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Iowa Legal Aid Advisory Councils


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Iowa Legal Aid Advisory Councils

  1. 1. Advisory Councils
  2. 2. Each regional office of Iowa Legal Aid is required to have a local Advisory Council Whether a special project will have an Advisory Council is usually determined by the proposal to and contract with the funding source Advisory councils play a critical role in the delivery of services by a regional office or an Iowa Legal Aid special project
  3. 3. Iowa Legal Aid’s Bylaws provide the structure for Advisory Councils and set forth their specific powers and duties
  4. 4. Recommend policies, in close consultation with the staff of its service area program, concerning the functioning of Iowa Legal Aid in that service area, with particular regard to eligibility standards, priorities for problems to be solved and methods of securing clients
  5. 5. Participate in statewide priority setting procedures Make appropriate recommendations for policy changes to the Iowa Legal Aid Board of Directors
  6. 6. Assist staff in informing prospective clients of Iowa Legal Aid’s services Assist staff in securing volunteer personnel, both legal and non-legal, to assist and supplement the efforts of the staff
  7. 7. Evaluate the operations of Iowa Legal Aid in the service area of the regional office Approve applications for local (service area) funding and offer advice regarding the expenditure of special project funds generated on the local level
  8. 8. Provide appropriate support and assistance to obtain state, local and other public and private funding
  9. 9. Select client representatives to serve on Iowa Legal Aid’s Board of Directors Perform such duties as are assigned to the Advisory Council by the Board
  10. 10. Advisory councils are to adopt bylaws governing their own structure and composition LSC regulations regarding membership on recipients’ Boards of Directors are not applicable to local Advisory Councils
  11. 11. Advisory councils can be composed of attorneys and clients, as well as agency representatives, donors, funders or others. Membership should be reflective of the client population and Iowa Legal Aid equal opportunity guidelines
  12. 12. Membership should be sufficiently large to be representative of the service area in the community in which the office operates Membership should be small enough to ensure that the Advisory Council can effectively function and each representative can be made to feel a part of the group
  13. 13. The Advisory Council Bylaws should address the officers, any standing committees, and the issue of quorum The Advisory Council Bylaws may also limit terms of service on the council
  14. 14. The requirements for meeting can be decided by the local Advisory Council, although meetings on a quarterly basis are encouraged
  15. 15. Some Advisory Councils meet by telephone conference call, or allow those who are at some distance from the regional office to participate by telephone At least one in-person meeting per year is encouraged to facilitate interaction among members
  16. 16. The local Advisory Council is the best barometer for how the regional office is being perceived in the community
  17. 17. The Advisory Council should assist in educating the general community about the services available through the regional office as well as the role that access to the court system for vulnerable Iowans plays in addressing community concerns and priorities.
  18. 18. The Advisory Council can be instrumental in promoting the Volunteer Lawyers Project.Through the efforts of Advisory Council members, additional attorneys can be recruited and input received from the local bar about the perception of referrals made through the Volunteer Lawyers Project.
  19. 19. Advisory council members can be extremely helpful in setting up community legal education presentations and spreading the word about these events
  20. 20.  Iowa Legal Aid’s Board of Directors has delegated to local Advisory Councils the authority and responsibility for approving applications for funding that are to be used in that regional office service area  In administering local funds, the Advisory Council has additional responsibility to ensure that the requirements of local funding sources are met
  21. 21. Local Advisory Councils are important to Iowa Legal Aid’s annual Campaign for Equal Justice Advisory Councils may be asked to make contacts with prospective major donors, lapsed donors, or in other ways assist the Iowa Legal Aid Foundation with fundraising efforts that it is undertaking
  22. 22. Advisory Councils are to make contacts with elected officials, seeking support for Iowa Legal Aid’s work at both the state and local levels LSC restrictions prohibit use of program resources for grassroots lobbying Activities of volunteers, including Advisory Council members, are not restricted by LSC so long as program resources are not used
  23. 23. The demonstration that the regional office has volunteer and public support in the community can be vital to a successful budget presentation before the United Way or another funding source
  24. 24. The Board and Advisory Council Resource Center is a website that contains training resources and information pertinent to the duties and responsibilities of Iowa Legal Aid’s Board of Directors and local Advisory Councils - All Advisory Council members should be enrolled to have access to the website which is password protected
  25. 25. The Iowa Legal Aid Advisory Council fulfills a vital function in the operations of the regional office and an active and engaged Advisory Council is crucial to the office’s success