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Annual Report 2017 - 2018

Learning and development

Fact file
2810 people registered for Legal Aid NSW conferences and seminars
2270 attendances at Legal Aid NSW courses and workshops
98 distinct courses and workshops conducted for staff
3092 online learning activities undertaken

OBJECTIVE Supporting our people

Developing the knowledge and skills of our leaders and employees

The LEAD program provides a supportive environment for new and established managers to discuss and draw practical learning from theory, research and case studies, to better inform their practise and improve service delivery.

The LEAD program follows on from the highly successful New Leaders Program (NLP). During 2017, 19 employees undertook the nine month NLP program, which was designed to integrate management theory with real life Legal Aid case studies. In April 2108, 13 employees came together to celebrate their successful completion of the New Leaders Program (NLP).

Pilot of New Lawyer Induction Program

In May 2018, five new Legal Aid NSW lawyers participated in the pilot of the New Lawyer Induction Program (NLIP). The aim of the program is to develop client-centred lawyers who can identify legal problems across different jurisdictions and work to resolve these issues through a range of approaches. The program runs over two days and covers civil, family, criminal and domestic violence law. This training will now be conducted at regular intervals throughout the year for all new Legal Aid NSW.

Pilot of Solicitor in Charge Orientation

In recognition of the important role the Solicitor in Charge (SIC) has in leading an office, an SIC orientation was piloted to seven participants in April/May 2018. Following positive feedback and evaluation, the orientation will be extended to include new Legal Aid NSW managers from July 2018.

Evolving Individual Planning as part of continuous improvement

As part of our ongoing maturation of the Individual Planning (IP) process, a half day workshop titled Meaningful Conversations was developed to support managers in preparing for the conversations related to the Mid-Cycle Review. Across ten sessions, 105 managers were given an opportunity to examine their own reactions under stress and learn practical techniques to support them to better hold meaningful conversations about; performance, recognition, work-life integration and the support we all need to do our job well.

Initiatives to support the health and wellbeing of managers and staff

Maintaining the health and wellbeing of managers and staff remained a key focus and builds on the recognition that our work can often be demanding and stressful. Staff received training Building Resilience, Reasonable Adjustment and Trauma-Informed Practice. Feedback was universally positive around all these courses.

A pilot session of Managing Vicarious Trauma (VT) training in November 2017, was fully subscribed and highlighted that staff acknowledge they must be equipped with strategies that can help them prevent and manage VT. In the year ahead, monitoring and managing VT is a pillar of our Being Well campaign.

Legal Aid NSW is a signatory to the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation Guidelines, which are a set of 13 workplace factors that can influence psychological health. An audit was conducted in 2017, which included a review of our current policies and processes against best practice as identified in the Guidelines. As a result of the audit, the Executive determined the psychological protection and recognition reward would take priority. Psychological protection is being worked on as part of a wider strategic approach in 2018/19 to create a mentally healthy workplace.

The Wellbeing Project Officer also began visiting regional offices to discuss aspects of a healthy lifestyle, including nutrition, exercise and other wellbeing topics. These visits will continue across the organisation in 2018.

Overcoming barriers to mental illness

Training for the highly anticipated Overcoming the Barriers Mental Health Project occurred from October 2017 and continues with 863 internal and external practitioners having attended. Overcoming the Barriers is a half-day course for all frontline staff to improve client service to people living with mental illness and to reduce the barriers encountered when these clients access our services. The training uses short films and practical exercises. A Guide to Best Practice is provided to participants, providing strategies for engaging effectively with clients living with mental illness. The training package and associated resources were developed in collaboration with peak bodies such as Flourish Australia and One Door Mental Health.

OBJECTIVE Excellence in legal services

Training for frontline staff with client journey mapping

A client journey map is a visual representation of a series of interactions that a client has with an organisation. The map identifies the client’s feelings, touchpoints the client has with the organisation (e.g. front desk, phone call, face to face interview) and the pain points that the client experiences at each of these touchpoints.

We conducted workshops on client journey mapping between June and December 2017 with teams from across practice areas, servicing clients in regional, rural and metropolitan areas. The workshops enabled staff to:

  • understand how clients with complex needs experience our services
  • identify practical ways to improve how we provide services to these clients.

In early 2018 we conducted a client journey mapping workshop for staff across corporate services to facilitate thinking about how to integrate processes and provide a seamless service to internal staff/clients.

calendar iconThe year ahead

  • Launch the Being Well campaign that includes, vicarious trauma and mental health essentials initiatives.
  • Support the implementation of the If Not, Why Not? flexibility campaign.