Engagement and feedback
Our service commitments
Our service commitments are a public expression of the department’s vision of delivering excellent services to our customers while delivering on the outcomes and expectations of government. They include:
- what customers can expect from us under the four themes of Respect, Quality Information, Honesty and Integrity and Efficiency
- our business improvement priorities such as designing products and services that take customer feedback into account
- what customers can do to help us such as providing complete, accurate and timely information about their circumstances and treating staff with courtesy
- how customers can provide feedback about service delivery and have complaints resolved
Our service commitments underpin our business priorities and are on our website at humanservices.gov.au
Performance summary against service commitments
Following is an overview of the department’s performance against each of the four service commitment themes. The results are derived from a survey conducted throughout 2015-16 that focused on each surveyed customer’s most recent interaction in the previous week with Centrelink and Medicare services. 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 listen 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 (90% in 2014-15) and 76% agreed that staff took into account their individual circumstances (78% in 2014-15)
- 93% of customers surveyed about Medicare services agreed that staff treated them with respect (94% in 2014-15) and 83% agreed that staff took into account their individual circumstances (87% in 2014-15)
Quality information: We are committed to providing consistent and accurate information—measured by customer assessments of the consistency and accuracy of information.
- 78% of customers surveyed about Centrelink services agreed that staff had told them everything they had to do to get the service (80% in 2014-15) and 79% agreed that they were given accurate information (81% in 2014-15)
- 73% of customers surveyed about Centrelink services agreed that staff gave them information that was consistent with what they had already heard or read (76% in 2014-15)
- 88% of customers surveyed about Medicare services agreed that staff had told them everything they had to do to get the service (91% in 2014-15) and 90% agreed that they were given accurate information (93% in 2014-15)
- 86% of customers surveyed about Medicare services agreed that staff gave them information that was consistent with what they had already heard or read (89% in 2014-15)
Honesty and Integrity: We will be open and honest and follow through on our commitments—measured by customer assessments of information that is clear and easy to understand and of overall satisfaction.
- 81% of customers surveyed about Centrelink services agreed that staff gave them information that was clear and easy to understand (82% in 2014-15)
- 67% of customers surveyed about Centrelink services were satisfied (70% in 2014-15)
- 88% of customers surveyed about Medicare services agreed that staff gave them information that was clear and easy to understand (91% in 2014-15)
- 78% of customers surveyed about Medicare services were satisfied (83% in 2014-15)
Efficiency: We will simplify the way we deliver services to you-measured by customer assessment of staff promptness and efficiency.
- 76% of customers surveyed about Centrelink services said that staff were prompt and efficient (78% in 2014-15)
- 84% of customers surveyed about Medicare services said that staff were prompt and efficient (89% in 2014-15)
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.
In 2015-16 the Relationship Survey measured customers’ general perceptions of the department.
The Health Provider Survey gauges satisfaction with departmental services from health professionals, including pharmacists, general practitioners and practice managers.
|Survey title||Target audience(s) and sample size||Summary of findings 2014-15||Summary of findings 2015-16|
|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:
1. The result is based on data from February to June 2015.
2. Due to a change in survey methodology in 2015–16 the results should not be compared to previous years.
The department is committed to delivering high quality services to our customers and values the feedback received to help improve our business processes and better service our customers.
In 2015-16 an online customer feedback form was introduced. During this period, 51.3% of all feedback was lodged online. In addition, service delivery staff were trained in recording and resolving complaints, with a focus on resolving the issue at first point of contact. The feedback and complaints part of the website has been improved and we have made "how to provide feedback" available in 35 languages.
The changes to the website, and other initiatives the department has implemented, have improved our customer feedback processes and data collection for Centrelink and Medicare customers in particular. This has made it easier for customers to provide feedback. The changes mean that it is not possible to directly compare this year's data with previous years.
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
- online via their myGov account or at humanservices.gov.au
- calling one of our international phone numbers if overseas - listed on humanservices.gov.au/international
- 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 about service, received by the department.
1. Data for 2015-16 cannot be directly compared with previous years. This is due to improvements in our methodology for collection and classification of customer feedback. The changes have included an upgrade to our online channel that has resulted in a significant improvement in accessibility and usability.
2. Customer feedback online forms were implemented for Centrelink and Medicare only.
Centrelink customer feedback
In 2015-16 the department recorded 125,786 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 (15.8%)
- difficulties with digital services, including inability to access, or to complete transactions, and when digital services are unavailable (15.1%)
- dissatisfaction with timeliness, including the time taken to process a claim, to make a decision and to correct an error (14.2%)
Medicare customer feedback
In 2015-16 the department recorded 16,667 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 (28.6%)
- difficulties with digital services, including inability to access, not being user friendly and the item number being unavailable for online claiming (19.2%)
- not having received a service, including a payment, a card and a letter/email (12.6%)
Child Support customer feedback
In 2015-16 the department recorded 20,394 customer feedback contacts about Child Support services. The top 3 complaints by volume were:
- collection, including lack of collection, account balance and employer withholding (31.9%)
- quality of service, including advice, lack of courtesy and inaction (30.0%)
- assessment, including income used, care and change of assessment (22.9%)
Responses to customer complaints about the department’s services
The department takes a collaborative approach to investigate and resolve customer complaints where more than one programme or service is involved. In 2015-16 complaints handling training for our large service delivery workforce was completed. The training included first contact resolution and new escalation procedures for complex and sensitive complaints.
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.
For complaints about staff, the manager of the staff member complained about is notified so that the complaint can be discussed with the staff member and action taken to address any service issues.
Community engagement - groups and advisory 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. For example, during 2015-16 the department consulted with NWRN on the Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation Programme and discussed the service delivery aspects of changes to Disability Support Pension assessment processes.
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.
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 non-government organisations 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 August 2015, with follow-up meetings held in November 2015 and April 2016. Issues discussed in the follow-up meetings included family and domestic violence, digital services and employment.
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, Darwin, Launceston and Perth. These forums and committees ensure communities know about the department’s programmes, services and new initiatives. In 2015-16 issues raised included online services and Express Plus mobile apps for CALD customers, refugees, employment and training initiatives in local areas and language services.
Older Australians Working Group
The department met with the Older Australians Working Group in November 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. The group discussed topics including the Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation Programme, aged care reforms and online services.
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 three times in 2015-16.
The department’s research programme for 2015-16 focused on building internal analytical capability and undertaking quantitative research to support improvements in service delivery.
The department continued to expand on a range of collaborative research projects across all levels of government and through academic partnerships. These include projects with the Department of Social Services, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, various state and local governments, and academic institutions.
In July 2015 the department commenced the Troubled Families project which is a programme of work under the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Public Service Management agenda. The project aims to highlight the use of Australian Government administrative data as a research asset and assist the department in designing better service options for the Australian community. It is expected that research reports highlighting the outcomes of the programme will be delivered in multiple stages. An interim report will be delivered in December 2016 followed by a final report in December 2017.