Organisation: Department of Human Services
Job Title: Service Centre Manager
Word Limit: 400 words per criteria
Ability to manage the day-to-day operations of a Service Centre, or a service delivery team,
including setting local priorities managing resources and workflow
Within my current role as Front of House and Back of House Team Leader at the Claoundra Service
Centre, I manage the operations of the service teams. I achieve this through analysing
Management Information to allow planning to manage demand, and assigning staff resources and
setting work priorities for my teams in response to relative demands. During service operation, I
actively monitor available indicators of workflow, including information reports and the Customer
First system, to manage flows and coordinate resource allocation in real time.
Where necessary to maintain effective service delivery within acceptable service times, I activate a
local surge response by redeploying staff to assist with areas experiencing high demand. This is
made possible through early recognition and response to potential future resource needs. For
example, to ensure that all staff are adequately equipped to participate in local surge responses as
required, I ensure that my team members are cross-trained in all aspects of the Service Centre's
functions. For example, in the Caloundra Centre, I had four staff who were only trained to provide
Medicare services. In order to increase the capacity of these staff to respond to Service Centre
needs, I have implemented a roster that provides these staff with one hour per day of training in
Centrelink functions such as Customer Liaison and Self-Managed Services assistance. This cross-
training means that where Centrelink workflows and waiting times require it, Medicare staff can
be called upon to assist with the local surge response.
Another way that I maximise my efficient use of resources is to analyse my staffing for the day and
anticipate potential needs for redeployment of staff at critical periods. For example, if I can see
from my rostering that Front of House capacity is likely to be stretched, I will speak to Back of
House staff in the morning and let them know that I may need to call on their assistance. Having
these conversations at the earliest opportunity provides a chance for staff to let me know of any
work commitments that may prevent them from being able to assist in another area at particular
times, and allows them to factor the likely need to temporarily assist elsewhere in to their planned
work for the day, rather than being unexpectedly called away from their primary duties.
Ability to establish and manage relationships with local stakeholders to build service delivery
capability, increase the profile of the department’s services and attend inter-agency meetings
and forums to obtain and share information
In previous roles with the Department, I have built, maintained and managed productive
relationships with local stakeholder agencies and services in order to increase the profile, reach
and responsiveness of the Department’s service delivery. As Community Engagement Officer I
undertook a regular schedule of visits to mental health units and drug rehabilitation facilities to
assist their clients with access to services. These customers were often restricted in their access to
internet and phone services, meaning that they were unable to use the self-managed services, and
were unable to leave the facilities to attend interviews. I would therefore assist these customers
to identify and apply for relevant benefit payments and liaise with support agencies to provide
additional services or accommodate particular needs where required.
In my role as Community Engagement Officer, I also built relationships with a local program
designed to continue formal education for teenage mothers, known as the STEMM Programme.
Facilitated by the Department of Education at a local High School, I assisted these students with
accessing payments, ensuring they were receiving the correct entitlements, and referring them to
social workers and other support services where appropriate.
My past responsibilities have included collaboration and communication with representatives of
the local Member of Parliament (MP) to resolve sensitive customer matters. For example, one
customer was extremely upset over what he perceived as unfair treatment by Centrelink and the
failure of another team within the department to provide a follow-up call, and as a result had
made a complaint to the local MP. Notwithstanding the customer’s anger and unreasonable
behaviour when I encountered him, I listened carefully and with empathy to his issues and
concerns and ensured that these were properly documented and followed up with the relevant
internal teams. Despite not receiving the outcome he was seeking, he became far more
reasonable to deal with as a result of my respectful efforts to assist him, and even wrote a lengthy
commendation on my level of service and attention to his issues. The smooth resolution to a very
sensitive issue greatly enhanced the reputation of the Department with external stakeholders
such as the office of the local MP.
As part of my community and stakeholder engagement positions, I have participated in a range of
inter-agency forums designed to share information and improve service delivery mechanisms.
These have included Sunshine Coast Youth-Connect meetings and homelessness forums.
Ability to lead, manage and support and develop staff through coaching, managing
performance, attendance and health and wellbeing
As a leader, one of my primary tools for developing my staff is to ensure that they have access to
the information required to effectively and confidently perform their roles. One of the ways that I
achieve this in my current role as Team Leader is to provide all of my staff with access to weekly
‘Learning Bites’ sessions to increase their knowledge and skills in a particular service delivery area.
With new staff, such as the three new team members I currently manage as Team Leader, I
provide ongoing support in the form of regular one-on-one discussions and identification of
ongoing training needs.
In managing staff performance, I look to identify and respond to reasons for performance failing to
meet required standards. For example, as the Program Support Manager Community and
Stakeholder Engagement, I had a staff member who was newly transferred to a challenging
community engagement role from a Medicare background. This staff member worked remotely
from me in Hervey Bay and it quickly became evident that his performance statistics were failing
to meet the required Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). As there was a lack of support and
training available at his location, I brought him to Caloundra to spend time with other Community
Engagement Officers, to see how they managed their workload and overcame challenges. When
he returned to Hervey Bay, I provided the staff member with the option of calling directly to the
Caloundra service centre with any queries he encountered during his field work, as he had
consistently found that the Hervey Bay centre was unable to take his calls. As a result of this added
training and support, the staff member quickly began meeting his KPIs and is now consistently
exceeding performance targets.
I have often had to address staff attendance and timekeeping issues as a manager, and I do so
from a position of seeking to identify and address any problems that are preventing good
timekeeping or attendance. For example, where a staff member was consistently arriving late for
an 8:30 shift, I addressed this issue with her and found out that due to needing to drop children at
school an 8:30 start time was difficult for her. I therefore changed her regular rostered start time
to 9am, which resulted in the staff member being able to arrive on time for each day’s shift.
Ability to contribute to relevant business and people planning and develop local strategies to
improve against key performance measures, including to driving the promotion of the
department’s self-managed and digital services
A priority of the Department is to ensure that customers have access to the services that they
need. In many cases this requires making concerted efforts to make contact with the customer in
their own local community, as barriers to accessing services through a Service Centre are often
faced. In my former Community Engagement role, I worked with a Centrelink social worker to
make contact with the local branch of youth mental health support service Headspace. As a result,
we were able to negotiate our weekly attendance at the weekly arts program, allowing us to make
contact with, and provide assistance to, the young attendees.
Within the Service Centre environment, I drive the promotion of self-managed and digital services
through ensuring that all of my team members within the centre are capable of guiding and
assisting customers in learning to use these services. Cross training the Service Centre’s Medicare
staff to use these systems is one example of my efforts in this regard. As Community Engagement
Officer, I personally worked with customers who were transitioning out of drug rehabilitation
treatment centres towards independent living. I would assist these customers in learning how to
access and use the self-managed services in order to be able to send and receive information
relevant to their payments.
In order to facilitate improvement of performance against key performance measures, in previous
roles I have contributed to increasing the accountability of programme performance against these
targets. As Program Support Manager Community and Stakeholder Engagement, I was a member
of the National Working Party to facilitate the development and implementation of quality
monthly reporting of business performance outcomes for our programme. Prior to this there had
been a lack of consistent national reporting framework or process. Working with two other key
internal stakeholders, I developed measures and mechanisms to secure accountability in
delivering both Zone and National outcomes. Following a consultation process with National Team
leaders, two reports of varying levels of detail which provided a monthly snapshot of customer
referrals, intervention outcomes, community engagement sessions, and total activities in relation
to KPI targets were developed, approved and implemented.