Consumer Protection responds to enquiries from members of the public and provides them with customised information or education. A key element of the Consumer Protection role is to provide tailored advice and assistance to the community in relation to specific matters, typically on a one-to-one basis and of a short duration. The response can be a result of telephone, front counter, email or letter enquiry.
Consumer Protection delivers non-customised and mass-produced services that provide members of the public with information and raises awareness within the community. Many of these activities are automated and include online visitors to the department’s websites (including FuelWatch and ScamNet) and the delivery of mass-produced services, including publication distribution and visitor attendance at shows, expos or seminars.
Client contacts are recorded in three separate areas of the department:
The number of client contacts in each category is added together to calculate the total number of client contacts. The total cost of service is divided by the total number of client contacts to give an average cost per client contact.
In 2017–18 the department undertook 13,011,224 activities to provide information and advice services, compared with 11,751,733 undertaken in 2016–17. As a result, the average cost per unit to provide information and advice was $1.14, which is 22 per cent lower than the 2016–17 figure of $1.46 and 25 per cent lower than the 2017–18 target of $1.51. The variance can be attributed to a large increase in the number of visits to the FuelWatch website (approximately 1.7million more hits than in 2016–17). This is due to increased volatility in fuel prices in the past 12 months.
Table 29: Key efficiency indicator S1.1: Average cost per client contact to provide information and advice