COVID-19 challenges for ‘the lawyers of the state’: Caroline Mealor

Caroline Mealor in conversation

Caroline Mealor, Chief Executive, Attorney-General’s Department, Government of South Australia

Last week Caroline Mealor, Chief Executive of the Attorney-General’s Department, was IPAA South Australia’s guest for a virtual ‘on the couch’ conversation.

Caroline spoke about the way her department has responded to the coronavirus pandemic:

‘Dealing with the changes that COVID-19 has brought about for a workforce has been about needing to work really quickly and flexibly, deferring to others, going with your gut-feel sometimes, looking towards central government for guidance but at the same time needing to be conscious of the individual needs of our department.’

With more than 70% of staff working from home she reflected on the hardest challenge for the central agency:

‘…having to move so quickly and having to completely reimagine the way we worked, and the way we did business, and the way we interacted with customers, because we didn’t have six weeks to work out the best way forward.’

On a personal note Caroline said she had been ‘really challenged’ by the notion of having to work at home:

‘The best thing about my job is my interactions with other people and so having to deal with my personal disquiet, whilst still… you know… “Chin up, carry on, it’s all going to be fine”; as a leader I found that very challenging, to have to put aside my own disquiet and concern — for myself, my family, my friends — and concentrate on being the Chief Executive.’

During the interview Caroline was also asked a series of questions sourced from IPAA SA members and the wider South Australian public sector.

A link to a video of the interview is available below.

On the Couch
with Caroline Mealor