Go to content

Annual Report 2018 - 2019

Information technology

Information technology played a key role in helping us deliver legal services more effectively.

We completed our planned migration to infrastructure as a service this year, ending our reliance on traditional onpremise server storage infrastructure. We also progressed or completed major information technology initiatives including the rollout of our Client and Case Management System and the transition to a new payroll and human resources system.

OBJECTIVE: Meeting clients' needs

Digital tools helped our clients engage with us

We made new digital tools available to allow clients and private lawyers to lodge and track applications more easily and provide feedback and complaints in a more streamlined way.

We developed an online Grants Tracker to allow clients to track the status of their grant applications. Just as they can track pizza deliveries and parcels arriving through the post, our clients told us they wanted to be able to see the status of their applications for legal aid in real time. The Grants Tracker tracks a client’s application from the time the application is submitted to when a decision is first made. Our aim is to improve our clients’ experience of the grant application process and reduce client uncertainty. We launched a pilot of the Grants Tracker in June 2019.

Following a successful trial, we configured and installed client kiosks in reception areas, providing clients with access to the internet and online learning resources and tools to extend and fast-track service provision.

We also continued to improve our audio-visual link facilities to improve timely access to quality legal services for clients in custody.

A new way to track appointments

We implemented a new client appointment booking system that allows our staff to quickly and easily view a client’s history of appointments, determine the next available date for an appointment, and access reports on current and average waiting times. It also enables us to send automated appointment confirmation and reminders to clients by text message or email, where appropriate. Not only does this reduce the time our staff spend manually sending communications to clients, it also supports our clients to prepare for their legal appointments and reduces uncertainty.

OBJECTIVE: A highly capable workforce

Supporting our mobile workforce

Equipping our staff to work at court and in the community is a focus:

  • Many staff are using Cisco Jabber softphone technology, allowing them to take their telephone extension wherever they are working.
  • We installed wireless networking equipment in our facilities at courts around NSW, enabling staff who work at these facilities to securely access the Legal Aid NSW network and resources.
  • We installed desktop equipment to extend mobile device connectivity for staff at court.
  • We began rolling out the Microsoft Office 365 suite of software, which will provide new opportunities for collaboration between our staff, and between Legal Aid NSW and other organisations.

OBJECTIVE: Responsive business processes

Putting clients at the centre of our Client and Case Management System

We changed the way we manage and record our information about clients, their legal problems and our services.

Our new Client and Case Management System (CCMS) was developed to replace our existing case management system, known as CASES. The new CCMS is a modern, client-centred platform that allows more efficient:

  • client information management
  • matter and service management
  • document management, and
  • office management.

Importantly, the CCMS helps staff identify client needs more easily, by recording important client information in a single location – such as whether a client requires an interpreter, or needs to be contacted in a certain way for safety reasons.

"Our new Client and Case Management System will support our staff to work in entirely new ways, and it will grow with our organisation."

The CCMS will allow staff to work in new ways, with the ability to send emails, text messages and appointment reminders to clients directly from the system, and to easily refer clients between different services within Legal Aid NSW. It will also help us better capture the services we provide to meet clients’ non-legal needs in addition to their legal needs.

In February 2019 we implemented the first phase of the CCMS rollout, making it the single source of truth for all client information. Staff can search, create and manage client information, record information services, and view important information about a client at a glance. The first phase of the rollout was recognised in the business improvement category at the Pega Client Excellence Awards in 2019.

We expect to implement the second phase of the CCMS rollout in late 2019. The CCMS will continue to expand and improve over time.

More efficient human resources processes

We transitioned to a cloud-based payroll and human resources system, SAP HR. SAP HR automates many human resources processes and allows more streamlined processes for on-boarding and managing staff. It offers a single portal for staff to manage personal data, and for managers to view and make changes to team and organisation structures. It also means fewer paper forms, supporting our goal to reduce paper use across our organisation. To prepare staff for the transition to SAP HR, we conducted online and face-to-face training. Super-users were selected across the organisation to receive more intensive training, so that they could provide ongoing peer support.

We also undertook initial business analysis to identify ways to use information technology solutions to improve and streamline our payroll and recruitment processes further.

Designing a modern intranet

We are designing a contemporary and fit-for-purpose intranet that will make it easier for staff to find the information they need to perform their roles. Our new intranet will offer a rich internal communication channel and will enable better collaboration and knowledge-sharing across Legal Aid NSW. This year we completed market research and selected a vendor.

Year ahead iconThe year ahead

  • We will continue to implement our Client and Case Management System and deliver system improvements in response to emerging business needs.
  • We will develop a new intranet design.
  • We will complete the rollout of Microsoft Office 365 to support our staff to work wherever they are.
  • We will invest in tools that enable more collaboration within our organisation and with our partners.
  • We will begin implementing robotic process automation to improve business efficiency.
  • We will pilot the use of speech-to-text technology for legal and administrative staff.