Innovative community Justice

An exciting strategy for Victoria’s Neighbourhood Justice Centre.

An exciting strategy for Victoria’s Neighbourhood Justice Centre

Together for good – the client challenge

Serving the City of Yarra, Victoria’s Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC) is Australia’s first community justice centre, a ‘one-stop-shop’ comprising a court, a range of support services, and specialist teams focused on crime prevention, innovation and education.

With 19 agencies working together on site, doing Justice locally is key to NJC’s innovative community justice model. The NJC is making great strides in strengthening community life, especially in places with high levels of crime and disadvantage.

The Victorian Justice system is undergoing significant change. Increasing demand and complexity, significant system-wide reforms, digital disruption and shifting community needs are all affecting the way justice services are designed and delivered.

NJC engaged Cube Group to work with them to navigate these external drivers and develop a strategic plan that positioned the organisation to continue delivering outstanding justice outcomes at the individual, community and systems level.

Bringing the right thinking and people to the table

Cube and the NJC designed a strategic planning process that reflected the NJC’s inclusive culture and place-based focus. A broad range of engagement channels were utilised to ensure we captured the diverse voices of clients and local communities, the NJC team, organisations partners and ecosystem stakeholders. They included surveys, small group meetings and focus groups, panel discussions and facilitated all-staff workshops.

Cube and the NJC established a Project Control Group (PCG) comprising members of the NJC leadership team, the Department of Justice and Community Safety, Victoria’s Magistrates Court and selected ‘critical friends.’

At every stage of our engagement process, we encouraged participants to be bold and think creatively about NJC’s future, reflecting the innovative spirit and ground-breaking operating model of the organisation.

We also looked abroad at community justice models and empirical research, integrating contemporary international thinking and evidence into our process.

“The NJC is changing the way we think about social justice and making a positive difference for local communities.”
Ben Schramm
Managing Partner, Cube Group
The positive change we delivered

This work came together into a 5-year strategic plan for NJC that established an exciting future direction for the organisation. The NJC strategic plan builds on impressive organisational foundations, articulates the organisation’s role in Victoria’s broader justice system, and outlines a future that communities, partners and ecosystem stakeholders can all see themselves as part of. It tells an engaging story with vibrant local imagery and connects ambitious goals with pragmatic, tangible action.

The document is available at:

Insights for inquisitive minds
  • Leading-edge organisations such as NJC need to channel their spirit of innovation into their strategic planning process, giving participants permission to think differently and challenge ‘how things have always been done’

  • When designing strategy for a place-based organisation, engage at place. Conduct sessions in the local community, be visible on-site and get to know the local area.

  • When setting bold strategy, bring authorisers on the journey with you, and make compelling linkages to the policy settings of the sector.