knowmore COVID19 update video with Amanda Whelan transcript

Hi, everyone. It’s been about six months now since the pandemic started and we thought now was a good time to give you a bit of an update on how things are going here at knowmore. As everyone would know, all of us as community members and as workers have been impacted in some way by COVID-19.

I’m pleased to say that, overwhelmingly, when we talk to the many clients that we support, every one of you has continued to also stay safe and well and so have our staff. In the last six months, we have had to vary how we work with you. That’s meant that most of our services have been provided over the phone, and we had to move most of our staff out to work-from-home arrangements.

What I’m pleased to say is that in a couple of the locations where it’s now safe to do so, that’s Western Australia and Queensland, we’re now able to start offering face-to-face appointments again, and most of our staff are working back regularly in those offices. We’re also really pleased to say in those locations, that we are now going to start doing some outreach planning, which means hopefully we can get out and about into the community and see people in regional, rural and remote areas as well and start offering face-to-face services where it’s safe to do so.

We’ve had to also respond around government guidelines for some of our other office locations and as people would probably expect, that means currently at the moment, the Melbourne office has to be closed. So all staff there are working from home. And all of the usual office functions out of the Melbourne office are being provided by our other locations. And our Sydney office, we have a small team that still attend the office but unfortunately because of government guidelines we’re not able to provide face to face services at this time. And so we are providing phone-based services out of Sydney. With the border controls, that does limit a little bit of some of our travel capacity between locations, but we’re really committed to moving out and about as much as we possibly can and outreach when it’s safe to do so.

There are some other changes that we made to how we provide our services. So as well as being all having to be over the phone, we also made some changes to how we provide our advice to clients. And that’s meant that people have been able to get their advice a lot faster since the pandemic started, and we’re really pleased with that. And that seems to be working well. So anyone that’s thinking about talking to knowmore for the first time, we’re really pleased to be able to offer you a much quicker initial advice appointment.

We’re also really pleased that we’re seeing lots of clients now that are getting their offers through from the Scheme. And we’ve been working hard with our teams to support people while they consider their offers as well. The other piece of work that’s been really important that’s continued to run alongside all of our regular work has been our law reform and advocacy work. And we’re working really hard at the moment to participate and put a voice forward around the two-year review for the National Redress Scheme.

As we’ve all experienced as a community, the pandemic can and does change pretty quickly. And that’s meant that as a service, we’ve had to also respond quickly as a result. So this update now we also acknowledge things may move yet again. If that’s the case, we will let you know. But for now, this is where things are up to for us. We really want for you all to also continue to stay safe and well – that’s of critical importance to us. If you are someone that’s going to come and access face-to-face services, you can expect to get asked screening questions. You can also expect in return that our staff will have to answer those same questions to guarantee your safety.

Until we can all work as we would like to do again with you in all ways face-to-face and out in community, and wherever you are at the moment, we wanted to say please continue to stay safe and well. If you have any concerns at all about the services that you would like knowmore to provide or that we’re currently providing to you please just get in contact with us via our phone numbers. Thank you.