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Service Delivery Review Implementation

Question Response
What is the Service Delivery Review?

In fall 2015, Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) began a comprehensive Service Delivery Review its four service delivery channels—online, telephone, in-person and mail—seeking better ways of working internally as well as more effective means to collaborate with external service providers to improve service to Veterans and their families.

Is there a report on the Review?

Yes. The Delivering Service Excellence report takes a look at the Service Delivery Review and its findings, and how they will help shape VAC’s more holistic and comprehensive approach to Veteran well-being in our pursuit of service excellence.

Read the report

Why conduct a Service Delivery Review now?

Consultations with staff and Veterans alike have made it clear the Department needed to make a fundamental change to the way we care for the men and women who have served our country and rely on our services. Many Veterans feel they are missing out on services and benefits because they are unaware of what is available and simply do not know the right questions to ask.

To determine what changes were needed to overhaul how services are delivered, a comprehensive review was required.

The Service Delivery Review is also linked with the Minister of Veterans Affairs’ mandate letter commitment to work with the Minister of National Defence to reduce complexity, overhaul service delivery, and strengthen partnerships between Veterans Affairs and National Defence.

Who was consulted?

Frontline staff as well as Veterans and their families—those at the heart of the service experience and service delivery were consulted. Veterans and their families were consulted in small focus groups and during two consultations with the Minister’s Service Excellence Advisory Group. These consultations took place between April and June 2016 in Vancouver, Victoria, Québec, Kingston, and Mississauga. Participants represented traditional Veterans and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Veterans from the Army, Navy, and Air Force, as well as male and female Veterans.

Real life Veteran experiences were documented and reviewed during a Journey Mapping Initiative where over 400 sample client files analyzed noting the many points of contact and service channels use by the client when trying to access VAC programs and services.

Feedback and suggestions were gathered through 56 in-person workshops with frontline staff at VAC area offices across the country. Staff across the country were also encouraged to share their views, suggestions and comments about service delivery in writing. Over 30 written submissions were received. Many excellent ideas were drawn from these consultations and suggestions that have inspired several recommendations for improvement.

Questions about the Findings

Question Response
What were the findings?

Despite our best efforts and intentions, there are still aspects of the service experience that may be difficult and frustrating for Veterans and their families.

The review revealed a number of topics, from internal challenges like training and staff retention, to external problems that Veterans and their families face, like complex messaging and processes that can lead to service gaps and programs not being understood or even overlooked.

The review has made clear that VAC needs to place greater emphasis on understanding all of the issues facing Veterans and their families when they first contact the Department.

Another key finding was the existence of a “gap group” of Veterans—Veterans who may not need full case management services, but who require some form of guided support to navigate through VAC systems and processes.

How is VAC going to address these issues?

In addition to consultations with VAC staff and Veterans and their families, VAC also conducted extensive research over the course of the last 18 months and has developed a set of recommendations grounded by a new vision for the ideal service model.

This vision is one where VAC does the heavy lifting and creates a system that provides timely, intuitive service that meets the specific needs Veterans and their families, regardless of the method they have used to contact VAC (mail, fax, telephone, online or in person). In this improved model, Veterans will truly receive the services they need in a timely manner with ease, care, compassion, and respect.

In this model, Veterans will have just one point of contact, make only one application, and receive only one assessment and decision. Throughout the course of their life, the Veteran will receive the support they need as their needs evolve. Incremental or new needs would not be processed as separate applications; rather, the Veteran’s file would evolve and travel along with them on their life’s journey.

To address the needs of the “gap group” of Veterans, a Guided Support function is currently being piloted. A group of Veterans Service Agents are testing a new function to provide extra support to this group of Veterans and their families.

What are some real changes Veterans can expect?

Make no mistake, changes are happening now, and work continues on short- , medium- and long-term actions. Several improvements are already underway or have been completed.

Some areas we have focused on already include:

  • Strengthening partnerships and third-party affiliations for enhanced service delivery
  • Enhancing service delivery in-person, by telephone, online and by mail.

Approximately 90 percent of the improvements will be completed within the next three years with others taking full effect by 2020-21. You can read about these specific improvements in our report Delivering Service Excellence

When can we expect to see the full suite of results?

A plan is in place with incremental steps over a five year time frame. We will be putting specific effort into making a fundamental shift in the way that the Department delivers services to Veterans and their families.

At Veterans Affairs Canada, we strive for service excellence based on the “one Veteran, one standard” approach, with a goal to ensure all Veterans are afforded the same positive and respectful service experience. Important changes happened in 2016-2017 and will continue throughout the next five years from 2017-2018 and beyond with a focus on:

  • implementing specific improvements to VAC’s Service Delivery Model
  • laying the ground work for the broader realignment of resources and service delivery change
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