The Department of Human Services is seeking systems integrators for its $1 billion, seven-year Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation (WPIT) programme. \u201cThis is a once-in-a-generation project that will transform Government service delivery to meet the challenges of the digital age,\u201d Alan Tudge, Minister for Human Services said in a statement. \u201cThe WPIT programme makes Australia the world leader when it comes to innovation in the delivery of income support. No other nation is investing in circumstance driven management, risk based management, or flexible modern payment systems as we are. That\u2019s why we\u2019re looking for the world\u2019s best to partner with us on this programme.\u201d The department noted in tender documents issued yesterday that it hopes to make the delivery of payments and services \u2018comparable in customer experience to other services such as banking, retail and insurance\u2019 with a system which \u2018pays the correct people the correct amount in the correct timeframe\u2019 and allows for integrated access from other government agencies and service providers. \u201cThe new system will need to support a shift from payment stovepipes to standardised and reusable capabilities across the payments architecture, whilst managing the inherent complexity that comes from welfare legislation and policy,\u201d said the department\u2019s CIO Gary Sterrenberg. There are some 350 systems at present based on hard-coded rules which have been piling up since the early \u201980s, a situation that requires \u2018significant effort\u2019, \u2018unnecessary costs\u2019 and \u2018requires staff to perform manual repetitive tasks that could otherwise be automated\u2019. The department said it wishes to establish a \u2018partnering model\u2019 and emphasised the need for successful vendors to align \u2018ways of working\u2019 to its own culture and that it expects \u2018commitment to collaborative problem solving\u2019. Vendors would also need to agree to \u2018avoid disputes where possible, but to resolve them honestly and transparently where unavoidable\u2019. The department said it would link performance management measures to these \u2018demonstrated behaviours\u2019. \u201cOur cultures and values must be complementary,\u201d said John Murphy, deputy secretary payments reform. "Our relationships are built on trust, long-term and mutual commitments.\u201d The department said the programme would be delivered through a series of tranches over a seven-year period. Contractors will compete at each stage, and those that fail to meet \u2018specified milestones\u2019 risked not getting paid. \u201cThere may also be liquidated damages payable for late delivery, and other remedies available to the department for poor performance,\u201d the request for tender document noted. This phased approach, using tranches, was \u2018based on industry best-practice and provides the flexibility to review progress, adapt to emerging technology, and work through challenges as they arise,\u2019 the department said. The government announced it had given the go-ahead for the multi-year project in April last year. The 2015-16 budget earmarked $60.5 million for planning, scoping and design work. That tender process has identified SAP as the preferred Core Software Vendor, subject to further discussions on commercial matters including value for money.