26 September 2023

Ombudsman examines veterans’ support

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Acting Commonwealth Ombudsman, Penny McKay has investigated the propriety of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ (DVA’s) administrative framework for supporting its communication with veterans making claims for compensation.

In her Report, The Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ communication with veterans making claims for compensation, Ms McKay found DVA had progressed several positive initiatives to improve its service delivery but there was room for improvement.

“The administrative framework guiding communication with veterans throughout the claims process is well developed,” Ms McKay said.

“While this investigation did not identify any significant concerns about the DVA’s policy and procedural framework for managing communication with veterans during the claim process, we identified some opportunities for improvement,” she said.

Ms McKay said good communication, through the delivery of clear and regular information to veterans throughout the claim process could help to manage veterans’ expectations and reduce feelings of uncertainty, anxiety or frustration while waiting for claims to be assessed.

The acting Ombudsman makes eight recommendations aimed at improving the transparency and quality of information provided to the veteran community, and guidance for DVA staff to support effective communication with veterans.

All recommendations were accepted by DVA with the Department indicating it would implement them all over the course of 2022.

“I am pleased the DVA accepted all eight recommendations and acknowledge their commitment to continual improvement to support the wellbeing of the veteran community and their cooperation with this investigation,” Ms McKay said.

The Ombudsman’s 23-page Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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