How Cowell Clarke automated compliance training with Josef

What is modern slavery, what should businesses look for, and how do you report it?

After the introduction of a new modern slavery regime in Australia in the last few years, commercial law firm Cowell Clarke developed an end-to-end solution encompassing various compliance frameworks to support their clients in tackling this important issue.

An important factor for any company seeking genuine compliance with the modern slavery regime is undertaking operational and supply chain training.

But when a business is developing a training program that will provide this solution, how does it build and distribute a product that is interactive, engaging and trackable?

Cowell Clarke, which specialises in valuing and managing risk across different business sectors in Australia, found a way to give their clients world-class, bespoke and interactive training with Josef.

Problem

By law, organisations and entities that have a presence in Australia and generate over $100 million in consolidated revenue must lodge an annual modern slavery statement.

And while many entities don’t necessarily generate this amount of revenue, they are still commonly a part of a bigger supply chain and therefore are required to understand the Modern Slavery Act.

Cowell Clarke is committed to ensuring clients are aware of serious exploitation and human rights abuses. Before Josef, the firm provided training programs via PowerPoint presentations that were sent to clients and relevant stakeholders to circulate themselves.

But training via PowerPoint presentations presented several problems. The onus was on clients to ensure it was disseminated to relevant staff and/or suppliers but also read. While for Cowell Clarke, they couldn’t effectively track which clients they had sent the presentations to had actually completed the training.

At a glance

  • 300 people

    trained

  • 7 bespoke bots

    for different clients

  • 8 minute

    average completion time

Solution

The Cowell Clarke team decided to say goodbye to PowerPoint presentations and automate modern slavery compliance training with Josef, which launched earlier this year. They built a suite of bots for different clients, including suppliers and employers, across different sectors, from aged care, manufacturing, apparel, infrastructure to food. 

Once users have interacted with the bot to understand the legislation and underlying principles, Cowell Clarke asks them a series of dynamic questions.

The training is streamlined because it is tailored to each individual user.

“A really nice feature is if someone answers that they’re at the management level, then they get additional questions that are more important to where they stand in the business,” said lawyer Steven Slimming, who works with the firm’s Corporate & Commercial and Financial Services team.

Josef has allowed the Cowell Clarke team to track and verify who has completed the training and while also assessing and evaluating each person’s answers.

“If there are common areas of misunderstanding where people are not picking up on the training as we’d like, then we also know where we need to improve,” said Steven.

“It can highlight how good their understanding is, or whether they may need further training down the line.”

With Josef, the Cowell Clarke team is also able to easily make amendments to the training bot so it remains fresh and current.

Results

Interactive training

The key benefit for Cowell Clarke is that they have been able to package a topic as complex as modern slavery into an interactive training chatbot. The bots have trained 300 people, and the feedback from clients has been overwhelmingly positive.

“It breaks down what can be a complex topic into something that a huge amount of people can understand,” said Special Counsel Emma Peters.

“We’ve given our clients a service they were probably not expecting from a commercial law firm to help them solve a problem in a way they hadn’t really thought of before. It’s a lot more interactive, user friendly, and people are engaging with it a lot more.”

Easy data analysis

Additionally, clients are satisfied with how smoothly the training runs. It’s also removed their burden of not being able to efficiently track staff engagement and completion.

“When our clients are trying to issue training to 20 of their employees, they don’t have to worry about who has done what already. We can issue a report – it takes 30 seconds – and send it to them,” said Steven.

The firm can also formally document the training – depending on the clients’ needs – and issue certification. For example, once an employee has completed the training a document is generated and sent to them to prove completion.

Levelling up internal workflows

The success with the modern slavery compliance training has opened up new possibilities and opportunities to automate workflows and processes internally.

Steven acknowledged his team is also currently looking at automating documents to generate consent forms, which are used repetitively.

“It’s an easy way for them to navigate and it minimises errors within a document. It’s still in the early stages but it’s something that we’re looking into.”

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