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Annual Report 2020 - 2021

Workforce diversity and equity

We aim to have a diverse workforce that reflects our diverse client base.

Women in senior leadership

We have achieved the women in senior leadership target under the NSW Premier’s Priority 14. Our senior leadership team comprises almost 80 percent women, supported by a strong pipeline of talent.

This year, our high potential staff were sponsored to participate in the Diverse Women in Law senior lawyers mentoring program.

Increasing our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce

We are committed to increasing our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce to ensure the organisation is reflective of our client base. All senior leaders have been set staff targets of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees. Recruitment rules have been introduced to increase the uptake of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talent pools and the number of targeted recruitments.

We have continued to provide early career opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people via professional legal placement positions, graduate development positions, cadetships and administration traineeships (in partnership with Aboriginal Employment Strategy), which remained filled throughout the year. We have ensured that participants have suitable supervision and are undertaking meaningful work.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff
Lawyers 28
Field officers and other staff 59
Graduates, cadets and trainees 11

Recruiting people with disability

As Legal Aid NSW has achieved the Premier’s Priority target for employment of people with disability, we have set a stretch target of 8 percent by the end of 2023. Currently 6.8 percent of Legal Aid NSW staff identify as people with disability. All senior leaders have been set staff targets for people with disability.

Revamping our diverse staff networks

This year we revamped both our Staff Disability Network and our Equity and Diversity Committee. These groups play an important role in supporting Legal Aid NSW to strive for best practice in inclusion, in both our services and workplace. They also support our leadership to be responsive to challenges or barriers in inclusion and equity that may arise for staff and clients.

With support from the Australian Network on Disability, we have taken steps to bring greater clarity to each group’s purpose and strengthen the operational model to ensure they deliver on that purpose.

Introducing our anti-racism, anti-xenophobia, and anti-bigotry plan

The Equity and Diversity Committee identified the need to take further measures toward building a culturally capable workforce and ensuring a safe workplace for all staff.
In response, we have developed a comprehensive plan to stamp out racism, xenophobia, and bigotry in the workplace.

Under the plan we will deliver a systematic and comprehensive set of initiatives which will:

  • increase cultural capability for all staff and embed best practice models of allyship
  • strengthen the reporting framework for unacceptable behaviour
  • increase the value placed on cultural capability in the recruitment and onboarding process, and
  • undertake targeted measures to support and develop diverse staff.

Growing our regional employment footprint

Legal Aid NSW developed a Regional Employment Strategy 2021–2023 which outlines how we will contribute to the growth of the NSW public sector workforce in regional areas. The strategy sets out our commitment for maintaining and growing our regional employment footprint at all levels, including senior leadership.

The Regional Employment Strategy 2021–2023 contributes to our vision to be a leader in a legal system that delivers fair outcomes for disadvantaged people across NSW. By having a workforce located in areas which best suit our service users, we are removing barriers and delivering better outcomes for people in regional locations. In turn, this builds a diverse workforce and creates more jobs in regional NSW.

Increased participation in Aboriginal staff network meetings

We have shifted Aboriginal staff network meetings online during 2020–2021, and thereby increased the number of staff who were able to participate.

In November 2020, we engaged career coach Jacquie Hoyes to deliver a two-hour online career development workshop covering topics like applying for roles in the public sector, structured interview techniques, and managing individual brands in terms of career planning.

In May 2021, we held online training in crisis response skills which workers can integrate into a continuum of care for Aboriginal family groups and individuals.

Increase in staff engagement for annual cultural events

Transitioning our events online has provided an opportunity for more staff, particularly those in regional offices, to participate in significant events on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander calendar, such as National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week.

Joining the ACON Welcome Here program

Legal Aid NSW joined the Aids Council of NSW (ACON) Welcome Here program, with all offices participating. Welcome Here supports businesses and services throughout Australia to create and promote environments that are visibly welcoming and inclusive of sexually and gender diverse communities.

Year ahead iconThe year ahead

  • We aim to lift the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in our organisation to 11 percent.
  • We aim to lift the proportion of employees identified as having disability to eight percent.
  • We will grow our regional workforce from 186 employees to at least 200 employees by 2023.