Most watchers of government might have suspected that restructures and redundancies were used to quietly get rid of the worst performers. Some have se
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Home Portfolio Community & Social Self-service not serving all at Centrelink
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PEOPLEKathryn Campbell, Colin Neave
DEPARTMENTSDepartment of Human Services, Commonwealth Ombudsman
TAGS customer service, Department of Human Services, Colin Neave, service delivery, Digital Transformation Office, Customer experience, Kathryn Campbell, self-service, British people
When DHS and Centrelink was hit with a series of critical reports about its customer handling, the department went to work on improvements. The Commonwealth Ombudsman says considerable progress has been made in the last year, but self-service still doesn’t work for everyone.
On the heels of the Digital Transformation Office’s findings that half of Australians remain unpersuaded by government digital services, the Commonwealth Ombudsman has his own concerns that Centrelink is pushing digital self-services that aren’t friendly enough to all its customers.
Releasing a new report today, ombudsman Colin Neave acknowledged the Department of Human Services had made considerable progress in the last 12 months to rectify customer service shortcomings highlighted by complaints to his office and detailed in a report on Centrelink last April.
That progress, however, only concerned some of his 33 recommendations, mainly around document handling, internal review, management of internal complaints, and the improvement and expansion of self-service and online channels. The ombudsman has continued to receive complaints that indicate service quality has gone backwards in other areas, leading him to conduct the 12-month review, which resulted in 12 new recommendations.
In a statement today, Neave says “that emphasis on self-service does not work for all customers and can, in itself, be the cause of customer complaints” — a fact he says is most obvious from the ongoing complaints about Centrelink’s online and call centre services his office is still receiving from a small but nonetheless important minority of customers. He adds:
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Stephen Easton is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Canberra. He's previously reported for Canberra CityNews and worked on industry titles for The Intermedia Group.
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Most watchers of government might have suspected that restructures and redundancies were used to quietly get rid of the worst performers. Some have seen it first hand. Now, it's official.