More standards for PLE

May 28, 2007

The lists of standards for PLE and best practices for PLE websites have quickly become some of the most popular content on this blog. Regardless whether that’s because they are helpful or because they’re controversial, I obviously should post some more.

Here are some PLE-related guidelines from the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in the States. The LSC is the quasi-federal, major funder of civil legal aid in the U.S. Since the 1990s, LSC has released “performance criteria” for its grantees. Here’s some of what the 2007 edition of the Performance Criteria [397 KB PDF] has to say about PLE activities:

    • The organization compiles and uses materials that others have already produced.
    • It selects a clearly defined audience for PLE activity, and one that is consistent with program goals and desired outcomes.
    • It uses the most appropriate delivery methods for the subject matter, the audience, and available resources.
    • It communicates in understandable ways that are culturally and linguistically relevant the the audience.
    • It periodically evaluates its PLE activities and compares the costs for the results with the costs of other ways of getting the same results.
    • It tries to assess actual outcomes.
    • Are your PLE activity’s objectives clear and reasonable?
    • Is the program creative in its use of print, audiovisual media, or other available technology?
    • Did you consider the target audience when you selected your delivery methods?
    • Are you evaluating the program with regard to its costs?
    • Do you collaborate with other providers and social services agencies for writing and distribution of PLE?

These LSC criteria were drafted with an eye towards the ABA’s Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid, which I summarized a couple weeks ago. Are these criteria more or less helpful than those standards? Do either of them have relevance to Canadian sole-purpose PLE providers?

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