Case study – Department of Human Services

A case study in the provision of digital services.


Awards for Digital Excellence - Winner 2015

The agency developed a variety of digital channels to assist with delivery of payments and services, including the myGov digital service which provides users with a single login to access a number of online government services and update their own details. Secure digital service channels include information and services reducing processes for customers and staff.

Agency overview

The Federal Department of Human Services (the department) delivers a range of government and other payments and services to almost every Australian, including Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support and Aged Care payments and services. The delivery of these services is being transformed, with an increased offering of service by digital channels. The department is also responsible for the development and management of the myGov digital service, providing Australians one secure access point to a number of government online services.


Prior to implementing its digital initiatives, the department offered limited payments and services online with a reliance on traditional methods of claiming and communicating through paper mail and forms. The lack of digital online services forced customers into traditional channels of paper, telephone and face-to-face to conduct their business with the department.

The myGov digital service was established in 2013 as a whole of government initiative to improve people’s access to online government services. The myGov service provides customers with a single username and password to access their online services from a number of government agencies, currently Medicare, the Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink, Australian JobSearch, the Personally Controlled eHealth Record, Child Support, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Through the myGov service, customers can sign in to one secure account to receive their digital mail in the myGov inbox and notify multiple agencies of changes to their name and address in one transaction.

The myGov service provides participating government agencies with integrated information management capabilities, where with a customer’s consent, common details can be updated in the myGov service and automatically passed to all the customer’s linked services. Initially, customers can notify a change in name and address with additional updates to be made available in the future.

As at the end of December 2014, there were 6.1 million active myGov accounts and an average of 20,000 new accounts are created each day. On average people sign in to the service 180,000 times each day. Some 35.4 million letters have been delivered to the myGov Inbox with an average of 127,000 letters delivered each day.

Since the myGov service introduced the Update Your Details trial, providing an easy way for people to update their home and/or postal address with Medicare, Centrelink and the ATO, over 27,000 address updates (excluding ATO) were notified through myGov in the first weeks of the trial.

Project objectives

To provide a range of secure digital services to customers to broader channel choice in accessing department services and information, thus reducing unnecessary processes for both customers and staff.

To reform business processes and customer behaviour by offering new ways to engage with the department.

Project outcomes

By providing a range of secure digital services, customers now have broader channel choice in accessing department services and information, thus reducing unnecessary processes for both customers and staff. The initiatives reformed business processes and customer behaviour by offering new ways to engage with the department.

Seven Express Plus apps have been officially launched since August 2012 for Students, Jobseekers, Families and Seniors, Medicare and Express Plus Lite (multi-lingual app in Vietnamese, Chinese and Arabic), a new Centrelink app that combines all Centrelink features into a single app. As at 30 November 2014, there have been over 3.2 million downloads and this number continues to trend upwards. The apps allow customers to complete many of their most common transactions quickly and easily from any location.

Since May 2014, online claims are available for customers claiming Newstart Allowance, Parenting Payment and Youth Allowance (Job Seeker). Online claims provide customers with a more convenient alternative to other channels, enabling claim lodgement outside of face to face and telephone service delivery times.

With the usage of dynamic question sets, the department has been able to significantly reduce the number of questions customers need to respond to, providing a more streamlined and personal service. Over 370,000 claims have been made online, and this is expected to increase considerably with the recent introduction of the Families Payment online claim to claim Family Tax Benefit.

In June 2014, the department enabled customers to advise of changes to their circumstances affecting their payments via digital channels. Over 5.3 million circumstance updates have been made online.

An online appointments system is available enabling customers to book or reschedule an appointment at their preferred time as part of some online claims, transitioning these simple transactions to a self-managed service.

Since August 2014, an online channel has opened up for Centrelink customers who are required to complete income stream reviews. This option delivers efficiencies for both the customer and the department by reducing manual processing and the length of time to finalise the review. For the current February 2015 income stream review, 80% of the already completed reviews have been conducted online.

The department’s document lodgement service enables customers to securely lodge and store and access documents such as forms, medical certificates and payslips, online or through the self-service mobile apps. Since its release onto Centrelink platforms in January 2013 an average of 1800 documents have been lodged per day and more than 1.24 million documents were lodged by 30 November 2014.

The service provides improved information and records management and facilitates the move from traditional document management and storage (photocopying and manual records) to readily accessible, appropriately controlled, secure electronic records.

The use of new and innovative technology is improving the way the department supports customers and demonstrates innovation in service delivery for the benefit of both customers and government. This improved access is resulting in online channels being the preferred option for customers to complete transactions and access services. During 2013-14 there were:

  • 4 million (Medicare) online account transactions (+37.9 per cent on 2012-13)
  • 43.5 million (Centrelink) online letters issued (+37.1 per cent on 2012-13)
  • 2.3 million (Child Support) online letters issued (+17.5 per cent on 2012-13)

Over the next year, the department will continue to enhance its digital services, particularly online registration, claiming processes, mobile apps and myGov. The transition of our customers to digital services is supported by the department’s face-to-face and telephony services.

* case study as supplied by the agency, with minor formatting changes made by the Archives.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019