Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, the annual report says that there are currently 908 people that the board is managing the financial affairs for in the year of 2020 21, and there have been 53.09 full time equivalent staff. I'm reading now from a question from the Community Legal Centres about the resourcing, the staffing, in order to undertake this work. That number of 53 FTE staff is actually less than it was in 2014 15, yet the number of people who are being serviced has increased to 908 from a number that was between 559 and 889 over a previous period. There has been a dramatic increase in people whose wills are being serviced, and given all of the extra changes, what are you putting in place to make sure that people are able to have their -
Ms ARCHER - You mentioned wills being serviced. It's really important to point out that there are quite distinct and separate functions of the Public Trustee, and there's quite often some confusion around the service they provide in relation to will drafting and estates, and then administering and representing people with their financial affairs. They are quite separate and distinct.
Dr WOODRUFF - You are correct. What I meant to say was financial affairs.
Ms ARCHER - I thought you did. I might get Mr Kennedy to explain. There can be natural fluctuations in staff as well, but there is a recognition that in dealing with clients there needs to be a reduction in caseload so there can be an increase in interaction with client, and I mentioned the figure. It's quite a dramatic shift, but we've provided the funding to help increase the staff load with the recruitment drive that's currently going on. It's an opportunity for the Public Trustee as well. I think members can recognise the cultural change that's required, so bringing in new staff can help with changing that culture that the Public Trustee has recognised needs to occur as well. In relation to the number of staff, I'll get Mr Kennedy to address that.
Mr KENNEDY - Just to reiterate, there's absolutely a recognition that resourcing is the key here. In the new year - we've already started preparing - there's a big recruitment drive to bring on, in addition to the staff we have been bringing on in the last few months, another 10 client account managers, as well as team leaders around the state.
Dr WOODRUFF - An additional 10?
Mr KENNEDY - Yes.
Ms ARCHER - Mr Kennedy has mentioned around the state that there's that increased recognition of providing more services state wide.
Mr KENNEDY - During COVID-19 and also during the review our clients told us loud and clear that they still value that personal face-to-face interaction. We have two staff now in Devonport and two in Launceston for our clients located in that area. That is only the start of it. These additional 10 and two team leaders will be in Devonport on the north west coast and Launceston as well as Hobart. That is a shift from what we've done in the past. It's what we need as far as providing that face-to-face service as opposed to over the phone or email.