Landgate outsourcing not ruled out

Landgate outsourcing not ruled out

ALONG with the prospect of more job losses, Landgate chief executive Mike Bradford has not ruled out the use of subcontractors as digital transition continues to drive change.

Mr Bradford confirmed “outsourcing of aspects of the business” was a possibility.

The State office for land ownership registration reduced its workforce by another 113 people earlier this year with more job losses likely, but no decision as to when and how many will go.

More than 600 employees remain at the head office building in Midland and eight in the city shop front. Former employee Mary Shaw, of Midvale, said taking into account the 2015 redundancies, more than 300 people had now lost their jobs.

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“It’s shameful the way this has been handled; I’ve heard people are in tears every day,” she said.

“Staff are so stressed and people are taking ‘sickies’ more than ever before.”

Ms Shaw said a support group of former colleagues meet regularly.

“Only three out of about 20 people who come along have found another job,” she said.

The former customer service officer became a Citizens Advice Bureau volunteer after opting for voluntary redundancy in April last year.

She had planned to work until she was 70 but with jobs halved in her section, she said the risk was too great to stay.

She said the average age of those who left was 55 and many had years of loyal service.

“I’m not bitter, as I was 67 at the time; I’m just plain angry at what is being done there and the grief being caused.

“To see so many good people leave… the knowledge that went out with some of those people.”

She said external agencies consulted about the review included a team from Deloitte re-located to Landgate for several months.

“We’re now hearing rumours of a call centre overseas, with less than 200 staff to remain at Landgate,” she said.

She has written letters to Lands Minister Terry Redman and Mike Bradford and said she has not received a reply.

Mr Redman referred the Reporter to Landgate chief executive Mike Bradford for comment.

“We’ve been open and upfront with our employees about the need for change through this process and we will continue to consult with them,” Mr Bradford said.

“Landgate has been undertaking a significant business transformation program since early 2014 to become smarter and more agile.

“Our business, like many others, is transitioning to the digital economy at a rapid rate.”

He did not disclose the cost of external advice sought for the review and said the transition to digital was managed internally.

“Our changes have delivered savings in the order of $15.5 million per year and led to improved customer satisfaction rates, which have increased by nearly 10 per cent compared to last year,” he said.

“Some property transactions that once took up to seven days to process can now be completed in real-time.”

WA, along with other States, has been shifting to a fully electronic environment since the introduction of PEXA (Property Exchange Australia) in 2013.

“Electronic conveyancing allows transactions to be processed in real time and is more secure as users must be registered and undergo rigorous identity checks,” Mr Bradford said.

“On average, customers who visit Landgate’s Midland customer service centre wait fewer than four minutes to see a customer service representative.”

He dismissed any concern over an increase in staff sickness caused by the transition.

“The use of illness-related personal leave is below the average for the public sector,” he said.

“Landgate is conscious change can be difficult for some people, which is why it is going to considerable lengths to support both those employees leaving the business and those remaining.”

He said the support included confidential counselling, job application preparation and access to a wellness program.

LANDGATE’S DIGITAL DRIVE:

Immediate registration of electronic conveyancing

Automated transfers of ownership, mortgages and mortgage discharges

Electronically lodged documents registered in under a minute

Manual processing reduced from six days to 1.5 days

Customer satisfaction up by 10 per cent