Report 2010-112 Recommendation 5 Responses

Report 2010-112: Employment Development Department: Its Unemployment Program Has Struggled to Effectively Serve California's Unemployed in the Face of Significant Workload and Fiscal Challenges (Release Date: March 2011)

Recommendation #5 To: Employment Development Department

To evaluate the effectiveness of its other efforts to provide services to claimants in ways that do not require them to speak to agents, such as Web-Cert and Tele-Cert, the department should periodically summarize and assess the more robust management information available under its new phone system.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From August 2017

EDD provided examples of various types of analyses that it performed, such as tracking inbound calls and blocked calls and comparing the number of claimants using UI online for payment information and the number of callers requesting to speak to an agent

  • Completion Date: August 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented

Fully implemented based on documentation cited in agency response.


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2016

The EDD regularly utilizes the management information that is available under the new phone system and UI Online(SM), as well as data provided by other methods, such as the UI Self-Service Options Survey, to implement this recommendation. The result of these efforts has allowed EDD to evaluate the effectiveness of service methods that do not require the claimant to speak to an agent. The EDD has enhanced and expanded its service delivery systems, such as making updates to the Interactive Voice Response System, and developing new methods of educating UI customers about UI Online(SM) to reduce the demand to speak to an EDD staff member.

  • Completion Date: May 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Partially Implemented

EDD provided an update of the table we included in our report titled "Unemployment Rate and Call Center Data by State Fiscal Year" through fiscal year 2015-16, which showed a significant reduction in total call attempts and a modest improvement in percentage of calls answered by an agent. Further, EDD provided documentation showing how it evaluates the effectiveness of its phone system, such as conducting surveys, to obtain an understanding of why people request to speak with an agent. In addition, it discussed certain services, such as UI online, that it indicated have reduced the demand to speak to a UI staff member. Although its documentation did not include many specific examples of how it has used the more robust management information available under its new phone system to further develop strategies and measurable goals related to achieving a reduction of call volumes, the actions EDD has reported it has taken through offering self services, such as UI online, and its purported reduction of total call attempts appear to have resolved many of our concerns. However, the percentage of calls answered by an agent seems to continue to be an issue. We continue to encourage EDD to maximize the enhanced management information in its phone system to ensure it is providing timely and effective customer service, such as periodically tracking key information against established benchmarks, similar to how it implemented recommendation #3.

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2015

This recommendation has been partially implemented. The EDD acknowledges the value in obtaining detailed information to evaluate the effectiveness of its self-service efforts. Accordingly, EDD will utilize the UI Self-Service Options Surveys as described in response to Recommendation No. 4 to obtain the information needed to determine what changes could be made to EDD's service delivery systems. This information will also assist EDD in identifying potential enhancements to the Interactive Voice Response System.

  • Estimated Completion Date: Summer of 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Not Fully Implemented


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2014

This recommendation has been partially implemented.

The EDD acknowledges the value in obtaining detailed information to evaluate the effectiveness of its self-service efforts. Accordingly, EDD will utilize the UI Self-Service Options Surveys as described in response to Recommendation No. 4 to obtain the information needed to determine what changes could be made to EDD's service delivery systems. This information will also assist EDD in identifying potential enhancements to the Interactive Voice Response System.

The EDD anticipates completion of this recommendation by the end of 2015.

  • Estimated Completion Date: December 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Not Fully Implemented


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2013

This recommendation has been partially implemented due to chronic federal underfunding in the UI program, which has led to reduced staff, combined with the need to implement the UI Modernization Continued Claims Redesign project as a high priority. The EDD acknowledges the value in obtaining detailed information to evaluate the effectiveness of its self-service efforts. System reports do not provide insight as to why callers request to speak to agents and are unable to use EDD's self-service features. Accordingly, the EDD will utilize the UI Self-Service Options Surveys as described in response to Recommendation #4 to obtain the information needed to determine what changes could be made to EDD's service delivery systems. This information will also assist EDD in identifying potential enhancements to the Interactive Voice Response system.

Dependent on the extent of its federal underfunding, EDD anticipates completion by the end of 2014.

  • Estimated Completion Date: End of 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Not Fully Implemented


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2012

This recommendation has not been fully implemented; the EDD anticipates that this status will be confirmed by the BSA follow-up review report expected to be issued in November 2012. The EDD has made significant improvements in increasing the number of callers who have accessed UI phone services. Between 2009 and 2011, there was a 94.4 percent decrease in blocked calls and an increase of 77 percent in answered calls. A key factor responsible for these improvements is the implementation of the UI Modernization Call Center Network Platform and Application Upgrade project. Implementation of this project contributed significantly to improving access to EDD's call services when Primary Call Centers received the new call center infrastructure and the capacity was expanded to include Primary Adjudication Centers in February 2011 and the Anaheim Pacific Center in June 2011.

The UI Branch continues to analyze its phone system call volume data along with other non-phone workload items such as on-line inquiries (i.e., Ask EDD), eligibility determinations, appeals, adjustments, etc. to identify opportunities to improve customer service. The UI Branch regularly balances the various workload levels with available staffing levels through daily workload management activities in an attempt to meet customer service demand and federal performance measures.

The UI Branch has focused on high-priority efforts to continue to improve and expand overall access to UI services. Efforts such as the automated Telephone Claim Filing Wrap-Up and Transfer project, the Public Service Program expansion to train more staff statewide, the incorporation of the ABP information into the existing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system implementation, and the UI Modernization Continued Claims Redesign (CCR) project all have or will have a positive effect on public access to UI program services. The EDD has prioritized and focused resources and funding in these efforts to gain the most on its investment by increasing access to more information via self-service options on the IVR or UI on-line services.

The CCR project will significantly enhance the IVR system by adding new claimant self-service functionality. When the EDD completes the CCR project in March 2013, it will:

Enhance the EDD TeleCertSM and the EDD WebCertSM by expanding the types of claims that can be processed by these self-service certification channels. These new services will provide a more user friendly method of certifying for UI benefits that will assist in reducing common errors made on the paper Continued Claim form that can cause benefit payment delays. Also, the CCR project will gather more eligibility information upfront from the claimant during the certification process and is anticipated to help improve determination timeliness and quality.

Reduce the need for callers to speak to an agent or submit an on-line inquiry request by providing callers with additional information through the IVR and more self-service functionality through an on-line claimant account.

Performing an extensive analysis of call volumes and developing comprehensive strategies before the CCR project is completed would not be a productive use of EDD's limited resources for two reasons. First, the IVR code is currently frozen while the CCR project is underway. The EDD's Information Technology Branch places a code freeze or moratorium on programming code changes that can affect or jeopardize the integrity of ongoing information technology projects. The IVR code freeze will prevent code changes to be released into the CCR project and protect the integrity of that project. Therefore, no actions based on the findings of our analysis could be implemented until after the CCR project is implemented in March 2013. Second, the EDD expects the CCR project will have an impact on call volumes and when a caller needs to speak with an agent. Once the CCR project is complete, the EDD will conduct a more comprehensive analysis to determine what changes would be cost beneficial for further improving service access and delivery for EDD customers. The EDD expects to conduct this analysis in 2013.

However, the EDD recognizes the value in obtaining information about why callers request to speak to an agent before the CCR project is implemented. Accordingly, prior to implementing the CCR project, the EDD will begin surveying claimants who have phoned and requested to speak to an agent to obtain more specific reasons for the calls and requests. This data, obtained outside the phone system, will be analyzed to determine what changes could be made to EDD's service delivery systems. This information will also assist the EDD in identifying potential enhancements to the IVR when changes to the IVR are once again allowed.

  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Not Fully Implemented


All Recommendations in 2010-112

Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.


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