Annual Report 2007-2008

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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

In 2007–08 the department received 834 letters and emails from the public on consular issues. Of these, 179 commented positively on services provided in specific consular cases and on the department’s smartraveller services. Only 13 expressed dissatisfaction about the way in which the department provided consular services. The remaining letters and emails sought consular information or were responded to clarifying the scope of consular services as set out in the Consular Services Charter.

Despite improvements to the smartraveller website during 2007–08, most complaints related to aspects of the website, including difficulties in registering for travel to multiple destinations. The department’s new travel registration system, which will be rolled out as part of the new Consular Assistance Information System, will address these concerns.

A small proportion of negative correspondence expressed concern about staff attitudes and service received, fees relating to notarial acts, as well as the accuracy of advice provided by smartraveller. All complaints were investigated in a timely manner and, where warranted, corrective action was taken.

Continuing support for the Charter for Safe Travel—membership of which grew from 2598 at 30 June 2007 to 2621 at 30 June 2008—reflected the travel industry’s satisfaction with the quality of the department’s information and services to travellers. At travel expos and other travel industry events at which the department was represented, members of the public and the travel industry expressed appreciation for the department’s consular services. Feedback through focus group and other market research mechanisms was generally positive and provided a useful foundation for further refinements to outreach programs.

Crisis management procedures in place and tested

In 2007–08, the department applied expanded crisis management infrastructure, systems and procedures during a series of minor crises and significant consular incidents that directly affected the welfare of Australians overseas. These included:

Client satisfaction with contingency planning

Australian Defence Force personnel valued the focused consular perspectives which the department’s officers provided during jointly–led Contingency Planning Assessment Team visits to regions with a higher risk of significant consular incidents.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs and other agencies organising Anzac Day commemorations in Turkey expressed satisfaction with contingency planning developed by the department for the Anzac Day events in Gallipoli and this year in Villers-Bretonneux. We worked closely with the Australian Rugby Union and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) on contingency planning for the Rugby World Cup in Europe in 2007 and the Olympics in Beijing in August 2008. The AOC expressed appreciation for our cooperation and coordination.

Response time to consular issues

Our capacity to respond rapidly to consular issues was underpinned by:

The department’s responsiveness to consular events was further complemented by the smartraveller travel advice subscription service and media campaigns. The subscription service allowed new or updated travel advisories and bulletins to be published on and emailed to subscribers simultaneously.

Quantity information for output 2.1: consular services
Number of Australians assisted overseas:
Consular cases
25 987
33 927
Public inquiries
371 785
304 888
Notarial acts performed
159 005
135 347
Number of unexpected events or crises handled by the department
Number of associated Emergency Task Force meetings held
Duration of Crisis Centre operations
59 days

2.1.2 Passport services

Quality indicators

Quantity indicators

Satisfaction of the public and the travel industry

The relatively small number of letters to ministers regarding passport matters, together with positive feedback from clients, confirmed continuing public satisfaction with passport services.

The priority passport service continued to be well subscribed. A total of 178 318 applicants paid the priority processing fee to obtain their passports within 48 hours, compared with 158 721 in 2006–07.

Turnaround time for passport issue

Despite an increase of 12 per cent in the number of passports issued in 2007–08, 99.3 per cent of compliant passport applications were processed within the 10 working days client service commitment, with an average turnaround time of 4.6 days. Priority processing fees were refunded to 11 applicants where the 48-hour turnaround service level was not met.

Quantity information for output 2.1: passport services
Number of passport inquiries handled by the Australian Passport Information Service
1 675 841
1 447 960
Number of travel documents issued, including urgent issues1
1 531 445
1 367 602

1 Travel documents include passports, documents of identity, certificates of identity and convention travel documents.


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