the specified phone number (available from HR). Include your name.

or Email the photo to HR.  

iPhone users are advised to email the photo.

This telephone number and email address may change from time to time. Human Resources will inform you of any changes.

By sending in your photograph you are consenting to have your photograph used on our network and any internal publication that we may produce.

What type of photo should I send?

The photo should be taken of the head and shoulders, with the head centred in the photo (similar to a passport photo)
You should look directly at the camera
The background should be plain and light coloured

Communications from Head Office to law centres

Communications from Head Office may be made by telephone or email, the LAB Portal, or iLAB.  Head Office may issue general communications to all law centres which take the following forms:-

Chief Executive’s newsletter

The Chief Executive issues a periodical newsletter to staff which is available on iLAB.

Office Notices

From time to time various Head Office sections may issue Office Notices announcing events, changes to office procedures, and other relevant information. These will normally be circulated by email and placed on iLAB.

Circulars and amendments to the Handbook

Civil Operations may from time to time issue Circulars or notices which amend the Circular on Legal Services or the Administrative Procedures Handbook to take account of new developments.  Such Circulars or notices should be inserted into the Circular or Handbook, as appropriate and supersede the original version or any previous amendments.

iLAB

iLAB is our intranet. It contains a wide range of information including Office Notes, Circulars, Department of Finance Circulars, Private Practitioner Panels, Minutes of Meetings and other documentation. A discussion forum is also available.

Minutes

Minutes of past meetings of the Board, the management advisory team, and various other committees and workgroups are available on iLAB.

Employee participation

Outside of the law centre there are a number of ways employees of the Board can become involved in the wider business of the Board as follows:-

Legal Aid Board

Two employees are appointed to the statutory Board by the Minister. They serve a five year term.

Work Groups

Special purpose Work Groups or committees are formed from time to time to assist with various projects. They are normally disbanded as soon as the project for which they were founded is finished, though some, such as the Professional Practice Work Group, are ongoing.

Vision and change initiative

Three work groups have been set up: a group to consider communications; customer service / client care; staff development and well-being, and legal services/family mediation synergies. Minutes of meetings and other news from the vision and change initiative can be found on iLAB. 

Staff publications

We have three staff publications which are published on iLAB from time to time

  • Legal Ease, our legal information bulletin
  • The Researcher, a bulletin on events in the international protection area
  • LABlite, our social newsletter

Staff are welcome to contribute to any of the publications. Contact details for the editorial teams of each publication are available by consulting the latest edition.