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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 purpose of the audit was to ascertain the extent to which financial management arrangements helped the department to achieve its objectives and the way that these could be improved in the light of the department's management reforms generally.
Elements of the Financial Management Improvement Program, and the accrual reporting framework, were at an evolutionary stage in the department. The audit therefore focused on quite fundamental financial management issues, including:
the ability of financial management systems to provide information that was timely, accurate and relevant to the needs of management and other users; and
the extent of coordination and control of financial management across departmental programs and between National and State Offices.