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Operating Environment

Factors driving change

The environment in which DVA operates is continually changing, and so too are the needs and expectations of our clients. DVA’s client base has changed significantly in the past two decades driven primarily by the duration and nature of recent and current military conflicts and the continuing decrease in the number of older veterans. With this shift, there are more complex client health needs and changing expectations as to how clients and stakeholders wish to conduct business with DVA.

Additionally, there is a wider reform agenda in the Australian Public Service (APS) to make the APS more productive and better able to meet the expectations of the Government and taxpayers. These reforms will influence DVA at the strategic, organisational and operational level, and include elements such as, the Digital Transformation Agenda, Shared and Common Services program, Public Management Reform Agenda (PMRA), Welfare Payments Infrastructure Transformation (WPIT) and Streamlined Grants Administration.

We must remain responsive to these environmental changes and work closely with clients, our partners and stakeholders to ensure that services remain relevant, accessible and effective. The key strategies illustrated in the Towards 2020 section of this Plan outline how we will drive change in this environment. 

DVA's Response

The needs of DVA’s clients and the environment in which DVA operates have changed at a much faster pace than the Department and its systems have been able to change. 

DVA is currently planning to undergo a transformation program, as part of Veteran Centric Reform, to become a more client-focused and responsive organisation, efficiently delivering high-quality, connected services to all generations of clients. Digital reforms and system modernisation will underpin changes to our service delivery. The way we do business and interact with clients and stakeholders will be improved and administrative burdens will be decreased. By keeping pace with the whole-Of-Government (WOG) Digital Transformation Agenda we will position DVA as a client-focused, responsive and connected department. 

The environmental factors which are influencing our operating environment are illustrated below.

Factors influencing our environment

Our client demographics are changing

Our Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) client numbers are expected to halve over the next decade. In the same period, it is expected our Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) and Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA) client numbers will steadily rise. We will continually focus on developing contemporary policy and improving our service delivery to ensure the focus remains on rehabilitation and mental health in line with the changing client demographics.

Mental health and rehabilitation needs are critical

The Veteran Mental Health Strategy ten-year framework (2013-2023) will ensure DVA remains responsive to the needs of existing clients while continuing to reposition itself in the context of younger veterans and their families, ensuring the best possible outcomes for individual mental health and wellbeing. This is further enhanced by the implementation of the new Social Health Strategy 2015-2023.  Our whole-of-person approach to rehabilitation ensures clients are enabled to make informed choices to progress their rehabilitation goals and improve wellbeing. The effectiveness and consistency of rehabilitation services is being improved, encouraging early intervention and promoting psychosocial rehabilitation, improving our clients’ physical and mental wellbeing.

Early client engagement will improve client outcomes

Early client engagement will be fostered by connecting with Defence. DVA and Defence will continue to progress a joint strategic agenda of work, promoting early client engagement. This will ensure eligible persons are provided with access to health care services that promote early intervention, prevention and treatment, enhancing their quality of life.

More complex health needs will place greater demands and expectations on programs

To assist in better understanding the health and wellbeing of veterans, the Department will continue to have a strong focus on research. DVA is committed to ensuring that a geographically diverse range of providers participate in the arrangements for provision of general and specialist medical and dental services to clients, to enhance their physical and mental wellbeing.

A growing generational divide means knowledge of Australia’s wartime history may be lost

Commemorative and educative activities, such as delivering the Spirit of Anzac travelling exhibition to 23 locations, will increase understanding of Australia’s wartime history and ensure this knowledge is not lost to future generations. 

A need to address DVA’s ageing ICT environment

Committing to giving staff updated, modern systems to replace the ageing ICT environment, so they can more easily do their jobs and provide excellence in client service, to better serve those who serve, in a client-focused, connected and responsive manner.

Digital transformation is needed to underpin changes to our service delivery

Digital reforms that will reduce administrative burdens, improve processing times and change the way we do business and interact with our clients. These reforms will allow us to serve our clients more efficiently, in a connected holistic manner, improving their access to services that will enhance their wellbeing and quality of life.

Our stakeholder expectations are changing

Keeping pace with APS transformation and the DHS overhaul of the welfare payment systems is vital to position DVA as a client-focused, responsive and connected department, to meet the future policy needs of Government, as well as community expectations. In this way we will continue to enhance our clients’ quality of life by improving the way we deliver our services.

Fiscal constraint across government

Current government budget repair policies will require DVA to continue to explore opportunities to re-engineer business processes, identifying areas of contestability, and rationalising of workflows, systems, technology and property costs to allow the Department to meet its strategic outcomes of being client-focused, responsive and connected.

Next: Towards 2020 - Key strategies, initiatives and priorities

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