Annual Report 2005-2006

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1. Overviews2. Performance3. Corporate4. Appendixes5. Financials6. Glossaries and Compliance Index

Your location: Performance > Outcome 2 > Output 2.1 > Output 2.1 Quality and quantity information

OUTPUT 2.1: Consular and passport services

Output 2.1 Quality and quantity information

2.1.1 Consular services

Quality indicators

Quantity indicators

Satisfaction of the public and the travel industry

The department monitored public feedback on our travel advice, including through independent research conducted as part of the smartraveller initiative. The research continued to confirm that the smartraveller campaign and the cooperative relationships we have developed with the travel industry are motivating increasing numbers of Australians to access our travel advice before they depart Australia.

The research conducted in 2005–06 indicated that:

In 2005–06, we received 777 letters and emails from the public on consular issues. Of these, 302 commented positively on services provided for particular consular cases and on our information service and 47 expressed dissatisfaction about elements of the department's service; the remaining letters simply sought consular information.

Most complaints related to aspects of the travel advice service, including: difficulty in identifying changes made to reissued travel advisories; problems with cancelling subscriptions to the travel advice email service; and difficulty in using the online registration service and amending personal details. A small proportion of negative correspondence expressed concern about staff attitudes and service received, as well as the accuracy of information contained in brochures, the website and the automated telephone system. All complaints were investigated in a timely manner and, where warranted, corrective action was taken.

The department consolidated relations with the travel industry through the Smartraveller Consultative Group (SCG) and the Charter for Safe travel, aimed at promoting awareness and use of travel advisories. The SCG provided input to our revised travel advice levels and endorsed the changes.

Membership of the Charter for Safe Travel continued to increase, with an additional 350 members joining during the year.

Recognising the importance of the travel industry in communicating our messages to the travelling public, the department participated in 30 travel industry expos, conferences and seminars across Australia to promote travel advice and consular services. We received highly positive feedback from event organisers and the public.

Crisis management procedures in place and tested

The department's crisis centre was activated for the following incidents during 2005–06:

The department responded to a number of major consular events including:

Suitability and effectiveness of contingency plans at overseas posts

The department evaluated 74 contingency plans held by our overseas posts and developed event specific contingency plans for three events where Australians gathered in significant numbers: Anzac Day in Turkey; the Winter Olympics in Italy; and the FIFA World Cup Finals in Germany.

We rolled out an overarching consular contingency plan for pandemic influenza. Twelve posts located in high-risk countries developed post-specific pandemic influenza contingency plans.

Client satisfaction with the plans was consistently high. We tested contingency plans developed for Anzac Day in Gallipoli and received positive feedback from other agencies involved in the planning. We also received positive feedback from the Australian Olympic Committee for our contingency planning for the Winter Olympics.

Response time to consular issues

The department operated a 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre to respond to the needs of Australians overseas and to provide advice on consular issues for Australian diplomatic and consular missions. We also maintained a 24-hour Watch Office responsible for monitoring international developments, including those likely to affect Australians, and for providing timely advice on passport issues to clients.

Quantity information for output 2.1: consular services
Indicator 2005–06 2004–05
Number of Australians assisted overseas:
Consular cases1 17 505 25 731
Public inquiries2 346 976 355 490
Notarial acts performed3 115 418 100 851
Travel advice notices issued 499 447
Number of unexpected events or crises handled by the department 35 33
Number of associated Emergency Task Force meetings held 26 90
Duration of Crisis Centre operations 27 days 90 days
  1. These statistics refer to inquiries about actual cases at posts and do not include general inquiries on non-case-related consular matters (eg travel advice). These are reported under public inquiries. The figure for 2004–05 includes 15 153 cases related to our response to the Indian Ocean tsunami.
  2. Public inquiries include inquiries on non-case-related matters made at overseas posts and through the 1300 and 1800 call numbers in Australia.
  3. These figures include notarial acts performed at overseas posts, in Canberra and in state and territory offices.

2.1.2 Passport services

Quality indicators

Quantity indicators

Satisfaction of the public and the travel industry

A survey of passport clients showed that 95.6 per cent rated the service they received as 'good' or 'very good'. We received positive feedback from the travel industry following our attendance at 8 travel expositions around Australia. The priority passport processing service continued to be popular with 165 257 applicants paying a fee to have their passports issued within 48 hours. This compared to 177 860 applicants last year.

Turnaround time for passport issue

98.5 per cent of normal passport applications were processed within our client service commitment of ten working days. The average turnaround time was 4.1 days. This compared with averages of 92.4 per cent and 5.8 days in the previous year. Of those clients who paid the priority processing fee, 99 per cent received their travel document within 48 hours. Fees were refunded to 27 applicants because the 48-hour turnaround was not met.

Quantity information for output 2.1: passport services
Indicator 2005–06 2004–05
Number of passport inquiries handled by the Australian Passport Information Service 1 281 105 1 303 822
Number of travel documents issued, including urgent issues1 1 259 692 1 260 831
  1. Travel documents include passports, documents of identity, certificates of identity and convention travel documents.

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