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Support services

DVA provides services to clients their nominated representatives, ex-service organisations and service providers via a number of channels, including face-to-face, telephone, and online.

Service Charter

The DVA Service Charter provides a high-level overview of the service clients can expect from DVA, including the Department's standards and service delivery commitments.

The service charter also provides guidance to clients about their rights, and outlines how they can assist DVA to continuously improve service delivery by providing feedback about their experiences with DVA.

Client feedback

As part of our focus on being connected and responsive to our clients, DVA uses feedback to guide improvements to the delivery of services by the Department and by contracted service providers.

DVA's commitment to record and respond to client feedback continued in 2016–17. Throughout the year, training was delivered to staff on their obligations to record feedback, and the Department continued to raise awareness of the importance—to both DVA and clients—of accurately recording feedback issues.

The feedback system was enhanced in 2016–17. The improvements included the expansion of options for recording feedback, which resulted in improved reporting and analytical capability for DVA.

Changes to DVA's telephony platform in 2016–17 resulted in an increase in complaints about contacting the Department for transport bookings and other enquiries. The transitional challenges have been resolved. Although there was an overall increase in the number of recorded complaints, it is pleasing that the average time taken to resolve complaints decreased.

Table 39 shows the numbers of complaints and compliments received over the past five years.


Table 39—Complaints and compliments 2012–13 to 2016–17
  2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17
Complaints 2,031 2,021 3,013 2,288 2,845
Compliments 1,116 964 730 699 958

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In 2016–17, the three most common areas of complaints related to:

  • the service and performance of contractors or providers
  • the accessibility and responsiveness of DVA's service
  • administrative matters, including issues around 'red tape'.

The three most common areas of compliments related to:

  • the attitude of staff, including their empathy, knowledge and behaviour
  • the accessibility and responsiveness of DVA's service
  • the service and performance of contractors or providers.

DVA also recorded 321 suggestions for improvement in 2016–17, an increase compared to 286 in 2015–16. The majority of suggestions related to DVA's MyAccount online portal and were submitted by registered users who provided feedback to enhance that service.

In 2016–17, the average time taken to resolve a complaint was 11 days, which is well within the expected time frame of 28 days as stated in the DVA Service Charter. In 2015–16, the average time taken to resolve a complaint was 13 days.

Levels of satisfaction with the feedback process and its outcomes are shown in Table 40.

Table 40—Proportion of clients satisfied with the Department's response to their feedback in 2016–17 (%)
  Satisfied Neutral Dissatisfied
Conduct of the feedback process 52 46 2
Outcome of the feedback process 49 48 3

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Grants

Information on grants awarded by DVA during the period 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017 is available at Consultation and grants.

Grants administered by the Department are set out in Table 41.


Table 41—Grant programs administered by DVA in 2016–17
Title Description Program
Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) program

The BEST program is designed to support ex-service organisations' pension and welfare practitioners and advocates. It assists by offering grants to help these organisations and practitioners provide advice and assistance to the veteran and defence communities.

A BEST grant is intended to be a contribution towards an organisation's costs in providing services to the veteran and defence communities. It is not to offset all costs, and grant recipients are expected to provide in-kind or other support to their pension, welfare and advocacy officers.

There is one BEST funding round each year. Funding is for the period of the next financial year. Payment of grants is subject to previous funding being acquitted as required.

1.4
Veteran and Community Grants program

Veteran and Community Grants are available to organisations for projects that benefit veterans, their partners, widows/widowers, carers, dependants and other members of the ex-service community. Projects may also benefit the wider community.

The program supports activities and services that sustain and/or enhance health and wellbeing. It provides seeding funds for projects that support a healthy, quality lifestyle for members of the veteran community and assist them to remain living independently in their own homes. It also provides funding for initiatives that reduce social isolation, support carers and improve access to community services.

Funding rounds occur on an ongoing, rolling basis. When sufficient applications are received or a two-month period has elapsed, a funding round will be processed for the Minister's decision.

2.4
Grants-in-Aid program

The Grants-in-Aid program forms part of the Government's commitment to support the role of national ex-service organisations, which provide coordinating and representational support within the veteran and defence community.

The maximum annual grant to any national organisation is $10,000 and is subject to accountability requirements. Depending on the demand for funding and the prioritisation of all applications, part funding only may be offered. There is one funding round per year. Rounds open around March each year and approved grants are paid early in the following financial year.

2.4
Saluting Their Service program

The Saluting Their Service grants program is designed to preserve our wartime heritage and to involve communities in a wide range of activities and projects that highlight the service and sacrifice of Australia's servicemen and servicewomen in wars, conflicts and peace operations. Two categories of grants were available under the program in 2016–17:

  • Community Commemorative Grants—grants of up to $4,000 for community-based commemorative projects and activities.
  • Major Commemorative Grants—grants for commemorative projects and activities that are significant from a national, state or territory perspective.
3.1
Overseas Privately Constructed Memorial Restoration Program

The program assists Australian veterans and other individuals in restoring and preserving military unit and battle memorials that were privately constructed overseas.

3.1

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Client contact

DVA offers a range of services access points.

The Veterans' Access Network (VAN) offers general enquiry services through email, telephone calls and face-to-face visits. At 30 June 2017, there were 16 DVA-leased VAN offices and five VAN offices co-located with offices of the Department of Human Services (DHS), with DHS also offering DVA information through another 12 sites. An additional 124 access points are available through the use of agents, such as state governments. The VAN handled more than half a million calls and more than 30,000 general enquiry emails this year.

In addition to the VAN, DVA handles more than a million calls for other services such as transport booking, provision of pharmaceutical advice and health provider enquiries.

DVA offers services to 46 ADF bases through the On Base Advisory Service. Demand for the On Base Advisory Service continued during 2016–17. On Base Advisers conducted over 9,700 interviews, delivered 247 presentations and liaised with more than 1,300 Defence personnel. The service ensures that serving members can access information about DVA support, entitlements and services directly from DVA staff.

DVA has a strong digital footprint, and uses Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube. The importance of DVA's digital services continues to grow, with 5,691,910 hits on DVA's website (dva.gov.au) for the year ending 30 June 2017.

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Coordinated Client Support

The Coordinated Client Support (CCS) program is a specialised, time-limited program aimed at streamlining communication between clients and the Department. By combining a number of DVA client service models into one program, CCS provides a clear pathway for clients to access support through a primary point of contact for the whole Department.

The majority of DVA's clients are able to navigate the Department's services with minimal assistance. The type of support that the Department provides to them is categorised as Level 1.

Those who may require an additional level of support are referred to CCS, which is responsible for the coordination of services to clients requiring additional support.

Level 2 support is provided to clients who have been assessed as having complex and multiple needs but require a less intensive level of support than those assessed at Level 3. The client has a primary point of contact within CCS. This level of support provides short-term intervention with a view to building capacity to transition to a business-as-usual environment.

Level 3 support is provided to clients who have been assessed as having complex and multiple needs. These clients often have mental and physical injuries resulting from service, and have been identified as requiring intensive support to access multiple services across the Department and other agencies or organisations. The client has a primary point of contact within CCS. This level of support provides intervention with a view to building capacity to transition to Level 2, but some clients may remain within the program for the long term.

Clients who are identified as requiring additional support are referred to CCS via a departmental staff member, an ex-service organisation, the ADF or a nominated representative.

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Online services

DVA provides an increasingly broad range of online services to clients, their nominated representatives, ex-service organisations and service providers. This includes services through MyService, MyAccount and myGov.

In 2016–17, in partnership with DHS, DVA redesigned its online claiming portal for clients who enlisted on or after 1 July 2004. MyService is a simple, intuitive and innovative digital solution developed with DHS. The cross-agency collaboration is aligned with the Government's Digital Service Standard and was co-designed with clients.

Through links with the Department of Defence and the Attorney-General's Department's Document Verification Service, MyService provides a fully digital claims process that includes online verification of identity. By using known information, MyService can reduce the number of questions asked of claimants from 36 to seven.

In a private beta trial, commencing in late 2016, 54 claims were processed within a mean processing time of 74 days each, considerably better than the mean processing time of 117 days achieved in 2015–16. Following the private beta, MyService became publicly available, as a public beta, from 1 April 2017. The Department is building additional features into the service, which will be expanded in 2018 to include additional claimants.

MyAccount continues to offer a variety of online services for clients, nominated representatives, ex-service organisations (via the ESO Portal) and health and transport service providers (via the Provider Portal). Clients can access MyAccount services directly or through the enhanced myGov portal.

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