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Common law research project

WorkCover Queensland and the University of Queensland worked together on a project with the aim of understanding peoples’ experiences of the common law process. This was done in order to figure out how we could improve those experiences in the future.

The project helped us identify the information our customers need and value. It showed that finding the right information is especially important before making a claim or when having a claim served on them. They want to know about the common law journey— the process, their rights, and the potential outcomes, as well as returning to work.

We looked into recent Australian research that explored the experience of people undergoing a compensation claim process. People's experiences varied drastically. The research also told us that customers want information presented in a way that's both helpful and empowering.

WorkCover Queensland has a vision to make a positive difference to people’s lives, and wants to improve our customers’ experience for both workers and employers. We are committed to helping workers achieve their return to work goals during a common law claim through new and innovative ways. As such, helping customers understand the common law process, as well as designing and delivering a program that puts the worker at the centre, and is tailored to suit their needs and that goes beyond legislative compliance, are two such opportunities available to us to better meet the needs of our customers.

Helping customers understand common law

From the insights gathered during the research phase, it was found that providing a more in-depth outline of our role within our customers’ ecosystem and improving the availability and consistency of the information we give our customers were points of interest. It should be noted, however, that the information we seek to provide is not legal advice. By being more transparent with our customers we are also equipping our staff with more resources, which will ensure that the reliability of the information they provide will increase.

Design approach and outcomes

A central philosophy of people-centred design was taken to better outline and understand our customers’ experience, needs and values.

WorkCover Queensland engaged with a number of initial stakeholders to discuss this project. Two rounds of workshops were held with our stakeholders (i.e. employers, unions, a single worker, plaintiff lawyers, and panel lawyers), with the first workshop geared towards outlining the ecosystem and the experiences within it. Further research was then conducted into the needs highlighted in the experience design project, including more worker and employer interviews on a one-on-one basis.

The findings reinforced the notion that making better resources available would assist customers in asking more informative questions of their lawyers, associations or unions—while not making these roles seem negligible. It was found that this improvement in information quality would not discourage customers from pursuing common law claims, but rather prepare them more, by reminding them of their rights and allowing them to be confident in their decision.

The next stage in our approach to designing a way to help customers understand common law was a workshop where key groups of the ecosystem were brought together to help define the current problems and challenges, as well as clarify the roles of everyone and what information should be provided by who and when.

Next steps

The understanding of who and when information to be provided lead us to developing a concept of providing information via video. Breaking key pieces of information down into small, consumable videos for customers that are accessible to all and located on our website.

We have developed two videos to test and measure the useability of the content. These will be released on our website in the near future. Ongoing development of further content will be considered in tandem with future initiatives.