We're helping the public and private sectors take a proactive approach to transforming service delivery in the digital era, improving the customer experience and boosting productivity.

The Challenge

Providing better services to customers

The emergence of the digital economy has many implications for the both the public and private sector, but perhaps one of the greatest is that almost anything can now be measured and, by extension, better managed.

The challenge is identifying what data will help improve a service outcome – particularly when seeking to better meet customers’ needs without compromising their rights to privacy and informational security.

This is particularly true for organisations like the Department of Human Services, which interacts with millions of Australians every day and manages payments worth over a third of the overall federal Government’s budget.

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Narrator:  Australia's Department of Human Services provides support, payments and rebates to nearly every Australian at some point in their lives.

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One of the Department’s biggest priorities is delivering its’ services digitally through websites, apps and other self-service channels. 

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It’s faster and more convenient for everyday citizens, freeing up staff to devote more resources to those customers who most need help.

However, going digital isn’t just a matter of flicking a switch. 

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The health and welfare payment system is both complex and critical and impacts on individuals, businesses and entire communities.

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In 2009 the Department of Human Services with CSIRO to form the Human Services Delivery Research Alliance.

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CSIRO brought in researchers from a range of disciplines, such as data analytics, psychology and geospatial modelling.  Their goal, to figure out how to bring the health and welfare payment system into the digital era.

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The Alliance ran for five years, completing 21 projects including devising new tools to help connect with customers on social media,

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improving awareness of mobile apps by 25 percent, through research tested motivational messages,

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making it easier to find information on websites, by analysing how people use them, and developing software that delivers accurate, comprehensive, situational awareness about natural disasters or emergencies.

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The Department and CSIRO are already applying our collaborative evidence-based methods to public sector service delivery challenges Australia-wide.

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As the world becomes increasingly digital we’re helping Australia’s governments and citizens get ahead of the curve.

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HSDRA outcomes :  Outcomes of the Human Services Delivery Research Alliance

Our Response

Transforming services for the digital era

Over the past five years, the Department of Human Services has adopted a leading position in digitally transforming its services for better citizen outcomes. Supporting this transformation has been our partnership with the department, under the Human Services Delivery Research Alliance.

Our work with the Department has established our credentials as leaders in service transformation and applied research for the public sector. We are now looking forward to extending our expertise to achieve service delivery improvements throughout Australia and the world.


Over the past five years the Department of Human Services has adopted a leading position in digitally transforming its services for better citizen outcomes. Supporting this transformation has been our partnership with the department, under the Human Services Delivery Research Alliance (HSDRA). 

The HSDRA includes the following solutions:

  • The Online referral model - We’re exploring automated systems that can help recognise customers who should be offered referrals for additional support.
  • Emergency response – We created a software tool that integrates data from numerous government agencies during an emergency. The data is displayed in a web-based map that lets department staff see what’s happening in real time.
  • Call centre dovetail – Sharing data from social media channels, face-to-face enquires and call centres allows for consistent and accurate responses to emerging issues.
  • Tailored documents – We examined how asking customers a few questions can help tailor information to fit their specific needs, so they spend less time reading through relevant information.
  • Social media – Vizie is a tool that uses natural language processing to organise social media based on its content. The department’s social media managers use Vizie to respond to questions, tackle potential rumours and track trending issues faster and more comprehensively.
  • Channel optimisation – By analysing the way people respond to how messages are framed, customers can be encourage to use digital self-service channels like the department’s Express Plus mobile app, which frees up staff to spend more face-to-face time with those most in need.
  • Web optimisation – We developed a tool called LATTE to identify if people are struggling to find what they need on the department’s website. This information has guided website improvements, leading to a better experience for customers.
  • Planning for the future – Our research into the complex ecosystem of human services – from finding the most efficient debt waiver limit, to predicting vulnerable individuals, is helping the department improve service delivery.
  • Online communities – We created an online forum, moderated by department staff, where customers with less complex needs can get support by sharing their experiences with other customers in a similar situation.

Some of the outcomes of the five-year Human Services Delivery Research Alliance.

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