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Technology making life easier for beneficiaries

Hon Jo Goodhew

Associate Minister of Social Development

26 October 2016

Technology making life easier for beneficiaries

Associate Social Development Minister Jo Goodhew is welcoming technological advances as part of the Simplification programme at the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), which are making a big difference for beneficiaries.

“The Government is committed to delivering Better Public Services to all New Zealanders. Serving over 1 million Kiwis every year, it is important that clients can access MSD services in user-friendly and modern ways,” says Mrs Goodhew.

As part of Simplification, clients are now able to use a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer to view and update many of their details, including letting MSD know what they’ve earned each week.

“The MyMSD online service has also reached a big milestone with over 213,000 registrations*and over 1.9 million log-ons.

“The range of digital services is expanding all the time, with clients now able to manage their own appointments, apply for help with food costs, and view some letters online. By the time school starts again next year, clients will be able to apply online for school uniform and stationery costs without the need to visit MSD. They can also use these digital services at little or no cost – even if they don’t have data on their phones.

“We are seeing good progress in the month-on-month uptake of these online services, with around 50% of clients who work part time now using digital services to let MSD know about their income each week,” Mrs Goodhew says.

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MSD recently enhanced its contact centre voice-enabled technology so clients can do more things for themselves over the phone. It allows clients to access a variety of self-service options such as frequently requested information (like benefit payment information and upcoming appointments) as well as to update some specific information (such as declaring income).

Almost 40% of all client calls are now being supported with voice-enabled technology. This represents around 300,000 calls a month.

“This means clients are spending less time on the phone waiting to speak to staff, reducing the administrative burden. This can only be a positive for both clients and staff.”

Automated services have also been extended to GPs with 84% of medical certificates now lodged electronically, saving time for busy medical practices. This also means that over 1,200 clients per day don’t have to go into MSD offices to drop off medical certificates and are assured the certificate has been lodged securely with MSD.

“The Simplification programme is delivering real benefits for Kiwis and improving public services,” Mrs Goodhew says.

*213,227 registrations as at 17 October 2016.


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