A recommendation of the 2015 Parliamentary Inquiry into Child Support operations was that the CSP should improve their communications methods.
The Child Support program’s response communicated by the Government, more than one year after the recommendations were tabled, was:
The Government agrees to examine how to incorporate insights from behavioural economics and best practice into its communications of financial information to separated families. The Government will evaluate the efficacy of current communications processes to child support payments by applying behavioural insights, including by conducting randomised control trials where relevant. A review of all child support letters and forms is underway to coincide with the implementation of the new child support computer system.
A very long-winded way of saying, “just trust us, we’re all over this issue”. Sorry, but you make it impossible to trust you!
Not long after the Government made the above response, they sent the following 28 letters over a period of 8 days to a single Child Support client – just take a look to appreciate the waste and stupidity inherent in this communications system:
This looks bad enough, but there’s evidence of even worse waste. Try 37 letters sent from Child Support to one man in one day! “… the department said a new system, which it hopes will be in place in the next 13 months, should solve the problem. The blizzard of paper surrounding the father abated somewhat after the Commonwealth Ombudsman intervened in 2013, with the federal watchdog itself inundated by complaints by fathers struggling to cope under the volume of letters from the CSA.
… The department is currently working to deliver a new Child Support system which will improve and modernise service delivery for Child Support customers,” she said. “The system is expected to be delivered in the 2015-2016 financial year. “Part of the new system design is a review of customer correspondence.” ”
The excuse for this terrible treatment of clients is always blamed on computer systems. Over the time the CSA / CSP have excused their insane waste and this harrasment of their clients, there have been start-up businesses worldwide who have design, developed and implemented systems far more capable and complicated than a system purely meant to mail merge some standard letters and ensure that clients receive clear sensible advice.
This inability to deliver a simple service with a focus on the impact on clients, is a prime example of why the Child Support program can not be trusted to repair the broken systems and processes they have created. Someone who knows what they are doing needs to step in and take control of reforming the broken child support regime.