02 Sep 2020

FLOW: Forensics, technology and the future of legal services 11: INFORM - a COVID-19 decision support tool

With the flood of COVID-19 news threatening to overwhelm organisations, how can you synthesise public information with your own to help guide important decisions on return to work and risk profiles?

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.


The COVID-19 pandemic has really shone the spotlight on safety and it has never been more important for organisations to get that right, to be nimble and agile in their risk based decision making processes.  As restrictions ease in some areas and clamped down in others, organisations are faced with making significant decisions in a new and unknown world and in an area of increasing regulatory focus.  So some of the issues that organisations are facing from COVID-19 include things like how and when to return employees to the workplace, how to do that safely, how to manage any increased risk profile, so for example, things like a hotspot for increased COVID-19 outbreaks in any particular area.  There can be so much data publically available, it can be difficult to synthesize this together with your own privately held information to be able to assess its relevance and help you in those risk based decisions. A bespoke solution that integrates publically available data and your own private information can play a part for you in making these decisions.

The focus of inform is to take your information, understand your data, understand the decisions and the problems that you are facing as an organisation and then convert that in conjunction with our legal teams, with our expertise in solving complicated problems and turn it into actionable insights that you can use.  When building inform we focus on two main data sources.  The first being government available data, data that we can access from New South Wales Health, from Victoria Health, the various states that is down to the local area information so that we can isolate and locate where these infections are happening, where testing is being done.  To make this information useful, we overlay it with the organisation's specific data, so data from your clients, data from your customers, data from your staff, all de-identifies.  This is a support tool that helps you make decisions and helps you understand complicated data and various data sources all in one place so that you can use it for discussions and you can use it for actioning these complicated decision making processes.

Obviously this is not meant to supplant or replace your decision making process but used as one part of your risk management process which is more than just data points.  This could be a really helpful part of your residual period.