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Scottish Legal Aid Board

Scottish Legal Aid Board

To fund and deliver services that enable people to enforce and protect their rights

What does SLAB do?

The main focus of the work involves: 

Scottish Legal Aid Board

Vision and Values

Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) is at an exciting stage in its three-year strategic plan. The vision for this current strategy is: 
That the people of Scotland are confident that we provide fair and transparent access to funding for services that support the exercise and protection of their rights. 
To achieve this, SLAB sees its mission as being:
To fund and deliver services that enable people to enforce and protect their rights, defend themselves and manage their personal affairs and relationships.
SLAB has worked hard with its staff to develop a set of values that provides the blueprint needed to deliver real meaningful results. These include:

  • Transparency: this means we are clear about rules and criteria that apply to any work we do and take responsibility for making sure it is understandable.

  • Impartiality: this means that in all our work we focus on objective criteria and avoid conscious or unconscious bias.

  • Trust/Respect: this means that we value working with others, and act with honesty and integrity on the basis that others do too unless there is evidence to the contrary.

  • Accountability: this means that we can demonstrate that we work within our stated policies and procedures and apply them accurately and consistently.

  • Proportionality: this means that we are mindful of the impact on ourselves and others of what we do and how we do it and strive to find the balance between efficiency, accessibility, and effective management of risk.

  • Responsiveness: this means that – as a learning organisation – we reflect on how our work affects others, encourage the identification of opportunities for change and innovate using established design principles that embody our values.


Strategic Plan - Developing The Team

The 2020 - 2023 strategic plan sets out to achieve three core objectives:

  • Objective 1

    Deliver a high-quality user-focused service.

  • Objective 2

    Embed ways of working across the organisation that enhance the quality, consistency and transparency of its decisions and delivery. 

  • Objective 3

    Engage with users and delivery partners across the legal aid and justice system to inform the good design of its system and services.

Developing Internal Excellence

A significant part of the strategy centres around developing SLAB’s team with a real focus on internal excellence. 

  • In SLAB’s previous Corporate Plan it set a fresh mission to transform how to deliver its functions and embarked on an important programme to strengthen decision making systems and processes. The aim was to make it easier to carry out its role, easier for solicitors to work with SLAB, and easier for the public to understand what they can expect from legal aid and navigate the process. SLAB has made good progress.

Operational performance

  • The way SLAB measures and publish information on operational performance has changed beyond recognition. This has been pivotal to its transformation work. SLAB has moved the focus of its performance in the processing of applications and accounts away from the range of things that it is easier for SLAB to control to measure the time taken for the whole process as experienced by applicants and solicitors.


  • SLAB has also changed its approach to the way it manages risks, an important part of which has been to articulate what risks it is prepared to take and those which it is not. This has enabled a better focus on outcomes rather than processes and encouraged a more innovative approach to service delivery. Most recently, this new approach assisted SLAB as it managed and responded to Covid-19.

Change programme

  • SLAB has developed and is now well underway with, a major multi-year change programme, the Guidance on the Administration of Legal Assistance (GALA) programme, which aims to improve the internal decision-making framework, helping ensure the consistency and transparency of decision making in applications for legal aid funding and payment of accounts.

  • SLAB has developed a policy framework as the central organising structure for future decision making which aims to review around 160 separate types of decisions. 

  • By improving the clarity of decision making, SLAB will aim to improve the visibility and accountability of its actions.