Australia is set to overhaul its huge welfare payment system in a move described by the government as one of the most significant digital transformations in its history. Each year, more that $110 billion of payments are made to over four million households, through more than 100 million transactions each year.
The Government has issued a Request for Tender to determine the principal commercial partners to support what it is calling its Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation (WPIT) program. While the Commonwealth will work with a commercial partner, it stressed that it would keep full ownership of the project
According to Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge ,“This is a once-in-a-generation project that will transform Government service delivery to meet the challenges of the digital age.”
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“The system is one of the largest and most complex in the world,” he said.
“Australians use digital technology in every aspect of their lives, using apps and web sites to do everything from online banking to grocery shopping. The expectation is that Government will keep pace with these changes, and that’s precisely what the WPIT programme will deliver.”
Tudge said the WPIT would also ensure Government systems are well linked — for example, allowing a simple cross-check between Centrelink and ATO data, which will also speed up processing and presumably improve fraud detection.
“The WPIT program makes Australia the world leader when it comes to innovation in the delivery of income support. No other nation is investing in circumstance-driven management, risk-based management, or flexible modern payment systems as we are. That’s why we’re looking for the world’s best to partner with us on this programme.”
In September last year the government sought expressions of interest from Core Software Vendors to deliver an innovative, integrated technology platform with German software company SAP winning the gig as the preferred Core Software Vendor.
The new tender established a small panel of systems integrators to execute the transformation.
“This is a unique opportunity to form strategic partnerships with industry to develop pioneering technology and services to transform the way Australians interact with the welfare system,” Minister Tudge said.
“The aim is to address the complexities in payments and services that delivers significant improvements for Australians and the best value for money for taxpayers.”
About $60 million net expenditure, over four years, was allocated to progress Tranche One in 2015–16. Once the panel of commercial partners is selected the department will seek government funding for Tranche Two of the WPIT program.