Engagement and feedback
The department’s Service Charter, Our Service Commitments, shapes the identity of the department and sets out what people can expect from us.
The charter is a public expression of the department’s commitment to excellence in service delivery, outlining:
- service delivery approach and commitments
- customers’ rights and responsibilities
- how customers can provide feedback about service delivery
- what customers can do if they are dissatisfied with a decision made by the department
- how customers can have complaints resolved
Our Service Commitments underpin our business priorities and are on our website.
Performance summary against service commitments
Following is an overview of the department’s performance against each of the 6 service commitment themes. The results are derived from a survey that focuses on each surveyed customer’s most recent interaction in the previous week with Centrelink and Medicare services and was conducted continuously throughout 2014-15. Results were calculated on the basis of customer ratings. Customers who did not answer or indicated ‘don’t know’ or ‘not applicable’ were removed from the calculation of results.
Respect: We will welcome you and will listen to you and work with you to understand your individual and cultural needs—measured by customer assessments of staff behaviour.
- 90% of customers surveyed about Centrelink services agreed that staff treated them with respect and 78% agreed that staff took into account their individual circumstances
- 94% of customers surveyed about Medicare services agreed that staff treated them with respect and 87% agreed that staff took into account their individual circumstances
Easy access to services: We will give you quick and easy access to the right services—measured by customer assessments of accessibility of services.
- 60% of customers surveyed about Centrelink services were satisfied with the ease of accessing services
- 80% of customers surveyed about Medicare services were satisfied with the ease of accessing services
Quality information: We are committed to providing consistent and accurate information—measured by customer assessments of the consistency and accuracy of information.
- 80% of customers surveyed about Centrelink services agreed that staff had told them everything they had to do to get the service and 81% agreed that they were given accurate information
- 76% of customers surveyed about Centrelink services agreed that staff gave them information that was consistent with what they had already heard or read
- 91% of customers surveyed about Medicare services agreed that staff had told them everything they had to do to get the service and 93% agreed that they were given accurate information
- 89% of customers surveyed about Medicare services agreed that staff gave them information that was consistent with what they had already heard or read
Fair and transparent services: We will be open and honest with you and will follow through on our commitments—measured by customer assessments of how clearly the department provides customers with information about their rights and responsibilities.
- 71% of customers surveyed about Centrelink services indicated that staff had advised them of their rights and responsibilities
- 74% of customers surveyed about Medicare services indicated that staff had advised them of their rights and responsibilities
Genuine consultation: We value your feedback and we will work with you to understand how to improve our service—measured by customer assessment of whether the department took into account their individual circumstances.
- 78% of customers surveyed about Centrelink services agreed that staff took into account their individual circumstances
- 87% of customers surveyed about Medicare services agreed that staff took into account their individual circumstances
Efficiency: We will simplify the way we deliver services to you. We will streamline processes to provide the right outcome—measured by customer assessment of staff promptness and efficiency.
- 78% of customers surveyed about Centrelink services said that staff were prompt and efficient
- 89% of customers surveyed about Medicare services said that staff were prompt and efficient
Satisfaction survey programme
The Transactional Survey targets a random selection of customers who have recently contacted the department and measures their satisfaction with the most recent transaction.
There are a number of other research activities that form part of the satisfaction research programme. These include measuring customers’ general perceptions of the department—the Relationship Survey.
Each year the Health Provider Survey gauges satisfaction with departmental services from health professionals, including pharmacists, general practitioners and practice managers. The Department of Social Services is now responsible for aged care providers and were not included in the 2014-15 survey.
Every 2 years, an International Services Survey is conducted to measure the satisfaction of services provided to customers residing overseas.
|Survey title||Target audience(s) and sample size||Summary of findings 2013-14||Summary of findings 2014-15|
|Health Provider Survey||
The percentage of health providers indicating they were satisfied or neutral with the services provided by the department:
The percentage of health providers indicating they were satisfied or neutral with the services provided by the department:
|International Services Survey||
Overall satisfaction with the services provided by the department's International Services was 96%
Overall satisfaction with the services provided by the department's International Services was 80%
1. The result is based on data from February to June 2015. This data is not fully comparable with data from the previous year.
In 2014-15 the department implemented a new customer feedback recording tool to provide better information and identify ways to continuously improve our services to the public. Monthly case studies were provided to help staff focus on ways to improve their interactions with customers and prevent future complaints.
The department is committed to ensuring that customers are aware of their right to complain or provide feedback. Customers can provide feedback in a variety of ways, including:
- calling our feedback and complaints line on 1800 132 468
- calling 1 of our international phone numbers if overseas listed on humanservices.gov.au/international
- sending a secure message via humanservices.gov.au/feedback
- by mail (no postage stamp required)
- via the National Relay Service
- speaking to a Service Officer at any of our service or smart centres
The table below summarises customer feedback received by the department.
|Customer feedback||2012-13||2013-14||2014-15||% change from 2013-14|
Centrelink customer feedback
In 2014-15 the department recorded 69,168 customer feedback contacts about Centrelink services. The top 3 complaints by volume were:
- difficulties with phone services, including complaints about hold wait times, engaged signals and call disconnections (24.7%)
- dissatisfaction with departmental staff or a contractor, including attitude/behaviour, lack of knowledge and staff not taking agreed action (16.4%)
- dissatisfaction with timeliness, including the time taken to process a claim, make a decision and review a decision (12.3%)
Medicare customer feedback
In 2014-15 the department recorded 12,364 customer feedback contacts about Medicare services. The top 3 complaints by volume were:
- difficulties with phone services, including complaints about hold wait times, engaged signals and call disconnections (25.4%)
- difficulties with digital services, including the inability to access the services, the item number being unavailable for online claiming, and not being user-friendly (20%)
- not having received a service, including a payment, a card and a tax statement (8.7%)
Child Support customer feedback
In 2014-15 the department recorded 21,923 customer feedback contacts about Child Support services. The top 3 complaints by volume were:
- collection, including lack of collection, account balance and employer withholding (33.1%)
- quality of service, including lack of courtesy, advice and inaction (29.7%)
- child support assessments including income calculated, care arrangements and change of assessment (21.2%)
Responses to customer complaints about the department’s services
Departmental responses to customer complaints address individual circumstances. A joint approach is taken to resolve customer issues that involve more than 1 programme or service type.
Responses to resolve complaints may include an apology, an explanation of the policy, correcting a customer’s record, review of a decision, case management, or referral to an external organisation.
National advisory groups and forums
In 2014-15 the department facilitated several national advisory groups and forums.
National Welfare Rights Network
The National Welfare Rights Network (NWRN) includes 16 community legal services specialising in social security and family assistance law and its administration by the department. NWRN member organisations provide assistance to individual clients, conduct training for community workers, and produce publications to assist social security recipients and community organisations to understand the system. At the twice-yearly meetings between the department and NWRN, information and ideas are exchanged on a range of issues.
Child Support National Stakeholder Engagement Group
The Child Support National Stakeholder Engagement Group is convened jointly by the Department of Social Services and the Department of Human Services. It connects a broad cross-section of stakeholders including the legal community, academics and peak bodies of family support service providers representing separated parents. The group discusses current child support policy, child support service delivery and child support administration processes.
In 2014-15 the group discussed deregulation opportunities within the broader welfare system, the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Child Support Programme, the child support system redesign, and the child support Express Plus mobile app.
Multicultural advisory forums and committees
The department has partnerships with an extensive range of stakeholders from community and government organisations across all levels of government that work on issues relating to service delivery for CALD customers.
The National Multicultural Advisory Group includes members from government agencies and peak bodies representing communities from CALD backgrounds. The group provides advice and feedback about the quality and effectiveness of the department’s service delivery to multicultural customers. The annual face-to-face meeting was held in July 2014, with follow-up meetings held in October 2014 and February 2015. Issues discussed in the follow-up meetings included Budget measures, red tape reduction, refugee servicing, and future digital service delivery.
The department also convenes multicultural advisory committees and forums to consult regularly with multicultural communities at local, state and territory levels. These committees and forums operate in areas with high multicultural populations such as Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. They ensure communities know about the department’s programmes, services and new initiatives. In 2014-15 issues raised included online and Express Plus mobile apps for CALD customers, employment and training initiatives in local areas, and multilingual services.
Older Australians Working Group
The department met with the Older Australians Working Group in November 2014 and June 2015. The group has representatives from peak organisations and customer groups, and allows the department to showcase service delivery developments. The group offers feedback on the current and potential impacts of service delivery on older people.
Stakeholder Consultative Group
The Stakeholder Consultative Group is the department’s peak stakeholder consultation forum on health issues. It includes representatives and professionals from consumer, medical, allied health, pharmaceutical and aged care fields. The group provides advice on emerging strategic and operational matters as well as input into the implementation of government measures such as red tape reduction. This helps improve the effectiveness of the service delivery aspects of the health programmes the department administers. The group met twice in 2014-15.
The department’s research programme for 2014-15 continued to support improvements in service delivery through a series of internal service delivery evaluations.
The department also participated in a range of collaborative research projects across all levels of government and through academic partnerships. These included projects with the Department of Finance, the Department of Social Services, the Productivity Commission, various state and local governments, and academic institutions.