Progress made on EDConnect service issues

In response to sustained representations by Federation on behalf of members, the Department is finally taking important steps towards improving the level of service provided by EDConnect.

Members have repeatedly raised serious concerns with Federation about the poor service provided by EDConnect including incorrect or inconsistent advice, issue resolution notifications when the issue clearly remains unresolved for the member, long wait times on the phone line, generic advice not tailored to the individual’s circumstances and inadequate support for technical issues.

The problems cause significant distress to members, many of whom contact EDConnect initially in a state of anxiety about matters relating to their leave entitlements or their pay, and are contacting EDConnect to seek assistance. Many end up more confused and stressed after contacting EDConnect than they were before.

The follow-up required to then resolve the matters satisfactorily is extremely time-consuming and stressful for all concerned.

The complete lack of trust that members had in the advice provided by EDConnect was evident at Federation’s state Council in March. A motion was passed unanimously by councillors representing Associations from across NSW seeking urgent action to ensure that members who contact EDConnect are provided with accurate, timely and effective support.

While Federation had been raising these matters regularly with the Department for some time, including in a face-to-face meeting on 6 March, Federation Officers contacted the Department again immediately following March Council, and a meeting was arranged for 1 April.

As a result of the representations, Federation received written correspondence from the Department setting out three key ways the Department was improving its advice to staff.

An online customer feedback form has been set up so members can send their feedback at any time. If the feedback relates to a query already logged with EDConnect, members should include the query reference number when completing the feedback form. This is particularly important where members receive an incident resolution notification for a matter that it still far from resolved.

The Department has also confirmed with Federation that it is making changes to its automatic response emails, another source of immense frustration for members. Unfortunately, an implementation date has not been confirmed. Given the focus on supporting our schools as part of the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department has indicated that the implementation of these changes may be delayed.

In light of this delay, Federation strongly recommends that members take a moment to quickly record their complaint or query using the EDConnect customer feedback form to further inform the Department of these shortcomings.

March Council also expressed frustration at the lack of consultation with Federation around the Department’s employee survey in relation to EDConnect. The “blink and you’ll miss it” survey was open for barely 10 days in March and the Department told Federation a target of 300 responses was exceeded, with 695 received.

The Department’s correspondence stated the survey was to “find out how teachers access information about EDConnect services and use our self-help resources” and in particular: “how teachers currently receive information about EDConnect”; “the degree to which it met teacher needs”; and “how teachers thought it could be improved”.

The Department agreed to share with Federation information about the themes that emerge from the survey, once this analysis has been undertaken.

Federation will evaluate the survey results once received and in the meantime will continue to closely monitor the level of service provided by EDConnect as reported to us by members. Where issues are identified affecting a large number of members they will continue to be brought to the attention of the Department.