My former employment, in excess of 42 years, within the financial services sector included ongoing interaction with various commonwealth governments departments. Whilst in the main, certainly in the early years, service provided was timely with accurate information provided.
In recent years however this service has rapidly declined - both in response times as well as accuracy of information provided. Now as an active individual user of various services, as opposed to being an intermediary for clients, obvious flaws continue to arise with the service experience being provided. My closer interaction, as opposed to an average member of the public, I believe places me in a position to provide comment and feedback as below:
- too much expectation is now being place on staff within certain departments, ie with the Human Services staff now expected to perform multiple roles, rather that concentrate on specific areas of duty.
- the ability to make decisions on issues have being removed at certain local levels, resulting in delays to resolution.
- multiple computer systems, which do not interact as required, further adds to complications. Seamless transfer of information between departments does not occur as a result, despite the MyGov program.
- an obvious lack of experience for government public servants will only lead to further declines in service standards. This comment is supported by the experience where multiple contacts within the same government department, produced differing advice and outcomes (despite having access to the same details and date). This is further complicated by differing requirements for system information for the likes of Centrelink vs Child Support vs ATO vs Medicare - for the same individual. Then there is the presence of ‘silos of power’ within the respective organisation which preclude effective integration of services and systems - given that each does not wish to ‘loose power’ or authority to another public service authority (maybe also under a different Government Minister’s portfolio).
- clearly the concept of ‘Public Service’ has been lost on the government organisations. Rather than being seen as being in the role to provide actual service to the public, they see the public as needing to be subservient to them - with the threat of penalties and onus of proof being placed on the public, rather that the reverse. (Example here with the Aged Pensioners having to correct multiple instance of incorrect data on Centrelink systems - despite correct informations having being provided - either online, or verbally/written WITH a record of receipt being issued, only to subsequently be lost or not acted upon).
- a total rethink of the role of the Public Service has to occur - to refocus back on their charter to their employers, the Australian Public. Additionally, an overhaul of computer systems must be undertaken - outside of the individual agencies/personnel, to avoid issues with ‘power bases’ to ensure that better cross matching and interface of individual client data can occur.