The Government is delivering on its 2017-18 Budget commitment to increase Centrelink call centre capacity. The Department of Human Services has engaged Serco Citizen Services Pty Ltd as its service delivery partner, operating in Melbourne from late October 2017.
The 2017-18 Budget measure aims to reduce Centrelink call wait times and make it easier for Australians to access Centrelink services. The new call centre operators will be answering calls about select Centrelink payments and services.
Centrelink answers around 22 million calls each year. This additional capacity means an extra 250 full-time equivalent staff will be available to answer these calls.
The Government has provided $51.7 million over three years to fund the pilot partnership with Serco. The use of commercial suppliers is not a new approach – the Australian Taxation Office has successfully delivered services through a similar partnership for many years.
Under the partnership arrangement, Serco’s staff will be fully trained and will comply with all Commonwealth Government privacy and security requirements. As an Australian-based supplier, Serco will ensure that no services or data will go offshore.
Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge said the partnership aims to improve the service experience for Australians who need to call Centrelink.
“This partnership will assist Australians who are accessing Centrelink services, and help reduce call wait times,” Minister Tudge said.
“This is the latest part of the Government’s transformation of Centrelink’s services, making it easier for people to engage with Centrelink when and where it suits them.”
The Government’s service delivery transformation also includes the billion dollar WPIT program, upgraded myGov site, new $600 million telephony system, the streamlining of other welfare payment claims and other measures to reduce call wait times and improve processing efficiencies.