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Article: When digital transformation helps the most vulnerable members of the community

For government, building a redress scheme to right past wrongs and provide justice to vulnerable members of the community isn’t just about handing out money and leaving it at that. Today, redress schemes take a holistic approach, combining looking after the physical and mental health of the people affected, along with ongoing counselling – as well as providing financial assistance.

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As appeared in The Mandarin June 2023

For government, building a redress scheme to right past wrongs and provide justice to vulnerable members of the community isn’t just about handing out money and leaving it at that. Today, redress schemes take a holistic approach, combining looking after the physical and mental health of the people affected, along with ongoing counselling – as well as providing financial assistance.

Recently, due to a change in legislation, an Australian government agency took steps to put in place a redress scheme for members of the community impacted by a long-term environmental hazard. Some of those people were faced with life-long illnesses, including cancer, while others had passed away before the redress scheme was put in place.

“The approach the scheme wanted to take is what’s called a ‘trauma-informed’ approach,” says Brooke’s Jason Hornsby, who designed the solution architecture for the project on behalf of the government agency.

A trauma-informed approach means affected members of the community have a single point of contact, such as a counsellor who helps them with their treatment and financial redress. “This approach is designed to get the correct information from the participant as efficiently as possible before it’s passed onto the assessment phase, which is much more rigid and needs to be very official,” Mr Hornsby says.

Existing government systems are not fit-for-purpose.

Brooke was engaged by the agency to design and configure the redress scheme based on their successful implementation of previous schemes. The problem was, when the government announced the redress scheme, there were no seamless, easy-to-use and easy-to-administer technology solutions in place. “After the scheme was announced, the agency received around 1500 applications from affected community members, and these were forms downloaded from a website,” says Brooke’s project manager, Guy Ghattas.

These forms were saved in Microsoft SharePoint and Excel, creating an unwieldy burden for the administrative staff, and delivering poor customer service due to the increased amount of time needed to process the applications and get financial and wellbeing help to affected people.

“There was no mechanism and no automated processes, which made responding to applicants quite difficult,” says Mr Ghattas. “The agency in question had all this information coming in, and decided they needed a system to handle it and a system applicants could trust.”

Building the customer experience and case management workflows.

Brooke took on the project, with the design and implementation taking into account two main parts to deliver on, with the first being to get rid of the paper forms stored in SharePoint and Excel to streamline and enhance the customer experience applicants would go through to get their claims approved.

Salesforce Public Sector Solutions and Salesforce Experience Cloud were used by Brooke to build the public-facing portal, Mr Hornsby says.

“The second key part of the project was the internal case management system and workflow to manage the claim process,” he says.

This was also configured using Salesforce Public Sector Solutions. The project went live successfully
in a matter of months.

Brooke’s client speaks highly of the team’s ability to deliver on time, on budget and within scope, saying: “Brooke was hired to implement a case management solution using Salesforce Public Sector Solutions. They were an excellent partner to work with, highly collaborative and flexible. They focused on customer outcomes and offered long term solutions which allowed our organisation to reuse the solutions for similar projects.

“The functional consultant was skilled at understanding the business processes and was very knowledgeable in Salesforce capability and in steering the solutions towards out-of-the box functionality. They also understood the impact on ongoing maintenance. Brooke delivered a solution which was very good value for money and we would engage them again to deliver similar work.”

Reporting made easier and more transparent.

Another plank in the project’s success was reporting and transparency, both for budgeting purposes by the government, and also to build trust with the people applying for redress.

“At the executive level, they want to have their finger on the pulse of how much money is actually being delivered for reporting to Parliament,” says Mr Ghattas. To provide this level of reporting, the Brooke team built a series of dashboards and a reporting mechanism to ease approvals. “All these expenditures need to be approved by an executive before the redress is delivered, and so that was baked into the solution as well.” Brooke’s previous experience building redress schemes for agencies meant the project could be stood up very quickly, and Mr Ghattas points out future projects running along the same lines will be even more streamlined because of the experience the company has, along with its deep partnership with Salesforce and its experience with Public Sector Solutions products.

“Brooke is a trusted Salesforce partner and we work with them to ensure Public Sector Solutions are delivered in a timely, effective and efficient manner. One of the many benefits clients are now realising when working with Brooke, is achieving value quickly due to the high degree of reusability of Salesforce Public Sector Solutions,” says Brooke’s managing partner, Bruce McGregor.

Redress schemes are designed to right past wrongs, and it’s certain more agencies and departments will have the job of implementing new schemes in the future. Brooke’s track record on delivering these solutions on time, on budget and built to serve their intended audience speaks for itself.

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