ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE
Delivering justice to Aboriginal people throughout NSW and the ACT
Aboriginal children in out-of-home care is nine times higher than the rate for non-Aboriginal children. While the total Aboriginal population only makes up 3% of the Australian population, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up 28% of the adult-prison population. These statistics continue to impact on Aboriginal communities throughout NSW and ACT.
The alarming statistics can be significantly improved by ensuring all people are able to gain access to legal support, especially those in poor and remote communities who can easily go unnoticed.
ALS works with some of the most disadvantaged and isolated members of Australian society to provide more than just legal advice; they act as the interface between the legal system and the community, making the legal process easier to navigate and helping to build trust and confidence on all sides.
Staff at ALS can be spread across huge geographies; 250 staff are spread across more than 25 offices around New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory; meanwhile at Legal Aid Queensland, 400 staff work out of 14 offices across the state, serving an area three times the size of Texas.
Legacy IT systems compound problems of isolation; systems are usually not mobile accessible (and sometimes restricted to staff in head-office), so senior staff struggle to effectively communicate with regional workers except via email. Manual business processes sometimes mean that waiting days for the postal system is a key part of getting administrative work completed. Coupled with difficult work, poor systems and processes and physical isolation can lead regional staff to become disengaged, leading to high staff turnover.
To help address these issues, we worked with non-profit community legal services to help them plan out a series of technical activities that would transform the way they and their staff work.
While budgets and time frames were constrained, it was clear that technology would play a pivotal role in resolving this challenge by providing a platform to facilities the delivery of information and communication, on time and with accuracy.
We started by clearly defining and mapping the user journeys to ensure we were building for the needs of staff, no matter their location or role.
Within 3 months we delivered a mobile first portal capable of managing and delivering accurate information at all times.
Regional offices were able to take control of their own data, sharing critical operational information like court dates, along with success stories from their communities featuring prominent locals, lawyers and indigenous staff.
To enhance the success of this project, we continued to work closely with ALS on the adoption and roll out of the solution to all staff across urban and regional areas.
A rapid 8 week project delivered a much needed saving of AUD$250k in less than one year.
By delivering critical information to the finger tips of legal support staff, they are now better equipped to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders get the help and support they need where and when they need it most.