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‘Big bang’ reforms to migration ICT system branded as a failure

‘Big bang’ reforms to migration ICT system branded as a failure

Report calls out outdated ICT architecture and cumbersome processes.

Credit: Photo 169665973 © Benson George |

Multiple “big bang” efforts to modernise the federal government’s decades-old migration ICT system have left it with a “cumbersome” and “outdated” process. 

According to a damning report from the Department of Home Affairs, previous large attempts to modernise the ICT systems used by migrants applying for visas and citizenship to Australia “tried to do too much, too quickly, while putting everything else on hold”. 

“Many have failed to deliver the transformation that was promised,” the review, led by former public service chief Martin Parkinson, read. 

The list of such reform programs includes the Global Digital Platform, Permissions Capability and the earlier Systems for People. 

“Part of the problem with such ‘big bang’ efforts has been the level and speed of change, combined with significant deprioritisation of any improvements to current systems,” the report said. 

The Department of Home Affairs has also struggled due to a siloed approach to ICT upgrades, the report continued, and an underinvestment in other enabling capabilities (such as business rules, people and culture), which are required to realise the benefits of ICT, digital and data transformation 

As such, the current ICT systems lack flexibility and responsiveness and new technology has not been adopted. 

The report claimed that the migration system needs a "high performing ICT system” to meet Australia’s needs as the current outdated ICT architecture and cumbersome process “erodes the capacity of departmental staff to deliver high quality service and erodes morale”. 

In addition to the processing technology, the Department was also criticised for its lack of technology to reduce fraud and decision error.  

“For example, for most visa applicants, the Department primarily relies on documents such as passport details and birth certificates provided by the applicant to verify identity,” the report stated. Instead, it was claimed, the Department could do more to use processing technology such as biometrics.  

“Because ICT systems, data and technology underpin policies and programs, they need to be capable of adapting and responding quickly and flexibly when change is required,” it added.  

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Tags Department of Home Affairs

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