Human Services Delivery Research Alliance
In 2009, Centrelink and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) partnered to form the five-year Human Services Delivery Research Alliance (HSDRA) aimed at transforming government service delivery.
CSIRO is a government organisation and Australia’s national science agency. They are working with the department to apply scientific expertise to aspects of service delivery.
Using innovative technologies and practices, the HSDRA aims to increase the efficiency of government services, create options for future service delivery and help government to build better relationships with customers.
The HSDRA will provide benefits to the department and our customers, including:
- responding to Australia’s changing demographics
- improving service delivery to all Australians including marginalised and disadvantaged people and communities.
- CSIRO website – Human Services Delivery Research Alliance
Find out more about one HSDRA project
Online communities: improving communication with customers
The Department of Human Services, Centrelink, and CSIRO are exploring the use of social media technologies to facilitate better communication between Centrelink and its customers.
One way to give customers more information and assistance is to link customers together in an online community so they can share advice and experiences.
Developing online communities
The Department of Human Services, Centrelink, and CSIRO are working together to develop and trial an online community with Centrelink Parenting Payment customers transitioning to Newstart Allowance. The online community allows this targeted group to participate in discussion forums and activities, ask questions, and participate in live chat sessions with experts. It will also enable Centrelink to provide targeted and relevant information.
To design this effectively, CSIRO scientists collected information from Centrelink customers through face-to-face focus groups and an online survey. The aim of this research was to understand the issues facing this group and explore the idea of using an online community. Some of the points that were discussed included barriers to returning to work and the usefulness of an online community for parents.
More than half the customers who participated in the research said that they did not have a clear understanding of what was going to happen next during the transition from Parenting Payment to Newstart Allowance, or what was expected from them during the transition. This lack of understanding made the participants feel anxious and lost as to what they had to do. They felt that they required more support from the government.
Most customers felt that there was value in an online community and they would be willing to try it. They were also open to a mentor system in the community to work through the transition. All customers were very positive and appreciative of the effort Centrelink is making to improve its services.
This information is being used to best design the online community so that it caters to the needs of the group that will use it.
CSIRO is now building this online community and aims to study how social trust forms within it by looking at user interactions and dynamics from clicks and comments.