Our staff add value to public sector effectiveness and the independent assurance of public sector administration and accountability, applying our professional and technical leadership to have a real impact on real issues.
Special Benefit is a social security income support payment for people who are unable to support themselves or their dependents, and who are not otherwise entitled to any other income support payment. Its objective is to ensure that such people have adequate levels of income. The objective of the audit was to assess the extent to which new claims for Special Benefit had been determined in compliance with the Social Security Act, the Guide to the Act and other relevant guidelines, and whether Centrelink and FaCS had appropriate procedures to help ensure such compliance.
The audit reviewed the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement (CSHA). CSHA is a joint arrangement between the Commonwealth and the States under which both the Commonwealth and the States contribute funding in the form of grants, which are used by State Housing Authorities to provide a variety of housing assistance programs to households on low incomes and those with special needs. The overall objective of the audit was to assess and report to Parliament on how effectively the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS - formerly the Department of Social Security) administered the CSHA and to identify any areas where improvements could be made.
The ANAO conducted a project audit of Competitive Employment, Training and Placement services, part of the Disability Services Program administered by the then Department of Human Services and Health, primarily because of parliamentary concerns relating to these services. Under the Administrative Arrangements Order of 11 March 1996, the Disability Services Program is now administered by the Department of Health and Family Services.
whether the planning and implementation of the DSS Teleservice project has been adequate to ensure successful operations;
the efficiency and administrative effectiveness of Teleservice Centre management practices;
whether Teleservice Centres have been successful in delivering the anticipated improvements to client service; and
what opportunities might be available for improvement in the operation of the Centres.
An important aim of the audit was to ascertain with DSS what value could be added by identifying more administratively effective and efficient means of managing and operating their Teleservice Centre network. In addition, the ANAO considered that the experience gained and lessons learned from the introduction of Teleservice operations by DSS could improve the planning and implementation of major technology-based operational and client service initiatives in the future, both in DSS and the Australian Public Service (APS) generally.
In carrying out the audit, the ANAO undertook an extensive examination of the Teleservice environment including:
examining the experience and practices of private sector call centre operations;
reviewing the DSS Teleservice network, involving detailed discussions with departmental officers, examining files and data and observing Teleservice Centre operations; as well as
consulting a range of community groups and government agencies familiar with DSS's Teleservice Centre services.
the methods used by the Department of Social Security (DSS) to determine and allocate staff numbers to Regional Offices. It sought to ascertain whether the allocations resulting from these methods met the demands placed on Regional Offices and the scope for improvement to these methods; and
the scope for improvements to the benefit delivery process and other aspects of Regional Office operations that could lead to significant productivity gains or client service benefits.