Millions spent on dud welfare calculator despite local option

A “viable” local alternative to the failed Pegasystems platform that was intended to replace a 40-year-old mainframe rules engine used to calculate welfare payments was discovered by Services Australia almost a year before the $191 million project was finally scrapped, documents reveal.

The proof of concept, conducted by the agency two years into the Entitlement Calculation Engine (ECE) project, was found to accurately calculate payments in “highly complex real-world customer scenarios” at speeds not possible with the Pegasystems-based system.

It relied on software from a lesser-known Australian provider, SecureFast, which offers a complex workflow processing platform billed as a simple, low-cost way to translate policy and regulation into decision logic.

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