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Annual Report 2021 - 2022

Workforce diversity and equity

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

2022 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Recruitment Guidelines

Legal Aid NSW’s Aboriginal Employment and Career Development Strategy 2019–2023 sets a target of an 11% Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander workforce to better reflect our client base.

To help achieve this goal, in March 2022 Legal Aid NSW launched our ‘2022 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Recruitment Guidelines’, developed in consultation with our Aboriginal Services Branch. The guidelines:

  • enable directors to identify which positions to run as targeted recruitment
  • allow for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal applicants to be considered in a targeted recruitment, in accordance with the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 (NSW)
  • require that a merit-assessed Aboriginal applicant be appointed in a targeted recruitment, for reasons of cultural fit and
  • simplify and formalise the process for exemptions from the guidelines.

Targeted recruitments preferentially consider applicants who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, while identified recruitments can only be filled by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander candidates.

To assist hiring managers to implement the guidelines, we developed the Hiring Managers Guide to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Targeted Recruitment. It provides guidance for hiring managers on how to run a culturally inclusive, successful targeted or identified recruitment. The guide helps managers:

  • understand the issues and/or barriers applicants might face
  • craft an attractive position description and advertisement and target advertising to reach candidates
  • conduct a culturally safe merit assessment process that supports success and
  • address a lack of suitable candidates.

Implementation of the KPMG audit and Bevington review recommendations

A review of our payroll and recruitment functions was completed by Bevington Group in 2021, and an audit was completed by KPMG resulting in a list of over 100 recommendations. These recommendations were prioritised, grouped under key categories, and a project plan was developed. Phase 1 has been delivered this financial year.

A significant deliverable in response to the Bevington review has been the development of a single-source talent pool portal to improve candidate experience and efficiency of recruitment processes at Legal Aid NSW.

Parallel to this, Legal Aid NSW is contributing to the cluster-wide PaTH Project, which aims to deliver world class customer experience and boost productivity by harmonising essential government processes and making them easier to use, track, support and report.

Inaugural participation in the NSW Government Graduate Program

In 2021 the NSW Government Graduate Program was ranked #1 in the Top 100 Graduate Employers list. The program was also voted Australia’s most popular government and defence graduate employer for the last four years.

The NSW Public Service Commission introduced a new digital stream in 2022. Legal Aid NSW took advantage of this new graduate stream, engaging a digital graduate to contribute to the delivery of Legal Aid NSW’s ICT and Digital Strategy.

Macquarie University, TAFE NSW and Legal Aid NSW Partnership

In 2021–2022, Legal Aid NSW entered a partnership with Macquarie University and TAFE NSW to deliver a three-year program aimed at attracting and retaining Aboriginal employees. The program involves:

  • employing 200 Aboriginal people on temporary contracts in legal administration and paralegal roles within Legal Aid NSW and
  • offering TAFE qualifications in legal administration and paralegal services (Certificate III and IV in Legal Services and/or a Diploma of Paralegal Services) with a clear pathway into the Juris Doctor.

Year ahead iconThe year ahead

  • We will implement a project to strengthen our workplace culture of inclusion and diversity.
  • We will develop a strategic workforce plan that is informed by best practice and is built on the NSW Public Service Commission’s NSW Government Sector Strategic Workforce Planning Framework.
  • We will welcome our first cohort of Aboriginal students as part of a three-year program that will provide on-the-job training and a path to study a Juris Doctor.