The Department of Finance has moved to avoid future regulatory breaches and service quality issues associated with the agency responsible for managing public service and Defence superannuation schemes, ComSuper.
The Department is to shortly begin a data quality project to assess the superannuation data received, held and disseminated by ComSuper, which as at 30 June 2009 oversaw some $1.67 billion in contributions, $18 million in rollover super, $1.27 billion in lump sum payments, and $4.55 billion in pension benefits.
The move follows a 2009 Federal Government-commissioned review to identify options to improve the existing administration arrangements.
ComSuper has identified data quality as an issue as far back as 2008. In its 2008-2009 Annual Report the agency said it had, among other ICT projects, established a Data Quality Task Force focussed on improving employer provided data.
“The objective of the Data Quality Project is to assess, and as required, improve the quality and stability of the member superannuation data within the schemes such that the Commonwealth, and in particular ComSuper, can be assured that existing and future data quality is not a root cause of material service quality issues, regulatory breaches and/or costs due to rework and/or manual intervention and processing,” Finance documents on the new project read.
The project will be run in two phases, the first of which will see a review and documentation of the current issues around ComSuper’s data followed by the development of a strategy to prioritise and address these issues.
The second phase will see the implementation of the data quality resolution strategy and a detailed project initiation document to address individual data issues.
The scope of current and potential future problems around data quality are significant – the agency receives data from more than 200 departments and employer agencies every fortnight, and also pays about 30,000 new benefits per year, and some 200,000 pension payments per fortnight.
During the 2008-2009 period in addition to maintaining its superannuation administration systems, the agency had also replaced its outdated network switch infrastructure, continued a program of virtualisation and consolidation of its servers as a cost saving measure, and upgraded outdated software supporting a key business systems.
Looking forward to the 2009-2010 period, ComSuper said in the annual report that its focus would include harvesting information and communication technology savings of five per cent in 2009–10 and 10 per cent in 2010–11 as part of the outcomes arising from the Gershon review.