Review of Legal Services Corporation's Activities Concerning Program Evaluation and Expansion

HRD-80-103: Published: Aug 28, 1980. Publicly Released: Aug 28, 1980.

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GAO reviewed the Legal Services Corporation's activities concerning program evaluation, expansion of the availability of free legal services to the poor, and the implementation of certain provisions of the Legal Services Corporation Act of 1974, as amended.

The Corporation's evaluations of grantees' activities could be improved if they were made on a regular basis, evaluation reports were prepared in a more timely manner, and evaluations included more extensive contacts with the community served. The Corporation could better assure the best use of grantee resources, if grantees established and implemented priorities and verified client eligibility. The Corporation has improved its procedures for establishing new programs in areas not previously served. These changes have resulted in increased communications between the Corporation and interested parties, in prospective expansion areas, and fewer complaints. The Corporation should ensure that the new procedures are followed not only when it expands its programs to achieve minimum access to legal services in areas not previously served, but also when it expands or establishes additional programs to increase services in areas already being served. The Corporation should closely monitor grantees' use of funds and require that its recently established policy, which provides for limiting funds initially released to new grantees and to grantees who are expanding services until they can show a need for the total amount of the grant, be followed unless there is a demonstrated need for not doing so.

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