By Frank Cupido – Lead Consultant
Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA) is a non-profit organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income and otherwise eligible residents of Broward County, Florida. Its mission is to improve the lives of low-income persons in the South Florida community through advocacy, education, representation, and empowerment. CCLA provides legal assistance in family law, senior law and economic advocacy.
CCLA’s main funder- Legal Services Corporation in Washington, DC- had requested them to engage a consulting firm to analyze their cost allocations, and to make sure the organization was not over-paying for contracted services as well as ensure they were receiving the services they were paying for. CCLA issued an RFP and selected ESC-FL to assess and make recommendations about the organization’s administrative services contract with their sister organization, Legal Aid Services of Broward County (LASBC), to review CCLA’s management structure and to make recommendations for improved financial and administrative practices.
ESC-FL assembled a team of four consultants with differing areas of expertise to execute this project. The project team developed a plan that involved 4 major activities:
- In-depth interviews with key CCLA stakeholders including its management, staff, board members, and executive staff at LASBC, the provider of administrative services.
- Detailed analysis of the key CCLA accounting and administrative processes.
- Review of the CCLA management structure and its existing staffing.
- Review of the CCLA and LASBC administrative services contract.
The project was kicked off in February 2023 and ESC-Fl delivered its final report in both a presentation to the CCLA Board and a written report in early June. The stakeholder reviews strongly indicated that CCLA’s current arrangement with LASBC providing accounting and other administrative services was not meeting CCLA’s needs.
A heat map summary was prepared after our process analysis that indicated which processes were working well and which accounting and other administrative processes needed to be improved, along with recommendations for improvement.
Based upon the organizational analysis along with important inputs from board members regarding future growth and strategy for CCLA, a series of recommendations were made involving increased use of outsourced services along with organization and staffing changes.
ESC-FL’s review of the existing CCLA and LASBC administrative services contract indicated that its current commercial basis was cumbersome and led to billing issues that were raised by Legal Services Corporation, CCLA’s funder. A new commercial structure was recommended that would simplify and improve the working relationships between LASBC and CCLA.
CCLA was obligated to submit Executive Service Corps- Florida’s final report to the LSC in Washington, DC upon its completion and approval by the CCLA Board. The Board approved our final report’s recommendations, which were then sent to Legal Services Corporation. The CCLA Board started to implement ESC-FL’s recommendations beginning in July 2023.
ESC-FL Project Team:
- Kathy Octavio – Consultant, ESC-FL Board Member
- Mark Gorman – Consultant, ESC-FL Board Member
- Lisa Nardo – Consultant
- Frank Cupido – Lead Consultant