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Australian Government Adds 1000 Call Center Agents to Centrelink

2018-05-03 10:46:09 Author: Source:CTI ForumComment:0  Click:


CTI Forum (ctiforum.com) May 3 (compilation / Lao Qin): If you have ever felt the frustration of Centrelink services, then this is good news for the national welfare agencies. Some people have to wait for several hours on the phone, listen to classical music, and wait for the operator to answer their phone.
Fortunately, the Australian government seems to be working to solve this problem and promised to increase the number of call center employees by 1,000 to help reduce waiting time.
Michael Keenan, minister of public services, said that Centrelink’s customers’ waiting time is too long and needs to be changed. He said he wanted to ensure that people "get the best service" when they call a government agency like Centrelink.
However, the additional 1,000 people are likely to be outsourced to the private sector rather than full-time employment with Centrelink call center operators. This trend of outsourcing call centers is very popular in many government departments.
Just last year, 250 call center employees came from the multinational company Serco, and it seems Keenan will adopt a similar strategy. He said that "there is no reason" that the private sector can not undertake these tasks, or as effective as full-time government staff.
He said that there have been third-party "independent evaluations" and the data shows that private sector staff can also perform the job. When news of cooperation with Serco was disclosed in 2017, unions expressed concern that private welfare information would be handed over to a private company.
Keenan went on to say that ATO has been “using private companies” for the past 10 years, and that Labour has called this policy decision “sensible”, something they did during the government.
Labour Party member Linda Burney said that privacy is still a “huge concern” and there are obvious loopholes in the working environment between Centrelink and private contractors. She said that this move only "blocked a hole" and she believes the problem will "reappear."
Keenan announced that 1,000 new call center employees will work in Australia and receive full training at home. He said that any customer information will not be leaked overseas.
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