The Australian Attorney-General’s department has awarded a $4.8 million contract to consulting firm Oakton for the re-platforming of the national Document Verification Service.
The DVS was designed to provide a secure, online service for government agencies to verify identity documents including passports, visas, drivers licenses and birth certificates in real-time.
The service was trialled in 2006 by the Howard Government and went live in late 2007.
Under a new contract announced this week, service provider Oakton will rebuild the DVS using Microsoft tools (.NET, SQL server) in an effort to cut the cost of running the service.
The existing DVS is understood to run on IBM's DB2 platform and uses IBM's WebSphere MQ messaging middleware. The latter is expected to remain in place under the new deal with Oakton.
Once the re-platforming is complete, the AGD plans to migrate the hosting of the service from the Department of Human Services' racks to those run by Oakton.
The system was plagued with issues from launch. A 2010 audit report branded it a “failure” after it failed to meet a target of one million daily transactions. It was found to only be processing less than ten a day at the time.
It was also criticised for failing to identify fraudulent documents, while technical glitches meant that to a quarter of transactions took longer than the targeted 20 seconds to process.
The system nonetheless limped along and by mid-2011, all state and territory governments had signed up to use the DVS.
In 2012 the Federal Government poured an extra $7.5 million into the project until 2014 and announced it would open it to use by the private sector, introducing a transaction fee designed to recoup $6.9 million in revenue.
According to the department’s website, the DVS was made available to the private sector from last month.