Services Australia expects that over half of all Centrelink payments will be calculated through its new Pega-based entitlements calculation engine by mid-2022 after Infosys proved the solution could scale.
Deputy CEO of transformation projects Charles McHardie laid out the timeline for the move off the agency’s legacy entitlements calculation solution at Gartner’s IT Symposium/Xpo on Monday.
The new solution will be used to determine eligibility for welfare recipients and how much to pay them.
The actual payments are then processed through a relatively new payments platform known as Payment Utility.
Around 90 percent of payments are already being paid to welfare recipients through Payment Utility, which has been built on SAP S/4 HANA and IBM Power9 infrastructure.
“We’ve now commenced planning and preparation work for the next phase [of the entitlements calculation engine (ECE) build], with a milestone completion date [planned] for mid next year,” McHardie said.
“Once this phase is complete, approximately half of Centrelink program outlays will then be calculated in the new entitlements calculation engine.
“This will establish technological capability that is reusable across government.
“It will allow ECE to undertake rules simulation to better inform budget costings and the service delivery aspect of future policy changes.”
Infosys has been developing the new ECE to replace a calculation solution embedded in Centrelink’s legacy income security integrated system (ISIS) since beating Accenture and IBM to the deal in 2019.
The build officially kicked off in July 2020 following a seven-month proof of design that involve reimagining the existing solution and decoupling the business rules.
McHardie said Infosys completed the first phase of the build on September 6, with a “critical design review” rounding out what has been a 14-month process.
“The purpose of the critical design review was to prove the end-to-end solution will work in a non-production environment and demonstrate that the system can operate at scale”, he said.
McHardie said the first build phase also delivered a series of “foundational achievements” that allowed the agency to set itself up for future phases.
He said this included “building out over 12,500 rules in the new Pega platform” and “running over 52 customer scenarios through the calculation engine” to ensure the correct outcomes were generated.
It also involved launching the Services Academy, a training group for Australian Public Service staff and contractors to upskill in Pega software, in June.
Both the ECE solution and Payment Utility are the latest part of Services Australia’s long-running welfare payments infrastructure (WPIT) program, which is now officially in its final year.
Last year, the government set aside in excess of $500 million in the federal budget to the program, the largest chunk of funding since the project began in 2015.
McHardie said Services Australia is continuing to plan the approach to transition the remaining legacy capabilities in the entitlements calculations space to the new platform beyond June 2022.
An audit last year flagged that “almost half of the decommissioning was not expected to be completed by the end of the program” despite this being the main goal of WPIT.