The Ministry of Social Development plans to put all transactional activity relating to Childcare Assistance applications and customer service activity into Centralised Services and it assures that the process will be simple and smart for clients, providers and employees.
It says that although some childcare coordinators still provide a face-to-face service it is minimal and providers can receive a well-managed, responsive and more convenient service by phone and email – therefore the childcare coordinator role is not needed and it is proposed that it will be disestablished.
The reasons given are as follows:
- The nature of the childcare coordinator role has changed significantly since it was first established in 2004.
- Originally, childcare coordinators had a promotional role to increase uptake of Childcare Assistance and helped clients and providers navigate through initially very manual and complex processes.
- Since 2004, clients and providers have become more familiar with our processes and these processes have been simplified.
- A large portion of transactional work has been successfully centralised. All transactional work for the Auckland region has been processed centrally for a number of years, and annual reviews and changes in circumstances were centralised for all other regions in 2015.
- The functions of the childcare coordinator role have shifted more to customer service, primarily dealing with queries about processes or payments, via phone, email and text.
It is also likely to save money in the MSD budget by spending less on wages.
MSD is currently consulting on the proposed change with its employees and states that it will also take feedback from childcare providers into account before making a decision. The changes would likely take effect in late November.
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