Unconfirmed text of Human Services announcement of on-site Telstra call centre staff


Editor’s note: The accuracy of the below announcement is still to be either officially confirmed or rejected by the Department of Human Services or Telstra. Government News has published the text in the interests of clarity and informed discussion.

Partnering with Telstra – exciting opportunities for Smart Centres

As you are aware, the Smart Centre operating model has been progressively implemented over the last two years.  Since the beginning of the 2014 calendar year we have seen real achievements in terms of the way we do our work and where we do our work.

We have seen some outstanding results following the full roll out of the skills pyramid and the deployment of intermittent and irregular workers has helped us to rapidly shift the way we approach our work.

We are now more in control of workflow across the various channels in Smart Centres – telephony, new claims and other maintenance work, and we have a better understanding of the demand for our services, the work we have on hand and how best to deploy our resources to deliver outcomes for Australians.

However, we cannot rest on the achievements so far and we must keep reforming and being innovative in our service delivery approach.

In looking forward to how we can keep improving the Smart Centres model, the department proposes partnering with Telstra to deliver call centres services for the Department of Human Services under the department’s established telecommunication arrangement.

This would see Telstra, who may also work with a third party provider, work side by side with the department as a trusted partner, not only delivering services, but providing insight into industry best practice due to their position as an expert in contact centre management.

Initially, the work would focus on Centrelink and Medicare Public activities such as requests for replacement concession and Medicare cards, appointment bookings, general queries and other transactions like BasicsCard balance updates.  The arrangement will also have a focus on our digital streaming agenda with the inclusion of a range of activities that are either currently available online or are proposed to move online in the future.

It is proposed that the department will enter into an arrangement with Telstra for these services for up to 12 months, commencing from the end of October 2014.

This partnership will operate from departmental sites utilising departmental information technology and telephony resources.  Telstra will deliver the services from departmental premises located in Bunbury and ACT/Queanbeyan.  This will provide coverage and help manage demand across the various Australian time zones.

By managing the work this way we will create capacity, allowing our experienced staff to focus on more sustainable and complex work to help those most in need. This partnership will also move Smart Centre staff closer to a blended working arrangement that includes end to end service delivery with a focus on first contact resolution.

The department will ensure through this arrangement that APS standards and Code of Conduct and departmental values in regard to behaviour, quality and performance are maintained. The department will specify a framework that will cover the performance of services during the contract period and matters such as fraud control, privacy and security.

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