Safer MSD Service Centre roll out

Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, today visited the Otara Work and Income service centre, the first Auckland office with the new and improved security features stemming from the Ashburton tragedy in 2014

“Today is an important milestone in the work we are doing to keep Work and Income staff, clients and visitors in our service centres safe,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“Otara combines new security features and front-of-house improvements that are being rolled out to all Work and Income service centres across New Zealand to protect staff and visitors and create a warmer, friendlier environment for Work and Income clients.

“The tragic incident in Ashburton in 2014 where a Work and Income client murdered two staff highlighted the need for stronger security at Work and Income offices.

“There has been a huge amount of planning, piloting and investment to implement changes and we are now seeing the results of that work at Otara.

“Not only is the Otara office more secure, it is also more welcoming with front-of-house changes including a different layout, design, colour scheme, enhanced privacy, activities for children, bathroom facilities, water-coolers and no requirement to provide identification to enter an office, features that are also being rolled out to other offices,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

There are three parts to the physical changes at the Otara Work and Income Office    

  1. a more modern and welcoming front of house area
  2. private spaces for clients and staff so they can talk openly about sensitive issues
  3. improved security design that allows for quick exit for staff and clients in case of crisis 

Clients that have visited the offices with the new front of house changes report feeling more welcome, calmer and say they’re able to have better conversations with MSD staff and are receiving a better service. Seventy five percent of staff working in offices with the new security improvements, report feeling safer.

“Of course it’s not just about the physical changes. There’s been a concerted effort to improve MSD’s service culture this year. I’ve been clear with MSD that we need to improve access to information and support for clients and treat them with fairness and respect,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“Combined with other service improvements such as staff and security guard training, the online eligibility guide which gives people clear information about their entitlements, access to more services via MyMSD, and a focus on client wellbeing – I believe we are providing a better service for our clients and therefore a safer environment for people in our service centres,” she said.

Twenty four offices will be fitted out with the full security and front of house changes by June 2019 and will be rolled out to all remaining Work and Income service centres over the next three years.