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Comments and requests for further information on this review are welcome and can be sent to:

Ms Jann McCann
Telephone: (02) 6212 0023
Fax: (02) 6212 0480
Strategic Services Team
Centrelink National Support Office
Box 7788
Canberra Business Centre
ACT 2610

The Annual Review is a ‘short form’ overview only.

It is designed to give a concise summary of Centrelink’s activities and financial position for the year ended 30 June 2002.
Both the Annual Report and this Annual Review may be accessed through the internet at

Created in 1997, Centrelink will continue to make a positive difference to the
lives of many Australians. This review is drawn from the Centrelink Annual
Report 2001–02. It describes our performance in the 2001–02 financial year
and highlights our plans for the future.
1              From our Chairman

3              From our Chief Executive Officer

8              Corporate overview

10             Outcome and output structure

13             Our services

17             Our business

19             Organisational chart

20             Corporate governance framework

22             Financial summary

26             Performance at a glanceTable index
Table Index

Table 1        Our goals and priorities                                 11

Table 2        Our business operations                                  17

Table 3        Our network                                              18

Table 4        Centrelink’s net operating result 2001–02 and 2000–01    22

Table 5        Statement of financial position—assets and liabilities   22

Table 6        Statement of cash flow                                   22

Table 7        Government dividend requirements                         24

Table 8        Revenue to Centrelink 2001–02                            24
Figure index

Figure 1       Outcome and output structure                             10

Figure 2       Our services                                             13

Figure 3       Our organisational chart                                 19
Figure 4       Client partnership performance                                         26

Figure 5       Customer and community performance                                     28

Figure 6       Centrelink people performance                                          32

Figure 7       The vision: career pathways within Centrelink                          34

Figure 8       Cost-efficiency                                                        36

During 2002, Centrelink has progressed the focus on e-Business. In March of this year, Centrelink created the e-Business
Governance Group, which is responsible for systematic changes to the way Centrelink does business, using electronic
delivery mechanisms within and beyond Centrelink boundaries for customers, citizens, community, business and
government. See  in this document for examples of how Centrelink is integrating e-Business into its operations.

From our Chairman
This financial year has been another year of challenge and new opportunity.

For much of 200102 Centrelink was focused on Australians Working Together (AWT) in the lead up to the two staged
implementation in July and September 2002. AWT has fundamentally changed the way the agency does business. Most
jobs in Centrelink will change and a large number of new people will join the agency to work alongside our current staff
in the new roles of Personal Advisers.

Strong relationships with the thousands of non-government organisations in the community sector have always been
important to Centrelink. These relationships are critical to the agency’s role in delivering AWT. The agency will need to
form even more effective partnerships with non-government organisations to ensure that customers receive the best
possible support to enable them to move forward. During the year, the Board took the opportunity to host informal
gatherings with non-government organisation representatives and Centrelink managers in Sydney and Hobart. These
meetings provided valuable opportunities to share views and strengthen relationships. This initiative will continue in the
coming year.

One of the big challenges the agency faced related to the collapse of Ansett. Centrelink was asked to assist the public by
helping stranded Ansett passengers with the costs of accommodation and alternative travel arrangements to return home.
The responsiveness and professionalism that Centrelink applied to this new challenge was exceptional. For many
Australians, this was their first contact with Centrelink and it is pleasing that the interaction was positive for them.

Membership of the Board changed during the year. Both portfolio secretaries, Dr David Rosalky and Dr Peter Shergold
vacated their positions on the Board—Dr Rosalky as a result of his resignation from the Australian Public Service and Dr
Shergold on his appointment as Secretary to the Department of Education, Science and Training. I take this opportunity to
thank them for their valuable contribution to the Board. The Board was pleased to welcome Mark Sullivan, the new
Secretary of the Department of Family and Community Services.
I would like to express my appreciation for the work of my fellow Board members. Their wisdom and dedication to the
work of Centrelink especially as chairs of Board committees was critical to the Board’s effectiveness. I also extend my
appreciation and that of the Board to Sue Vardon, the leadership team and the thousands of hard working and highly
trained Centrelink staff in offices across Australia. Their efforts and commitment make dealing with Centrelink a positive
experience for customers and has made the successes of the year possible.

Finally, our world changed in the course of the past year. The events of September 11, 2001 had an impact on all of our
lives and some of the ramifications are still unclear. In response to the very strong feelings of sympathy and concern for
those affected by the tragedies in New York and Washington, Centrelink staff initiated a condolence register for their
New York public service counterparts. Thousands of Centrelink staff from every corner of Australia signed the register
and many wrote poems and sent drawings. I was honoured, along with Sue Vardon, to present the condolence books (two
volumes) to the US Ambassador, Thomas Schieffer who has passed them on to the employees of the New York Human
Resources Agency.

Centrelink looks forward to the year ahead with a sense of optimism and confidence that the agency will, through its role
in implementing government policy, continue to make a positive difference to the lives of many Australians.

John Pascoe AO

From our Chief Executive Officer
For many Australians, their experience of Centrelink is their local Customer Service Centre. For others we are on the
other end of a telephone line. We are now very much a part of the local landscape for many citizens. Since our creation in
1997, our people and our places have been through a significant transformation. Our staff are professional, respectful and
friendly. Our offices are warm and welcoming.

Happily, most of our customers agree. In our most recent survey, 85 per cent of customers who have had an experience
with one of our Call Centres or Customer Service Centres said that their experience was a good one.

Throughout the year we continued to listen to our customers. A simpler system with less paper work, that remembers what
people told us the last time they were a customer, is something we know citizens want.

This year we have taken some big steps to make things simpler for them. The new Customer Account means claim forms
will be almost redundant. It means that when citizens come to us, if we have helped them before, all we need from them
this time is details of any changes in their circumstances. If they want to know what our records hold about them, or
change any of their details, they will be able to access their account.

From 2003–04, customers will be sent an account statement every three months. This will dramatically reduce the number
of letters we now have to send our customers and enable them to assist us in making sure that all the information we hold
about their circumstances is up to date.

Service Profiling means that we can use our knowledge of our customers’ characteristics and their circumstances to more
effectively target our efforts and services. For example, we will be able to better assist those customers who are at risk of
not meeting their obligations. This approach will allow much better use of our resources while getting better outcomes for
our customers.

Our priorities

2001–02 was another very challenging year as we prepared for the implementation of Australians Working Together
(AWT) initiatives—a major new direction in the welfare system of which Centrelink is a key player. The successful
implementation of AWT will remain a top priority in the coming year.

As well, Minister Vanstone set us four key priorities:

•   ensuring the integrity of the social security system;

•   helping people move forward;

•   making Centrelink even more responsive to customers; and

•   working in partnership with communities and business.

There are two additional management priorities, ‘supporting our staff and agents to achieve our business objectives’ and
‘giving the Government confidence in its investment and transparency in its costs’.

Ensuring the integrity of the social security system

In 2001–02 Centrelink finalised a Business Assurance Framework with our biggest client, the Department of Family and
Community Services. The framework covers technical correctness, business outcomes, customer service offers and
organisational performance.

In our framework plan for ‘Getting it Right’ the main action areas are:

•   policy and product improvement;

•   management support and accountability;

•   systems improvement; and

•   staff support.

The staff support strategies for ‘Getting it Right’ will enhance the roles of checkers and experts, update and simplify the
e-Reference tool and raise staff technical skills for decision-making and accuracy of payments.

Ensuring the integrity of the social security system by controlling fraud and incorrect payments continues to be a major
priority. Our detection and review capability is of a world standard. This year we added two more tools to our detection
capability. These new tools are an internet-based facility, which opened in September 2001, and a dedicated telephone
line, which was set up in January 2002. Both enable members of the public to anonymously report suspected fraud. All
tip-off allegations received are forwarded electronically to a central Tip-off Identification site in Area West Australia.

Helping people move forward

A major focus of the year has been preparations for the start of AWT. The Personal Adviser role embodies the new
directions implicit within the AWT initiative—that is individualised services, which focus on overcoming barriers and
increasing our customers’ ability to participate.
A major recruitment exercise was undertaken over the last months of this financial year. There were over 15 000
applicants from which Centrelink chose 400 exceptional people with special skills. These included a 71 year-old former
business man and journalist who speaks seven languages and understands the special challenges faced by unemployed
mature aged customers.

Making Centrelink even more responsive to customers

One of the success stories in 2001–02 is Centrelink Call. It has won consistent acclaim for its customer satisfaction, team
leadership, individual performance and effective management, including in the Australian Teleservices Association
Awards, run by the peak Australian call centre industry body. While technical innovations have helped boost productivity
and streamline operations we will need to continue to pay attention to reducing call wait times.

To help families provide updated income estimates, in July 2001 we introduced the first online transaction for customers.
Families with internet access can now update their income estimates from the convenience of their own home at a time
they choose. This has been a great success with more than 50 000 estimates submitted online during the year. Feedback
from families has been overwhelmingly positive.

Working in partnerships with communities and business

Centrelink is only one of many agencies that citizens can go to for help. For many of our customers, their local community
and the many non-government organisations that work within these communities, offer a lifeline. Centrelink is committed
to working in genuine partnerships with all these organisations. As much as possible, we are sharing our resources with
our community partners. One of these resources, Community Connections, is a national data base of community
organisations and their services, which we are developing in partnership with the community sector. This directory will
connect Centrelink, customers and the community. It will eventually be an important resource for staff in Centrelink and
community organisations. It is planned that this resource, along with other information services from Centrelink, will be
available to community providers and the non-government sector through a dedicated extranet connection.

We have also established a number of reference groups to represent the interests of our customers and our community
sector partners. These include reference groups representing older people, young people and migrants.

We also need to draw on the advice and the experience of our community partners when putting in place major initiatives
such as AWT. The AWT Implementation Reference Group was established in May 2002 and includes membership from
13 community organisations and businesses. Its purpose is to bring a diverse range of views and opinions to the
implementation process so that it works as well as possible for the community and customers.

Business groups are also key partners. The Centrelink Board of Management has been very supportive of Centrelink’s
recognition of the importance of the relationships we have with businesses and the priority we are placing on making
these relationships work better. We are developing much smarter ways of interacting with them to reduce the impact and
costs to them in dealing with Centrelink, for example, when confirming customer earnings. The Employer Contact Unit in
Hobart has made good progress in the last year towards developing automated systems which, when implemented, will
substantially reduce the imposition on employers. We are also making it much easier and cheaper for those businesses,
which provide concessions to our customers to confirm their eligibility.
Financial results
In 200102 Centrelink produced a sound financial result with its Annual Financial Statements again being signed by the
Auditor-General without qualification. We achieved:

•   an operating surplus of $6.96 million;

•   returns to the Government of all required efficiency dividends totalling $240.2 million; and

•   a positive cash position of $134.45 million.

To improve the business and cost efficiency of Centrelink services and government outcomes, Centrelink continued to
work on various projects including business process redesign, strategic and channel cost management, and partnering and
strategic sourcing strategies. The results of these projects will be reflected in our performance in 200203.

The next 12 months and beyond
Next year Centrelink will once again focus on meeting the expectations of the Government, client agencies, business,
communities and customers by:

•   improving consistency of performance and practice by getting it right the first time;

•   helping Australians move forward by building a stronger focus on economic and social participation;

•   meeting community expectations by delivering quality service; and

•   engaging with the community by delivering better outcomes.

The theme for the new Business Plan 2002–05 is ‘Delivering Today and Transforming Tomorrow’. The Plan identifies
eight key objectives and the Government’s and management’s priorities. It provides the context for making decisions
about projects and other activities, with emphasis on positioning Centrelink to effectively implement AWT initiatives.
The Business Plan will also be used throughout the organisation as the basis for detailed Business Improvement Plans.

The effective delivery of programs and services in rural, remote and Indigenous communities will continue as a high
priority, with particular focus on using new and emerging technologies and service delivery options.

In 2002, improvements will be made to Quality on Line—our online correctness of decision making tool. Already
significant progress has been made with Edge, the decision support system for Family Assistance Office claims.
Customer risk profiling is also being introduced to further streamline decision making.

The learning priorities for 2002–03 are aligned with the Business Plan. These include: introducing the new induction
program, AWT training and nationally recognised learning leadership development programs, improving the technical
skills for ‘Getting it Right’, training and accreditation for work checkers, workplace-based trainers and training for
Centrelink Agents.

Despite considerable improvement this year, people management will again require substantial effort at all levels
throughout Centrelink to ensure that staff are properly supported through continuous change.
Thank you
I would like to thank our client agencies and our people for their contributions to Centrelink during 2001–02. I want
especially to acknowledge the hard work of Centrelink staff in embracing the year’s challenges with commitment and

I particularly want to thank, John Pascoe, AO, the Chairman of the Centrelink Board of Management and my fellow
Board members whose guidance, expertise and commitment to our organisation has, as always, been immensely valuable.

Sue Vardon


Corporate overview

Business arrangements
Centrelink is a statutory authority within the Family and Community Services portfolio. Other agencies in the portfolio
are the Department of Family and Community Services, the Child Support Agency, the Social Security Appeals Tribunal
and the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Funding arrangements
Centrelink’s revenue is provided through Business Partnership Agreements or similar arrangements with client agencies.
Funds are appropriated to the policy agencies and paid to Centrelink in return for specified services. These purchase
agreements specify:

•   the products and services (outputs) Centrelink has agreed to provide to assist client agencies in achieving their

•   an accountability and assurance framework including a range of key performance indicators, reciprocal assurances,
    performance measures and reporting requirements;

•   details of the funding arrangements or ‘purchase’ price;

•   protocols to be followed to manage particular issues, such as dispute resolution or variations to the agreement; and

•   any agreed priorities during the lifetime of the agreements, which commonly run for
    3 to 5 years, including an annual review process.
Outcome and output
Centrelink has one Government directed outcome, which is ‘effective delivery of Commonwealth services to eligible
customers’. The outcome is supported by the output ‘efficient delivery of Commonwealth services to eligible customers’.

Centrelink’s corporate goals are the basis for developing strategies to achieve the outcome and output. The Balanced
Scorecard is Centrelink’s primary instrument for measuring performance against its corporate goals.

Our purpose
Centrelink was created to provide exceptional service to the community by linking Australian government services and
achieving best practice in service delivery.

Our vision
Centrelink will make a positive difference to Australian individuals, families and communities particularly during
transitional periods in their lives.

Our mission
Centrelink’s mission states the scope of our unique business that sets us apart from other organisations and exhibits our
commitment to our customers and stakeholders.

Centrelink will build a stronger community by:

•   simplifying access to government services by providing a single entry point;

•   providing innovative and personalised services, opportunities and support, that are culturally appropriate, during key
    life events;

•   maintaining a high level of customer service, while ensuring strong accountability to stakeholders; and

•   building quality relationships with our stakeholders to continually improve the social well-being of Australian society.
Outcome and output structure
FIGURE 1: Outcome and output structure
                    Efficient delivery    Effective delivery     Client agency outcomes relevant to Centrelink
                   of Commonwealth        of Commonwealth        FaCS: OUTCOME 1—Stronger Families.
Our Goals          services to eligible   services to eligible   OUTCOME 2—Stronger Communities.
                        customers             customers          OUTCOME 3—Economic & Social Participation.
                                                                 AFFA: PORTFOLIO OUTCOME—Increasing the
                                                                 profitability, competitiveness and sustainability of
                                                                 Australian agricultural, food, fisheries and forestry industries
                                                                 and enhancing the natural resources base to achieve greater
                                                                 national wealth and stronger rural and regional communities.
Client                                                           AEC: OUTCOME 1—Australians have an electoral roll
Partnerships                                                     which ensures their voter entitlement and provides the basis
                                                                 for the planning of electoral events and electoral
                                                                 AGD: OUTCOME 1—An equitable and accessible system
                                                                 of federal law and justice.
                                                                 ATO: OUTCOME 1—Effectively managed and shaped
                                                                 systems that support and fund services for Australians and
Customer &                                                       give effect to social and economic policy through the tax


                                                                 DOCITA: OUTCOME 2—A competitive and sustainable

                                                                 advantage in the global information economy.
                                                                 DEST: OUTCOME 1—School systems provide their
                                                                 students with high quality foundation skills and learning
                                                                 OUTCOME 2—Post-school education and training
                                                                 providers assist individuals to achieve relevant skills and
People                                                           learning outcomes for work and life.
                                                                 OUTCOME 3—Australian institutions advance the
                                                                 knowledge base, contribute to the national innovation system
                                                                 and participate effectively in the global development of
                                                                 knowledge and skills.
                                                                 DEWR: OUTCOME 1—An efficient and equitable labour
                                                                 market that links people to jobs and promotes the transition
Cost- efficiency                                                 from welfare to work.
                                                                 Finance: OUTCOME 2—Improved and more efficient
                                                                 government operations.
                                                                 DFAT: OUTCOME 2—Australians informed about and
                                                                 provided access to consular and passport services in Australia
                                                                 and overseas.
                                                                 DHA: OUTCOME 3—Improved and more efficient
Innovation         Centrelink delivers                           government operations.
                     a wide range of                             OUTCOME 6—Hearing Services.
                   outputs on behalf of                          DIMIA: OUTCOME 1—Lawful and orderly entry and stay
                     client agencies                             of people.
                                                                 DOTARS: PORTFOLIO OUTCOME—Linking Australia
                                                                 through transport and regional services.
                                                                 DVA: OUTCOME 1—Eligible veterans, their war
Best                                                             widows/widowers, and dependants have access to
practice                                                         appropriate compensation and income support in recognition
                                                                 of the effects of war service.
                                                                 OUTCOME 4—The needs of the veteran community are
                                                                 identified, members of the community are informed about
                                                                 available community and specific services and they are able
                                                                 to access such services.
Our goals and priorities
There are six goals and a range of supporting priorities that will ensure Centrelink achieves its mission.

TABLE 1: Our goals and priorities
              GOALS                                            PRIORITIES
                                      Client partnerships
To build partnerships with client agencies that
                                               Ensuring the integrity of the social security
deliver the required results and provide value system
for money
                                 Customer and community
                                             Helping people move forward
                                             Working in partnership with communities
To increase customer and community
                                             and business
involvement and satisfaction with services   Making Centrelink even more responsive
                                             to citizens and business

                                      Centrelink people
To provide Centrelink’s people with
confidence, knowledge, skills and tools to        Supporting our staff and agents to achieve our
meet the challenges of current and future         business objectives

business and their own career aspirations

To manage our business efficiently and return Giving the Government confidence in its
a dividend to the Government                  investment and transparency in its costs

To provide innovative and personalised       Supporting and promoting innovation and
solutions, consistent with government policy creativity in Centrelink people

                                         Best practice
To be first choice and benchmarked as the         Ensuring effective internal and external
best practice in service delivery                 governance and accountability arrangements

Risk management
The application of risk management principles enables Centrelink to improve the way it controls and manages its
business. Through risk documentation, Centrelink is able to provide assurance to its stakeholders about business control
and strategy development.

During 2001–02 Centrelink continued to integrate and improve its risk management skills and abilities through:

•   integration of risk management into business planning processes;

•   development of a risk register database;

•   completion of more than 57 risk assessment workshops; and

•   requirements for risk management data in many key components of the business.
Risk management support services continue to be provided to teams and leaders throughout Centrelink. This assists with
the integration of risk management principles and processes into business practices. Centrelink will continue to look for
opportunities to demonstrate its ability to meet stakeholder expectations through the provision of risk-based assurance

Our services
FIGURE 2: Our services

Note: Numbers in brackets relate to client agencies’ respective outputs as outlined in 2001–02 Portfolio Budget

A key to abbreviations used in this figure appears on page 16.

Newstart Allowance (Output Group 3.1)
Mature Age Allowance (Output Group 3.1)
Partner Allowance (Output Group 3.1)
Widow Allowance (Output Group 3.1)
Employment Entry Payment (Output Group 3.1)
Education Entry Payment (Output Group 3.1)
Mutual Obligation (Output Group 3.1) (DEWR 1.2.8)
Centrelink Employer Contact (Output Group 3.1)
Special Employment Advance (Output Group 3.1)
Advance Payments (Output Group 3.1)
Community Development Employment Project Participant Supplement (Output Group 3.1)
Preparing for Work Agreements (Output Group 3.1) (joint with DEWR)
Job Seeker Registration (Output 1.2.1)
Application of the Job Seeker Classification Instrument (Output 1.2.1)
Enrolment for Job Matching Services (Output 1.2.1)
Referral to Job Search Training (Output 1.2.1)
Referral to Intensive Assistance (Output 1.2.1)
Referral to New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (Output 1.2.1)
Referral to Self Employment Development Providers (Output 1.2.1)
Special Needs Assessment (Output 1.2.1)
Issue Wage Assistance Cards (Output 1.2.9)
Referral to Work for the Dole (Output 1.2.8)
Return to Work Program (Output 1.2.10)
Maintenance of Employment Self Help Facilities (Output 1.2.3)
Occupational Psychologists (Output 1.2.2)
Community Support Program (Output 1.2.5)
Indigenous Employment Program (Output 1.2.9)
Promotion of New Apprenticeships
 (Output Group 2.2)
Referral to New Apprenticeships Access Programme (Output Group 2.2)
Referral to Advanced English for Migrants Programme (Output Group 2.3)
Referral to Literacy and Numeracy Programme (Output Group 2.3)
Referral to National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition Courses (Output Group 3.2)

Youth Allowance (Output Group 1.2)
Austudy Payment (Output Group 1.2)
Pensioner Education Supplement (Output Group 3.1)
Student Financial Supplement Scheme
 (Output Group 1.2)
Reconnect Program (Output Group 1.2)
Fares Allowance (Output Group 1.2)
Youth and Student Line for Youth Allowance and Austudy Payment Enquiries
Parent Liaison Service (Output Group 1.2)
ABSTUDY (including Living Allowance and Incidental Allowance) (Output Groups 1.2 and 2.1)
Student Financial Supplement (Loans) Scheme for ABSTUDY customers (Output Group 2.1)
Assistance for Isolated Children (including Distance Education Allowance, Second Home Allowance and Board &
 Additional Board Allowance)
 (Output Group 1.2)
ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement (Output Groups 1.2 and 2.1)
Referral to Jobs Pathway Programme (Output Group 2.3)
Referral to Job Placement, Employment and Training (Output Group 2.3)
Referral to Young Offenders’ Pilot Programme
 (Output Group 2.3)
Career Information Centres (Output Group 2.3)
Career Counselling (Output Group 2.3)
Referral to Green Corps (Output Group 2.4)

Age Pension (Output Group 3.4)
Wife Pension (Output Group 3.4)
Widow B Pension (Output Group 3.4)
Pension Loans Scheme (Output Group 3.4)
Pension Bonus Scheme (Output Group 3.4)
Financial Information Service* (Output Group 3.4)
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
 (Output Group 2.2)
Pension Concession Card* (Output Group 2.2)
Pharmaceutical Allowance* (Output Group 2.2)
Telephone Allowance* (Output Group 2.2)
Bereavement Allowance* (Output Group 3.1)
Nominee Arrangements*
* Managed by Retirement Community Segmentfor all customers

Income Assessment for Residential Care Fees (Administered Item 3)
Veterans’ Information and Community Support Services in selected sites (Output 4.1)

Family Tax Benefit (parts A&B) (Output Group 1.1)
Maternity Allowance (Output Group 1.1)
Maternity Immunisation Allowance
  (Output Group 1.1)
Double Orphan Pension (Output Group 1.1)
Child Support registrations (Output Group 1.3)
Child Care Benefit (Output Group 1.4)
Family Adjustment Payment (Output Group 1.1)
Parenting Payment (single and partnered) (Output Group 3.1)
Jobs, Education and Training (Output Group 3.1)
Concession Cards (Output Group 2.2)

Disability Support Pension (Output Group 3.2)
Wife Pension (Output Group 3.2)
Newstart Allowance (Incapacitated)
  (Output Group 3.1)
Youth Allowance (Incapacitated) (Output Group 3.1)
Sickness Allowance (Output Group 3.2)
Mobility Allowance (Output Group 3.2)
Disability Services (Output Group 3.2)
Disability Employment Services (Output Group 3.2)
Carer Payment (Output Group 3.3)
Carer Allowance (Output Group 3.3)
Employment Services for Special Groups (People with Disabilities) (Output 1.2.1)
Disabled Apprentice Wage (Output 2.2)
Commonwealth Carelink Program (Administered Program)
Hearing Services (Outcome 6, Administered Item 1)

Remote Area Allowance (Output Group 2.1)
Rent Assistance (Output Group 2.1)
Retirement Assistance for Farmers (Output Group 3.4)
Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment (Output 1)
Farm Help (Output 1)
Dairy Exit Program (Output 1)
Ex-Gratia Payments for Farmers (Output 1)*
Sugar Industry Assistance Package (Output 1)*
Flood Relief Package (Output 1)
* In conjunction with Finance.

Ex-Gratia Payments for Farmers (Output 2.1.3)*
* In conjunction with AFFA.

Rural Transaction Centres (Administered Program 1.1)
Commonwealth Flood Assistance Package—Business Grants (Administered Program 1.1)
Other services
Centrelink Agents
Service Tasmania
WA Telecentres
Centrelink Access Points

Multicultural Service Officer Program
Centrelink Multilingual Call
Interpreter and Translation Services
Special Benefit* (Output Group 3.1)

Crisis Payment* (Output Group 3.1)
* Managed by Multicultural Community Segment for all customers.

Assurance of Support (Output 1.1)
Pilot Work Right Information Line (Output 1.3)
Employers’ Work Right Checking Line (Output 1.3)

Indigenous Service Officers (community development)
Indigenous Customer Service Officers (customer contact)
Community Agents
Interpreter Services
Indigenous Service Units
Indigenous Call Centres
Indigenous Employment Outreach Officers
Remote Visiting Teams

Social Work Services for customers with difficult personal and family issues
Domestic and Family Violence Policy and Procedures
Child Support exemptions
Assessment of Youth Allowance for young people in situations of extreme family breakdown
Assessment of Crisis Payment for people leaving situations of domestic violence
Social Work Services for customers facing multiple barriers to participation

Portability of payments
International agreements
Foreign pension access and assessment

Centrelink Community Officers and other assistance for homeless customers
Customer Confirmation Service
Electoral Roll data update (Output 1.1.2)
Family Law Online (Output 1.3)
Indigenous Tax Time Program (Output 1.1)
Health Care and other Customer Concessions (Output Group 2.2)
Corporate Services
Australian Passport Information Service Call Centre (Output 2.1.2)
Rent Deduction Scheme
Service Tasmania
Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme (Administered Program 2.1)
Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme (Administered Program 2.1)


            AEC              Australian Electoral Commission
            AFFA             Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry–Australia
            AGD              Attorney-General’s Department
            ATO              Australian Taxation Office
            DEST             Department of Education Science and Training
                             Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs
                             (renamed Department of Education, Science and Training in November 2001)
          DEWR               Department of Employment and Workplace Relations
                             Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business
                             (renamed Department of Employment and Workplace Relations in November 2001)
              DFAT                      Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

               DHA                      Department of Health and Ageing

              DIMIA                     Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs

            DOCITA                      Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

            DOTARS                      Department of Transport and Regional Services

               DVA                      Department of Veterans’ Affairs

               FaCS                     Department of Family and Community Services

             Finance                    Department of Finance and Administration

Our business
Centrelink contributes to the social and economic outcomes set by the Government by delivering services on behalf of 25
client agencies. These cover a wide range of outputs in the form of products and services. For the full range of products
and services provided by Centrelink, see Figure 2, page 13.

TABLE 2: Our business operations

FUNCTIONS: Income support, other                                     2001–02                 2000–01
payments and referral services

Our dimensions

Service delivery points                                              Over 1 000 Australia Over 1 000 Australia
                                                                     wide                    wide

Number of employees                                                  24 641                  24 356

Number of client agencies                                            25 client agencies(a)   20 client agencies

Payments on behalf of client agencies                                Approx. $53.4           Approx. $51.7
                                                                     billion                 billion

Mainframe online transactions                                        Approx. 3.7 billion     Approx. 3.4 billion

Our customers

Number of customers                                                  6.4 million             6.3 million

Number of individual entitlements                                    9.5 million             9.3 million

Letters to customers                                                 Approx. 96.1 million Approx. 97.3 million

Home visit reviews                                                   35 701                  65 267

New claims granted                                                   3.2 million             5.2 million(b)

Successful telephone calls                                           Approx. 23.3 million Approx. 22.5 million

Internet web page views                                              15 million              9 million

(a) State and Territory Housing Authorities are counted as separate agencies.

(b) New claims lodged.
A recent review by the Boston Consulting Group concluded Centrelink has delivered efficiency gains of around 21 per
cent since its establishment, an improvement that compares favourably with gains achieved by leading private sector
network businesses over the same period.

TABLE 3: Our network

Customer Service Centres (incorporating the Family Assistance Office)                               314
Centrelink Agents                                                                                   320
Rural Visiting Services                                                              In identified locations as required
Separate Specialist Service Centres                                                                  32
Call Centres                                                                                         27
Veteran Information Services                                                                         13
Service Tasmania Centres                                                                             11
Rural Transaction Centres                                                                            29
Access Points                                                                                       127
Area Support Offices                                                                                 15
National Support Office                                                                              1


Working in partnership with communities and business is essential to the success of the strategies outlined in Centrelink’s
National Rural and Regional Servicing Strategy. Centrelink relies on the partnership and goodwill of individual
community organizations, which provide Agent and Access Point services in rural and remote Australia on Centrelink’s
behalf. To assist in the delivery of better service to these parts of Australia, Centrelink is providing some communities
with additional infrastructure capability and a standard suite of IT. Under the Servicing Strategy, Centrelink has also
expanded its Agent and Access Point network to 174 Agent sites and 127 Access Points. Combined with 146 Indigenous
Community Agents, Centrelink has representation in over 440 rural and remote communities Australia-wide.
As part of Centrelink’s ongoing commitment to improving service delivery to rural and remote Australia, we also support
and participate in the Rural Transaction Centres Program administered by the Department of Transport and Regional
Services. The Program provides funds to help small rural communities establish facilities, which give local access to a
range of services including financial services, Australia Post, phone, fax, the internet and Medicare easyclaim.
Organisational chart
FIGURE 3: Our organisational chart
                                        MINISTER FOR FAMILY &
                                        COMMUNITY SERVICES
Chief Auditor                           BOARD OF MANAGEMENT
Organisational & Performance                                                Area Managers
IT & Financial Audit                    CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER             General Manager Centrelink
                                        Sue Vardon                          Call
Strategic Planning                                                          CUSTOMER SERVICES
Chief Customer Officer
Executive & Board Support

CIO                              Deputy CEO                 Deputy CEO                  Deputy CEO
Digital Business                 Business                   Business Capability         Customer Service
Jane Treadwell                   Graham Bashford            Paul Hickey                 Pat Turner
             OPERATIONS          SERVICE                    People Management           Service Improvement
             Business Delivery   INTEGRATION SHOP           Virtual College             Team
             Shared Technical    Service Integration Show   Business Planning           Indigenous Services
             Services            Gateway                                                Strategic Services
                                                            Financial Services
             Business &          Business Practices                                     (Customer Service)
                                                            Resource Management
             Information         Business Integration
                                                            Business Alliance &
             Protection          Business Transition        Contracts
             BUSINESS            COMMUNITY                  Communication, Media
             ADVANCEMENT         SEGMENT TEAMS              & Marketing
             Relationship &      Disability & Carers        Risk & Business
                                 Youth & Students           Assurance
             Change &
                                 Internal Governance        Detection & Review
                                 Families                   Debt Services

             Architecture        Rural & Housing            CENTRELINK CALL
             I&T Strategy        Psychological Services     Operations
             BUSINESS            Employment Services        Future Capability
             SERVICES            Multicultural Services     Centrelink Call I&T
                                 Social Work Services       CALL CENTRES
                                 Retirement                 National Manager Area
                                 International Services     Network
                                 CLIENT                     Property & Services
                                 Client Partnership Teams
                                 Business Development
                                 Major Projects Group
                                 Community Sector
Corporate governance framework
Centrelink operates under the direction of a Board of Management. Internally, it is governed by a ‘Guiding Coalition’.
There are clearly designated roles for the Board of Management and the Guiding Coalition.

A ‘Corporate Governance Handbook’ and a condensed version, Board Talk, support Board of Management operations
and increase the understanding of governance structures within Centrelink. These publications are available to all staff.

Guiding Coalition
The Guiding Coalition is Centrelink’s internal ‘corporate board’. It includes all Centrelink Senior Executive Service
officers and meets every six to eight weeks to discuss strategic issues of importance as well as make decisions about
Centrelink’s management and business directions. Meetings are held in Canberra.

Management committees

The Business Improvement Committee assists the Guiding Coalition. The Committee’s primary role is to ensure the most
effective and efficient use of project and national support maintenance program funds within Centrelink.

Board of Management
Board structure

During 2001–02, Centrelink’s Board of Management included:

•   the Chairman;

•   three part-time non-Executive Directors;

•   two non-voting members who were client department secretaries (part-year only); and

•   the Centrelink CEO (the sole ‘Executive’ Board member).

Board Committees

Three Board of Management committees assist the Board in its work.

•   The Audit Committee ensures that Centrelink operates with proper financial management and internal controls.

•   The Information and Technology (I&T) Committee provides advice and direction on strategic I&T issues.

•   The Quality Committee is responsible for assuring the Board that Centrelink is delivering services that will see it
    remain as the ‘first choice’ for the Government and customers, and eventually be benchmarked as best practice in
    service delivery.
Financial summary
Table 4: Centrelink’s net operating result 2001–02 and 2000–01
                                                2001–02           2000–01    % Change
                                                   $’000            $’000           %
Revenue (net of dividend)                      1 854 740      1 773 297          4.59
Expenses                                       1 847 782      1 747 289          5.75
Net operating result                               6 958           26 008      (73.25)

TABLE 5: Statement of financial position—assets and liabilities
                                                2001–02           2000–01    % Change
                                                   $’000            $’000          %
Cash                                            134 445           124 099        8.34
Receivables                                       21 660           20 495        5.68
Total financial assets                          156 105           144 594        7.96
Property, plant and equipment                   325 516           302 362        7.66
Other non-financial assets                        56 425           47 648       18.42
Total non-financial assets                      381 941           350 010        9.12
Total assets                                    538 046           494 604        8.78

Loans                                                  0           18 699       (100)
Employee provisions                             332 553           320 433        3.78
Payables                                          96 151           78 025       23.23
Total Liabilities                               428 704           417 157        2.77
Total equity                                    109 342            77 447       41.18

TABLE 6: Statement of cash flow
                                                2001–02           2000–01    % Change
                                                  $’000             $’000           %
Net cash from operating activities               88 870           136 819       35.05
Net cash used by investing activities           (84 075)          (82 336)       2.11
Net cash from financing activities                 5 551           14 715       62.28
Net increase/(decrease) in cash                  10 346            69 198       85.05

Up by $43.4 million


Up to $11.5 million


Up by $31.9 million


Down by $58.9 million

Operating result
 Revenue and expenditure increased primarily as a result of the introduction of the Australians Working Together
    (AWT) initiative, announced by the Government in the 200102 Budget.

Statement of financial position
Total assets increased by $43.4 million as a result of:

 the annual asset replacement program, including renewal of software licences and near completion of a full rollout of
    personal computers;

•   capitalisation of internally developed software related to Budget initiatives and other productivity improvement
    initiatives; and

 an increase in prepayments to a number of suppliers to achieve more favourable terms and conditions for the

Total liabilities increased by $11.5 million because of:

 increased employee provisions associated with the higher staff numbers required to implement new government

•   payables in June including high asset acquisitions, particularly related to personal computers and office fitout, and the
    marketing of the life events products; and

 offset by the full acquittal of the loan from Government, two years ahead of schedule.

Equity increased by $31.9 million as a result of:

 the operating surplus and $24.3 million equity injection from Government to fund new capital to support the
    introduction of AWT and other initiatives.
Statement of cash flow
Net increase in cash for the year is down by $58.9 million, primarily due to:

 a lower operating surplus for the year;

•   comparatively higher levels of leave taken and paid in 200102 compared with 200001; and

 repayment of borrowings in June 2002.

TABLE 7: Government dividend requirements

                                                                2001–02          2000–01

                                                                $million          $million
Standard                                                             76.0             61.0
Special                                                            139.4            139.4
IT infrastructure                                                    24.8             24.8
Total                                                              240.2            225.2


Up by $15.0 million

TABLE 8: Revenue to Centrelink 2001–02

Source of revenue                                                                    $’000

Department of Family and Community Services                                      1 679 126

Department of Employment and Workplace Relations                                  121 642

Department of Education Science and Training                                        12 913

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry–Australia                          6 448

Department of Health and Ageing                                                      3 710

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade                                              2 492

Department of Transport and Regional Services                                        1 718

Attorney-General's Department                                                        1 547

Child Support Agency                                                                  748

Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous                               604

Department of Finance and Administration                                              459

Department of Veterans' Affairs                                                       448

Australian Taxation Office                                                            176
Australian Dairy Corporation                                                                                                     92

Australian Electoral Commission                                                                                                  53

Other revenue                                                                                                              22 564

Total revenue(a)                                                                                                       1 854 740

(a) Represents all revenue received, and includes revenue specified within the Business Partnership Agreements and revenue for services delivered outside those Agreements.

Revenue from all sources other than agencies listed above is included under ‘Other revenue’.

Prescribed efficiency dividends
In line with previous years, Centrelink delivered government efficiency dividends in the form of a reduction in revenue
from client agencies.

Total efficiency dividends returned to government increased by $15 million dollars compared to 2000–01.

Centrelink is subject to three separate dividends:

•   the standard efficiency dividend of 1 per cent of total net running costs;

•   the special efficiency dividend, applied in recognition of Centrelink’s ability to remove duplication and streamline
    government services previously provided by a range of government agencies; and

•   the IT infrastructure efficiency dividend.

Since its inception Centrelink has returned a total of $826.4 million in efficiency dividends to the Government.

The Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS) was Centrelink’s major source of revenue, providing
90.53 per cent of Centrelink’s overall revenue. Centrelink’s operating revenue is primarily derived from those client
agencies with whom Centrelink has Business Partnership Agreements. Centrelink is paid in accordance with
arrangements specified in these Agreements for the delivery of services.

Performance at a glance

Client partnerships
Goal                                 To build partnerships with client agencies that deliver the required results and provide value for
Priority                             Ensuring the integrity of the social security system
Results                    FIGURE 4: Client partnership performance
                           Centrelink met most of the major client agency key performance indicators (KPIs) with
                           significant improvements overall. In 2001–02 Centrelink achieved a result of 91 per cent
                           representing a 14 per cent increase on the previous year’s result of 77 per cent.

                           Recent business partnership negotiations have resulted in the replacement of some of these
                           KPIs with a smaller number of outcome–focused measures.
Key achievements           •   successfully prepared for the introduction of AWT measures;
                           •   signed a landmark five-year Memorandum of Understanding with AFFA;
                           •   achieved a higher percentage of overall client agency KPIs;
                           •   signed off a new agency Business Assurance Framework agreement with FaCS;
                            developed Customer Confirmation Online System for customer concession entitlements;
                            commenced phase 2 of the Family Tax IT project.
Key challenges             •   maintaining and improving current performance results for all client agencies;
                           •   refining and agreeing partnership with FaCS;
                           •   implementing the new funding model for FaCS, DEWR and DEST; and
                            reviewing AWT support tools.



Mango farmers in north and far north Queensland are helping to ensure taxpayers’ money is well spent. Each picking
season farmers are asked to help Centrelink with its compliance responsibilities by verifying the earnings of casual fruit
pickers who are also receiving assistance from Centrelink.

Mangos are grown commercially in the dry tropics and there are strong harvests each year taken from farms in Mareeba,
west of Cairns, and the Burdekin, based in Ayr south of Townsville.

‘It was the busiest time of the year for farmers,’ said Area Central and Northern Queensland Compliance Manager John

‘There can be hundreds of people employed on a casual basis over the picking season in the Burdekin and data-matching
is one way Centrelink makes sure customers are receiving their correct entitlements.’

The farmers are asked to confirm start and end dates of employment and the amount of money earned, including overtime.
In this way, they are an essential part of Centrelink’s debt prevention strategy, and the efforts of farmers are certainly
appreciated during this busy season.

John said that workers can contribute to simplifying the process. ‘Casual fruit pickers should declare the gross amount of
money they earn including overtime and provide Centrelink with a copy of their payslips when lodging Newstart
Allowance or Youth Allowance forms,’ he said.

Centrelink has been trialling various public information strategies in north Queensland over the past 12 months to
publicise these debt prevention measures.
‘Farmers are now helping to deliver this message directly to pickers, reducing their workload and ours,‘ John added,
between bites of a juicy mango.

Customer and community

Goal                      To increase customer and community involvement and satisfaction with services

Priorities                Helping people move forward

                          Working in partnership with communities and business

                          Making Centrelink even more responsive to citizens and business

Results                   FIGURE 5: Customer and community performance

                          Overall customer satisfaction with the quality of Centrelink’s people, services and information
                          is 75 per cent. This is 1 per cent lower than the record high achieved in 2000. Customer Service
                          Centre satisfaction increased by 5.7 per cent from the previous year, with a result of
                          84.3 per cent for 2001. Call Centre satisfaction increased by 10.2 per cent from the previous
                          year with a result of 85.3 per cent. International services remains exceptionally high at
                          94 per cent, down 3 per cent from the previous year.

Key achievements          •   increased customer satisfaction with Centrelink service provided by both Customer Service
                              Centres and Call Centres;

                          •   streamlined and simplified processes to improve the customer’s experience;

                          •   expanded the rural and regional services network to rural and remote communities;

                          •   implemented flexible banking and payment structures to assist Indigenous communities;

                           piloted the Personal Adviser role and started recruitment, training and systems support
                              changes to ensure smooth AWT implementation; and

                           created supportive architecture and business rules with over 250 system changes to support
                              AWT implementation.

Key challenges            •   maintaining and enhancing customer satisfaction results;

                          •   developing service offers more closely tailored to the needs of particular customer groups;

                          •   engaging community providers to establish improved referral service capability nationally;

                          •   proving Centrelink’s role is effective in implementing AWT; and

                           addressing changing customer expectations resulting from increased use of technologies
                              such as Short Message Service, internet and other services in the community.


In the past, information material for customers from Centrelink tended to reflect individual programs, payments and
services. This meant that customers needed to know the right questions to ask to get the information they needed.
Centrelink’s new public information material is now based on our service delivery model. Customers need only be
familiar with their own circumstances to access the range of options available to them through Centrelink's e-Reference
This change represents a commitment to the community that Centrelink will manage the complexities of legislation for
the customer, on behalf of the Government and allow staff to provide a more accurate and higher quality service to the



Michelle* was 16 years old, pregnant and had recently left her parents’ home after numerous arguments. She had dropped
out of school the year before and her prospects for further study, work or training were very poor. By the time she saw the
Centrelink Social Worker, Michelle was depressed and suicidal, unable to see any future for herself.
The Social Worker contacted Anglicare Health Connections for Youth who immediately offered the high level of support
that Michelle needed at that time. The Centrelink Social Worker arranged income support and initially counselled
Michelle about her options. The Social Worker continues to work closely with the Anglicare Youth Worker, who found
accommodation for Michelle until long-term housing was available. Regular case consultations between the agencies
have been effective in providing a high level of support to this at risk young woman.
Three months later, Michelle reports that she feels emotionally stronger, and is more confident and optimistic. Michelle
says the initial support from the Centrelink Social Worker and the ongoing assistance from the Anglicare Youth Worker,
have been really important in turning her life around.

* A fictitious name has been used in this case study to protect the individual’s identity but is a record of a

Personal Adviser’s discussion



The sudden collapse of Ansett Airlines had a profound impact across the Australian community. It left tens of thousands
of people either out of work or with an uncertain future, deprived some businesses of their livelihood, and left the
travelling public inconvenienced and, in some cases, stranded mid-travel.
Centrelink, as the gateway for many government payments and services and with extensive experience in dealing with
large-scale redundancy and emergency situations, was called on to play a major part in the Federal Government’s
response to the crisis.
By 9.00 am on the day of the collapse, Centrelink Call Centres started taking calls on a helpline for stranded travellers. In
the majority of cases, Call Centre staff were able to advise customers of their options. In some cases, emergency financial
assistance was required to get customers home. In cases like this, where this immediate assistance was needed, customers
were referred to Customer Service Centres to organise the payment of expenses such as hotel bills. Centrelink on behalf of
the Department of Transport and Regional Services, also assisted with car and boat hire and chartering buses and planes,
including Defence aircraft, to return stranded passengers home.
Additional assistance was provided by operating the Employment Services Enquiry Line, from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm, seven
days a week. Some local Customer Service Centres also stayed open for the first few weekends.
Centrelink produced a special employment kit about possible entitlements and also worked closely with local authorities
and developed a unique agreement with the Australian Council of Trade Unions to provide information at 100 entitlement
seminars across the country.

Centrelink people

Goal                   To provide Centrelink people with confidence, knowledge, skills and tools to meet the challenges of
                       current and future business and their own career aspirations

Priority               Supporting our staff and agents to achieve our business objectives

Results                FIGURE 6: Centrelink people performance

                       Following the excellent result in the previous financial year, there has been a levelling off with a
                       slight reduction of 0.81 per cent in performance against the people measures in the Balanced

                       Note: 1999–2000 results have been calculated using 2001–02 targets to maintain relativities.

Key                    •   developed a Career Pathways Map for Centrelink employees to show how career paths and
achievements               options are linked by nationally recognised learning;

                       •   created the Centrelink Capability Index to allow Centrelink to monitor key staff indicators in the
                           areas of availability, commitment and skills; and

                       •   established a national panel of providers to support competency-based recruitment services for
                           the selection of over 450 Personal Advisers as part of AWT.

Key challenges     •       negotiating Centrelink’s next Workplace Bargaining Agreement;

                   •       implementing workforce planning throughout Centrelink’s network;

                   •       developing a people management strategy;

                   •       developing a national recruitment strategy;

                   •       developing a remuneration strategy; and

                   •       implementing job redesign initiatives for 15 000 staff.



Peter Godfrey joined Centrelink under the Graduate Administrative Assistant Scheme and has been working in Brisbane
Call Centre as a Customer Service Officer since 1993. Peter is a quadriplegic and uses an electric wheelchair.

The Call Centre is an ideal environment for Peter and he has had various system-based tools adapted to assist him in
performing his duties. He operates keyboard and telephone equipment with a specially developed mouthpiece rod fitted to
his headset. Peter also uses Dragon Dictate, a voice activated command system linked to his computer.

Peter has made significant contributions to customer service. He knows a lot about Family Assistance Office entitlements,
and provides a range of technical support to his colleagues as the Family Assistance Office scripts development officer
and Subject Matter Expert, accredited Technical Support Officer and Family Assistance Office quality checker. He also
assists fellow staff with training in navigation of PC-based products. As well as offering his technical expertise, Peter has
represented staff in Brisbane Call Centre’s Strategic Leadership Group and has also contributed to a Workplace Diversity
video being produced for Centrelink.

Peter is a high achiever whose colleagues see as an inspiration. His flexible approach and sense of humour reflect his
commitment to overcoming the personal challenges of his disability.


Centrelink has developed a Career Pathways Map showing how career paths and options are linked by nationally
recognised qualifications. This is the first time a large public sector organisation has used qualifications developed by the
Australian National Training Authority to develop a career pathways map that indicates the skills and knowledge required
to further employees’ work and career aspirations.

FIGURE 7: THE VISION: Career pathways within Centrelink

Key for Career Pathways Vision
Adv                   Advanced
ARO                   Authorised Review Officer
BS                    Business Services
Bus                   Business
CAO                   Complex Assessment Officer
CDO                   Centrelink Disability Officer
CS                    Customer Service
Deg                   Degree
Dev Prog              Development Program
Dip                   Diploma
Fin                   Finance
FISO                  Financial Information Services Officer
FLM                   Frontline Management
Gov                   Government
Grad Cert             Graduate Certificate
HR                    Human Resources
I&T                   Information and Technology
ISO                   Indigenous Services Officer
JET                   Jobs Education & Training
L’ship                Leadership
Mgr                   Manager
Mngment               Management
MSO                   Multicultural Services Officer
Qual                  Qualification
SES                   Senior Executive Service
VCW   Value Creation Workshop

Goal                  To manage our business efficiently and return a dividend to the Government

Priority              Giving the Government confidence in its investment and transparency in its costs

Results               FIGURE 8: Cost-efficiency

                      The results show the 2001–02 operating performance and the end of year cash and equity positions
                      compared to the previous two years.

Key                   •   achieved an operating surplus of $6.96 million;
                      •   returned to Government all required efficiency dividends totalling $240.2 million; and

                      •   achieved a positive cash position of $134.45 million.

Key challenges        •   managing Comcare Australia premium, especially high-cost claims;

                      •   refining and building on work completed to date on strategic cost management methodologies;

                      •   finalising the new external funding model in partnership with client agencies and the Department
                          of Finance and Administration before the 200304 Budget;

                       further developing Call Centre automation opportunities; and

                       achieving efficiencies through streamlined processes, customer profiling and accounts delivered
                          across multiple channels.



Centrelink actively pursues ways to reduce the volume of mail sent to customers and increase the quality of information in
them. In 200102, several initiatives reduced overall mail costs through more efficient use of resources and provided a
better service for customers.
A number of Centrelink’s forms and letters were redesigned and incorporated into single mailouts, for example, Newstart
Allowance claim forms have been redesigned as a letter, which can be issued in one envelope together with a
statement-style letter. This reduced the cost of Newstart Allowance claim form postage by 25 per cent or around $1
million a year. Centrelink will progressively reformat the full range of Newstart Allowance claim forms (12 different
types) and other Centrelink letters and forms to streamline mail to customers.
Other important initiatives under way are:

•   Launching the Centrelink Letters Principles to provide a comprehensive framework for all mail strategies, which
    includes business and operational risk assessment and effective stakeholder management.

•   Reducing the number of customer letters confirming customer initiated appointments with Centrelink. This is
    expected to result in an estimated reduction of 1.2 million letters a year.

•   Streamlining letters sent to job seeker customers and mapping current letter processes to core elements of service
    delivery. This is to examine: the cost of dealing with customer contact/rework after they receive letters; the system
   induced conditions, which result in multiple letters to customers; and opportunities to improve the quality and reduce
   the volume and cost of customer mail.

 Developing an automated Paper Channel Management Information System to provide letters data to the desktop and
   help with better management of customer mail activities.


Goal                 To provide innovative and personalised solutions, consistent with government policy

Priority             Supporting and promoting innovation and creativity in Centrelink people

Key                  CentreThink & Ideas Bank
                     CentreThink provides a forum for staff to discuss, promote and share ideas for improving
                     Centrelink. CentreThink is available to staff at all levels of the organisation, and at all sites.

                     During the last six months of 2001–02, Ideas Bank was monitored full-time, which has resulted in
                     greater efficiency in response times and an increase in the number of ideas being finalised.

                     Centrelink recently reviewed the processes for Ideas Bank and set standard response times (five
                     days for administrator update, 28 days finalisation from date submitted).

                     Increased response times and greater staff functionality of the Ideas Bank system is expected to
                     increase staff interest and the number of ideas submitted. Approximately 15 ideas have already been
                     implemented nationally, with over 100 being supported for further development.



In 2001–02 an important initiative targeted at improving services to young people and students was a trial of a Short
Messaging Service (SMS). The trial aimed to help young job seekers and students meet Centrelink’s administrative
requirements, reduce unnecessary customer contact, and resolve short-term cancellations and suspensions of entitlement,
before customer payments are affected.

In June 2002 around 300 youth and student customers were sent an SMS message to remind them of appointments and,
form lodgement requirements, to confirm payment delivery or to alert them to a decision to cancel or suspend them from
payment. Initial customer reaction was positive, with several customers not selected for the trial asking to be included.
Best Practice

Goal                 To be first choice and benchmarked as the best practice in service delivery

Priority             Ensuring effective internal and external governance and accountability arrangements

Key                  Fraud control
                     Centrelink is recognised around the world for expertise in fraud control. Specialised staff are sought
                     as consultants to assist in developing fraud programs for Australian and international organisations.

                     During 200102, Centrelink engaged in the following arrangements.

                     •   Centrelink played a key role, with IBM and the Department of Family and Community Services
                         in a consultancy study on risk management on social security schemes for the Government of
                         Hong Kong represented by the Social Welfare Department. Ray White, Detection and Review
                         lived in Hong Kong for the six-month duration of the consultancy. The consultancy was
                         considered a success by all organisations and enhanced Centrelink’s reputation around the world
                         for its expertise in fraud control.

                     •   Brian O’Malley, Detection and Review, completed a two-year outposting to Canada’s Human
                         Resource Development Department to assist in developing their fraud control programs.

                     •   Geoff Main and Brett Robson, Detection and Review, were attached to the Australian
                         Attorney-General’s Department to develop recommendations for improving personal
                         identification practices. A scoping paper entitled Who goes there? was produced about how to
                         manage the identification of fraud risks across the Commonwealth. The Government is currently
                         considering issues arising from the study.



The key message from research and feedback from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers was that they wanted
to see ‘something positive’. Footsteps, a national Centrelink magazine for Indigenous Peoples and communities, was the
result. The name Footsteps was chosen as Indigenous staff felt that it provided a good link to where Indigenous people
have been and where they want to go in the future.
This magazine shows that, through community partnerships and the work being done by Indigenous staff, there are often
success stories demonstrating that Centrelink is an organisation helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people to
move forward. There are many Indigenous communities involved in positive and productive activities, and Footsteps
gives them the chance to promote their achievements.


In 2001–02 Centrelink continued to work with FaCS to provide further online services to families. After consulting
customers, Centrelink introduced a service to allow families to update their income estimate online. Since 17 July 2001,
when the service was introduced, more than 50 000 income estimate updates have been sent to the Families Assistance
Office via the internet. Almost 20 per cent of these online updates were sent outside traditional business hours, between 8
pm and 11 pm.
Customer feedback on the new service was very positive, with 92 per cent of customers rating the service as either ‘easy’
or ‘very easy’ to use, and all customers surveyed saying that they would use the service again.
In an email, one customer said ‘ I would just like to express my delight in being able to update our family income estimate
on the internet. It’s so easy. Thanks again.’
From 16 May 2002 customers were also able to use the online estimator to work out their possible family assistance
payments or see how changes in their circumstances might affect their payments. Based on the results of this service,
other internet-based services are planned in the near future.


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