Oranga Tamariki runs COVID-19 public helplines

Published: April 2, 2020

Our contribution to the country’s pandemic response ramped up this week, with the set-up of two Covid-19 helplines on our own Contact Centre platform.

Social work resource assistant Roop Kaur on helplines
Resource Assistant, Roop, on the helplines

The Oranga Tamariki Contact Centre, which hosts our 0508 FAMILY line, now also hosts a new Covid-19 helpline for the New Zealand public, 0800 779 977, and a line for enquiries from all the essential workers across Aotearoa, 0800 22 66 57.

An opportunity to help

Chief Technology Officer, Arun Rajamani, says Oranga Tamariki was in a unique position to help after our cloud-based contact centre platform went live this week - the culmination of a year-long project.

“Soon after, we were approached by the Department of Internal Affairs to use the new platform to support Covid-19 related calls.”

Along with the Digital Workplace infrastructure, the new platform allows contact centre agents to work remotely, and from home.

Amazingly quick work to set it up

With great support from the Department of Internal Affairs, the Oranga Tamariki Contact Centre team worked quickly with Spark to get the new helplines set up, and the numbers are now published on www.covid19.govt.nz

The first call was answered within 48 hours of the first request to help! In the first two hours, almost 400 calls were responded to.

Separate call queues with messaging have been created, and scripts developed to assist agents to take calls.

Interagency collaboration

Oranga Tamariki National Contact Centre staff are taking the calls on the new lines, with about 40 Stats NZ staff also helping out. Calls are routed to both Oranga Tamariki and Stats NZ agents. In time there could be up to 200 agents taking enquiries through the lines.

Oranga Tamariki National Contact Centre Operations Manager, Shane Willoughby, says our staff have been really responsive and supportive.

“They’ve been willing to hop on and help out.”

Our core work continues

Steps have been taken to ensure that the addition of the new helplines on our platform won’t affect our 0508 FAMILY number, even if they become inundated. 

Shane says the Oranga Tamariki response to the public will not be impacted, and so far everything is going well.

“It’s really great. I jumped on myself and took a few calls a couple of days ago and the people on the other end of phone are really grateful, acknowledging the support they’re getting.”