by Byron Connolly

Department of Human Services to rip out ageing child support system

Jul 18, 20132 mins

The federal government’s Department of Human Services (DHS) is set to replace a core system that processes around $3.2 billion in transactions each year to provide financial support to 1.2 million children.

The DHS issued a tender on Thursday for a supplier to replace its ‘Cuba’ system, which was implemented in 2002, and according to the department, is no longer able to “fully or easily support Commonwealth government initiatives or directions.”

Funding for the project was included in the federal budget.

Under a three-year project, the new DHS system – which will run on an SAP platform – is expected to improve the department’s ability to deliver family services, particularly online and mobile.

The DHS said the system needs to reduce the impact of system-generated errors, which affect the “accuracy of child support assessments, families payments and continuity of customer service.”

It also needs to have multiple needs assessed through “interoperability and exchange of information between child support and families systems, for example family tax benefit and child support information,” the DHS said.

The agency’s existing system is used by more than 3,000 staff and comprises about 650 screens and windows supported by 1,000 mainframe-based servers and 7,500 code modules. It processes more than 1 billion transactions per year with 1.5 million paying and receiving parents.

“The department’s current and future capacity to deliver business services to families is dependent upon having a system that is agile and responsive enough to support the transformation of services of families and a whole of government approach,” the DHS tender said.

“It must be developed in a way that maximises software reuse opportunities for the department.”

The project is expected to be completed by mid-2016.