Response to claims about the department’s use of external collection agents

Claims made recently about the Department of Human Services’ use of external collection agents are inaccurate and require clarification.

Reporting that a representative from an external collection agency purported to be from the department is not correct.

Agencies who have been engaged by the department to recover debt from people will always ensure their operators clearly identify themselves as calling ‘on behalf of’ the department.

The department works closely with agents on call scripts, which insist the operator clearly identify themselves as calling on behalf of the department.

Contractual arrangements allow the department to access recordings and calls are recorded for quality and to investigate potential issues.

We have reviewed a recent case identified in the media.  On checking the recording of that phone conversation, the operator clearly identifies themselves as calling on behalf of the department.

At no stage does the operator represent themselves as being an employee of the department. From his initial introduction, he is clear that he is making the call on behalf of DHS.