WPIT good: DHS aims to prove public servants can do ‘agile’

The Department of Human Services WPIT program aims to completely rebuild the nuts and bolts side of the social safety net. If it goes to plan, it will be a watershed for agile digital transformation in the public service.

There is a lot riding on the Department of Human Services Welfare Payments Infrastructure Transformation and it could be a demonstration of agile development and best practice digital transformation in the public service. That’s if all goes according to the long, expensive and challenging plan.

One year into a seven-year program of work, the WPIT program is starting to pick up steam with a request for tenders from systems integrators that want to join a panel of up to six being released this week, and discussions with SAP underway to firm up its role as core software provider.

John Murphy, who is responsible for making WPIT a success as deputy secretary for payments reform, knows well that new IT systems cannot solve all the department’s problems. “We are going to adopt different ways of working.”

He says the mega-project is more about transforming the way the department works, and using newer technology to support that, redesigning services based on user needs and expectations, and following “agile methodology” so that when it’s finally finished in 2022, what it has delivered is still relevant.

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