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Transformation

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The following section is a text version of the infographic.

Transformation

Transforming Department of Veterans’ Affairs' (DVA) business process and culture, identifying and implementing government-endorsed best practice service options and continuing a targeted ICT redevelopment.

In 2017–18:

  • 10,300 current or former ADF members registered with DVA through the Early Engagement Model
  • The Transition Taskforce engaged with 600 transitioning and recently transitioned veterans and their families
  • Over 5,500 veterans and their families registered with MyService, and nearly 6,000 claims were lodged, between the launch of the portal on 3 April 2017 and 30 June 2018
  • Two mobile service centres travelled to 132 locations across Australia in 2017–18

Achievements in 2017–18

The Veteran Centric Reform program is designed to transform the way the DVA does business, to put veterans and their families first. The program has substantial Budget support from the Government and a high level of commitment from DVA staff.

In 2017–18, the first year of the program, DVA’s transformation focused on connecting with veterans, expanding service delivery and transforming ICT.

Connecting with veterans

Understanding the experiences and needs of veterans and their families is at the heart of our transformation.

Consultation

In 2017–18, the Department created a range of opportunities for veterans and their families, and members of the broader veteran community, to contribute to its transformation. They included one-on-one interviews, group consultations, and collaborations to design innovative solutions to service delivery issues.

During the year, around 2,000 veterans and family members met with DVA to co‑design veteran-focused programs and services for the future. Sessions were held around Australia in a mix of metropolitan and regional areas and a variety of venues, such as DVA offices, military bases, public spaces and veterans’ homes. The participants included stakeholders across a wide range of age groups and circumstances.

In addition, more than 30 DVA staff members and 36 veterans attended workshops designed to help staff understand the veteran experience.

Early engagement

Early engagement with Australian Defence Force (ADF) members helps DVA to understand their individual needs, provide information and support, and identify potential problems quickly so that the right intervention can be offered when needed.

DVA's digital transformation includes developing models for the use of basic personal information shared by Defence to connect and deliver services earlier and more effectively. The Early Engagement Model was launched in 2017–18 to establish relationships between DVA and ADF members early in their careers and to increase the number of members known to DVA.

Under the model, members who joined the ADF after 1 January 2016 and members who separated after 27 July 2016 are automatically registered with DVA. Over 10,300 current or former ADF members who have not made a claim with DVA were registered in 2017–18.

DVA also piloted two new processes to support ADF members during their transition:

  • The Transition Health Assessment Pilot is testing a process designed to streamline transition by consolidating Defence, DVA and Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation requirements into a single medical assessment undertaken before a member leaves the ADF.
  • The Special Operations Forces (SOF) Pilot is testing a more holistic, veteran-focused way of providing services to members and their families as they transition to civilian life. The approach was developed with Defence and current and former SOF members and their families. Based on a theme of ‘wellness’, the pilot includes a face-to-face approach to service delivery and support through a single contact in DVA.

Both processes will be evaluated once pilot activities are completed.

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Transition

Leaving the military is a significant, life-changing event for many ADF members and their families. Defence and DVA have a particular focus on improving the support that they receive before, during and after that transition.

The Transition Taskforce was established in February 2017 and continued to work throughout 2017–18 to identify barriers to successful transition and develop options to address them. The taskforce included current and former ADF members; representatives from key areas within Defence, DVA and the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation; and representatives from the ex-service community.

The taskforce engaged with 600 transitioning and recently transitioned veterans and their families to better understand the transition experience and sought the views of ex-service organisations, government and relevant professional organisations. It identified five key streams of focus:

  • improving transition service provision
  • enhancing preparation and support before transition
  • increasing the probability of securing employment
  • providing better and more accessible transition information
  • improving support for families and carers.

The taskforce’s findings and recommendations have been provided to the Australian Government for consideration.

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Female veterans and veterans’ families forum

The Department established the Female Veterans and Veterans’ Families Policy Forum in 2016 to create new channels of communication between DVA and the veteran community and enable female veterans and veteran family members to directly raise issues with DVA.

The forum met for the second time in Canberra in October 2017, to discuss the particular needs of female veterans and the levels of recognition and respect that female veterans receive from the broader Australian community. In June 2018, more than 30 representatives from the forum met with DVA to provide direct input to current projects.

Expanding service delivery

Veteran Centric Reform is providing simpler, better, digitally enhanced options for interacting with the Department.

Claims processing

In its first year, DVA’s transformation has improved the ease and speed with which current and former serving members can submit claims and have liability for conditions assessed, through computer-based decision-making and streamlined processing.

DVA's MyService portal allows any veteran with an electronic Defence service record to register with DVA and submit initial liability claims under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA), the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) or the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA). Over 5,500 veterans registered, and nearly 6,000 claims were lodged, between the launch of the portal on 3 April 2017 and 30 June 2018.

MyService also allows veterans and eligible members of their families to access Non-Liability Health Care (NLHC), complete a needs assessment online, and be advised whether they have qualifying service without making a claim. All veterans and members of their families who register with MyService can use a digital DVA health card to access services for their accepted conditions.

DVA has also streamlined the processing of claims by using data provided by Defence to assess whether a claimant satisfies DVA’s specified Statements of Principles requirements for certain medical conditions. Currently, 40 conditions are automatically assessed under the streamlining rules, and other conditions are being investigated for possible inclusion.

Many claims made through MyService and assessed under the streamlining rules can be accepted, and the claimant notified, within seconds of the claim’s submission.

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Access to services

Veteran Centric Reform includes expanding opportunities for veterans to connect with DVA in ways that suit them, in their preferred locations.

Face-to-face access to the Department is now available in more locations than ever before, including in rural and regional Australia. For example:

  • A network of over 120 agents, based in businesses such as visitor information centres, delivers services on behalf of the Department of Human Services (DHS) around Australia. Seventeen of the agents are participating in a DVA pilot to provide assisted access to information about veterans services.
  • Staff of DHS mobile service centres have been trained and equipped to provide personalised information on DVA services and entitlements to veterans and their families. The two mobile service centres travelled to 132 locations across Australia in 2017–18.

DVA also conducted a trial of providing DVA information through Australia Post self-service kiosks in the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and South Australia.

DVA commenced work to improve access to the Department by redeveloping its website and consolidating its telephone contacts. The number of inbound telephone numbers was reduced from 170 to 60 in 2017–18 and is expected to decrease further.

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Transforming ICT

DVA envisages a future in which veterans and their families can access services across a range of communication channels. Most veterans and their families will be able to self-manage their affairs through online facilities while staff focus on veterans with complex and multiple needs, supported by a contemporary case management system. The use of data analytics and veteran and family insights will inform policy and services.

The Student Payment System Pilot is an important step in DVA’s journey to replace its ageing ICT infrastructure. The pilot is testing a new staff portal to allow for quicker processing of claims under DVA education schemes. It also provides new online functionality to enable students and their families to request assistance. The results of the pilot will inform broader ICT modernisation to improve services to veterans and veterans’ family members who access DVA income support.

The ability to access client information electronically is fundamental to improving claims processing time frames and enabling a range of digital processes. DVA’s achievements in digitising information were commended in the 2018 National Archives Awards for Digital Excellence.

DVA also initiated a new data model which will make DVA’s rich data holdings more accessible and available to support a data-driven approach to policy development. The use of the model data will assist DVA to better understand the needs and circumstances of veterans and their families and develop evidence-based policy interventions to improve services in accordance with their individual needs.

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Priorities for 2018–19

The priorities for transformation in 2018–19 are:

  • reaching out to veterans and members of their families who are not currently in contact with DVA
  • continuing to engage with veterans and their families in designing services to better meet their needs
  • expanding MyService to include greater coverage and more features, including the ability to handle permanent impairment and incapacity claims
  • streamlining the assessment rules for additional impairment types to support faster decision‑making
  • improving DVA’s letters and fact sheets and releasing the prototype of a new website
  • improving telephone services, with the aim of establishing a single number for incoming calls, 1800VETERAN, to improve access and enable automated queueing
  • building ICT capabilities to develop and deliver better services for veterans and family members who receive income support
  • strengthening the positive and change-ready culture of DVA, and developing the capability of emerging leaders through the Leading Transformation Program.
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