Services Australia, Infosys renegotiate Centrelink payments engine build

Services Australia has renegotiated its contract with Infosys for the build of the country’s new Centrelink payments calculation engine to keep better tabs on the project as it approaches delivery.

iTnews can reveal the pair negotiated a new contract earlier this year, one that adopt a more incremental method of delivery to allow for closer planning and monitoring of the build phase.

Infosys has been developing the Pegasystems-based entitlements calculation engine (ECE) solution since entering an initial $18.4 million contract for the proof-of-design work in November 2019.

The engine will replace the existing solution embedded in Centrelink’s legacy income security integrated system (ISIS), which is used to determine eligibility for welfare recipients 

It is the latest part of the billion-dollar Centrelink payments overhaul, known as the welfare payments infrastructure transformation (WPIT) program, which entered its final phase last year.

Services Australia general manager Hank Jongen told iTnews that the agency and Infosys “mutually agreed to renegotiate the work order… to better reflect the phased nature of the solution development”.

It means the former build work order for $142.6 million – which began in July 2020 and runs until the end of December 2023 – has been “replaced” by a new $42 million build work order.

However, unlike the previous work order, which covered a period of three-and-a-half years, the new work order runs for just over four months, ending in early August 2021, with further work orders likely.

Jongen said the “new contractual arrangement… better align with staged program delivery”, though he would not release the exact details of the renegotiation as they are commercial-in-confidence.

“It will allow us to more closely monitor each phase, which is based on core Centrelink customer cohorts; assess progress against deliverables; and ensure ongoing value for money,” he said.

Jongen declined to answer questions on what prompted the change in delivery methodology, though typically such changes occur to lessen the risk of cost overruns and delays.

The total value of contracts signed under the standing offer with Infosys for the build now sit at $63.8 million, with a further $37.3 million provided for the reuse of the platform across Services Australia.

The reuse will initially be limited to the residential aged care program, though Services Australia also intends to use the solution to calculate veterans income support and Medicare payments.

“It’s our intent for the Pega entitlement platform to be leveraged across other programs as a reusable platform,” Jongen added.

The ECE is expected to run in parallel with ISIS at least initially, much like the SAP-based centralised Payment Utility platform that has also been stood up under the WPIT program.

Services Australia began administering the first payments through the platform last November, including pensions.

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