Justice launches work-from-home initiative

4 April 2016

The daily commute to and from work will end for more Ministry of Justice collections registry officers who will start transitioning to a new innovative working-from-home environment.

Bryre Patchell, General Manager Collections, says about 100 collections registry positions will move permanently from the office to working from home over the next 13 months.

Collections officers handle and process fines and reparation inquiries, and enforce payment when required.

“The vast majority of people now pay their fines online or over the phone, and these staff do not need to be in any specific location to do their job,” Mr Patchell says.

“We began looking into having people work from home some time ago, and in 2013 began a pilot to test the practical realities of this. It turns out the people involved are happier and more efficient when they work from home.”

When working from home, people found it easier to focus, which resulted in them feeling more engaged and being more productive.

“Technology is allowing people to work in ways that weren’t previously possible. The ability to access and receive information from anywhere means people now have greater freedom to decide where, when and how they work.

“It doesn’t matter where these staff work so long as they have a suitable space at home and they’ve got access to broadband. It also opens up future work options for people who live away from the main centres, especially those in rural areas.”

The changes do not affect services to the public, who will still be able to pay fines over the phone, online or in person at a Westpac branch, or at a District Court front counter. If they have any questions about fines they can call us on 0800 4FINES as most people do, or go to their local court.

For more information, contact Antony Paltridge on 04 918 8980 or 027 6890667.

Background information

How the work-from-home collections registry officer scheme operates:

  • To be able to work from home collections registry officers need to have a suitable working space set up, away from distractions and noise and where they can have private conversations. There will be a year lead-in for staff to get their home work-space set up.
  • Systems have been put in place to make sure private information is securely and properly handled.
  • Collections officers will be working from secure computer systems in a paper-less environment and will not be able to download or print information. The computer can only be used for Ministry work and any data is fully encrypted.
  • Collections officers can choose when they work their contracted hours between 7am-9pm Monday to Friday and 9am-5:30pm Saturday, up to a maximum of 10 hours per day. A break of two consecutive days is required each week.
  • Collections officers stay connected with the team and manager using video conferencing tools and an online chat tool.
  • The Ministry supplies staff with the equipment needed to work from home, including computers, dedicated broadband connection, dedicated phone line, phone, headsets and a chair and a contribution to a desk.
  • Collections officers are coached, led and managed remotely using web video conferencing to meet and interact with their manager and colleagues.
  • Staff will move to a ‘home environment’ later this year. Some may still be physically located in the office for a period of up to a year while their home office is made ready. They will do their work and communicate with their manager and team electronically, as though they are working from home.

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