August 16, 2023
Aging systems slow change in welfare ministry
The Ministry of Social Development expects it could take 9 years and $2 billion to overhaul its information technology systems.
It’s calling for proposals from firms which will work with it to overhaul processes and build the new systems for the transformation programme, known as Te Pae Tawhiti.
Viv Rickard, its deputy chief executive for service delivery, says just keeping the current processes going would cost $1.2 billion because of the need to replace equipment and code written in the 1980s.
He says the existing system can’t cope with the challenges being thrown at it, such as paying out $18 billion in the Covid wage subsidies.
“We had to do that outside our system because the system’s so old. We did the same for civil defence payments during the floods. I had to take 370 people off their work and move them onto that. There’s impacts when you do things so we’re not as agile to help in terms of things we should be doing for New Zealanders and actually doing for people so they have a better experience,” Mr Rickard says.
As well as paying out welfare benefits, the Ministry for Social Development handles payments for 190,000 students, 900,000 superannuitants and 340,000 accommodation supplements.