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Annual Report 2019 - 2020

An efficient and capable Legal Aid NSW

Designing an office in Tamworth that fits the needs of our staff and clients

A new Tamworth Legal Aid NSW office was the first to be built using the Legal Aid NSW Design Principles and Guidelines. The design guidelines are based on the particular needs of our staff and clients and were developed by researchers at Designing Out Crime, based at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).

Central to the design guidelines is the understanding that our clients arrive at our offices at stressful times of their lives and the physical environment plays an important role in allowing them to tell their stories in a welcoming and safe place. We have therefore included approachable waiting areas with chilled drinking water and natural light. Also included in the design was a dedicated staff lunchroom, a prominent Acknowledgement of Country plaque, and a focus on reuse principles.

A client-centred reception area in Sydney

We used client-centred design principles and COVID-19 safety precautions to redesign our Central Sydney office reception area in June 2020. The refurbished area incorporates recommendations about the use of non-governmental design features to provide a welcoming space for our clients.

Expanding Legal Aid NSW offices to meet the needs of staff and clients

To accommodate our expanding regional and metropolitan workforce, we secured additional office space at Gosford, Liverpool, Tamworth and Wollongong.

We also completed upgrades and works at our offices in Campbelltown, Coffs Harbour, Fairfield, Lismore and Wollongong, to ensure that they are fit for purpose and continue to meet the needs of our staff and clients.

Reviewing our corporate services

We implemented monthly surveys to capture staff experiences with corporate services including Facilities, Finance and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

Corporate service units used the feedback to identify areas for improvement and to implement service changes such as updated information on the intranet about corporate services, proactively managing facilities and ICT issues, and replacing our legacy VPN provider.

Business partner project

Legal Aid NSW’s Corporate Services Executive Sub-Committee led the business partners project which focused on developing a consistent framework across corporate services for our business partners. The framework aims to ensure Legal Aid NSW’s business partners are engaging with staff in a way that supports them to do their job successfully.

The project involved extensive consultation with all business partners and large numbers of staff across metro and regional offices.

Year ahead iconThe year ahead

  • We will continue to arrange for Acknowledgement of Country plaques to be prominently displayed in reception areas at all offices.
  • We will continue to implement people-centred design principles in the new office fitouts.
  • We will offer increased research support and legal research training to panel lawyers.
  • We will continue to work on creating new organisational reports and dashboards.