The Department of Human Services has released a request for expressions of interest (EOI) from the IT industry to design and construct a new Centrelink payment system.
The EOI is part of a $1 billion, multi-year project to overhaul the Income Security Integrated System, which dates back to 1983, and is used to manage welfare payment delivery, support customer service functions and perform compliance activities for the DHS’s Centrelink program.
In 1983 the Department of Social Security began using the Model 204 (M204) database for IBM mainframes to manage the system.
Today, the system is a composite of more than 350 additional components that have been bolted on top of the M204 database.
Human services minister Senator Marise Payne said the procurement marks the first milestone for the Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation (WPIT) programme.
“The new welfare payment system is a once-in-a-generation investment, which will transform the way the department delivers payments and services to millions of Australians each year,” she said.
“Finding innovative and expert industry partners is the first step in providing a modern platform that will make interacting with government services easier for our customers.”
The EOI will be considered as part of a core software vendor selection process which will help select a commercial off-the-shelf integrated technology platform to support the WPIT programme. Procurement of systems integrators will begin in 2016.
According to Payne, the new system will reduce red tape for customers, lower the costs of administering welfare payments and save taxpayers money.
“Customers can expect to see improvements to our payment systems by the end of 2016 with enhancements that will make online interactions quicker and easier.”
The new system is due to be completely implemented by 2022. The system will be customer focused and take advantage of real-time data monitoring and analysis to deliver significant benefits to government, taxpayers and welfare recipients, the government said.
For example, the new system will “fully capitalise” on digital technology, giving customers access to more online services.
“Customers will only have to call or come in to an office if they need intensive support, with improved online functions and access to real-time information about their payments,” a backgrounder released in April said.