In this section
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START OF 2019–20 annual report
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In March 2020, we were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and our approach to responding to this was to protect the health and safety of staff, clients and stakeholders through managing work, health and safety risks and to maintain service delivery.
Following government advice, we successfully transitioned our staff to work from home. We also made changes to the way we performed our work to ensure we could continue to provide business support activities and legal services to financially disadvantaged Queenslanders.
We delivered community legal education to community workers and the public by video and online. We delivered legal information, legal advice and duty lawyer services remotely by telephone and videoconferencing, as were services to clients in prisons. Where possible, we delivered legal representation services remotely, but where social distancing and hygiene practices could be implemented, we provided face-to-face services to get instructions from clients and to provide representation in courts. During COVID-19, demand for grants of aid reduced.
Our COVID-19 pandemic response and planning for recovery were informed by identified potential risks arising from implementing and eventually relaxing social restrictions and the need to continue to provide our services in an environment where social and economic problems drive increased demand for our services. We implemented risk-based internal controls throughout our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We worked closely with the Department of Justice and Attorney-General to help ensure court facilities were COVID-19 safe when some restrictions were eased, and duty lawyers returned to most Magistrates Courts across Queensland to provide face-to-face services from mid-June 2020.