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Delivering cost-effective services

The Department has continued to focus on delivering cost-effective services to, and for, Government. Through a range of initiatives, Finance continued to deliver better services and better outcomes for clients and stakeholders.

In particular Finance delivered services to Commonwealth entities through the Service Delivery Office, providing efficiencies to clients and providing high-level services to parliamentarians, their employees and others to assist them in undertaking their duties.

Service Delivery Office

The SDO directly supports the modernisation and transformation of the APS as one of the Hubs providing shared services to Commonwealth entities. Through the delivery of shared, standard and sustainable technologies and processes, the SDO contributes to increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of organisational management.

The SDO is realising the benefits of deploying standard digital technologies once, for multiple entities, through a shared services arrangement.

Transitioning to Shared Services

In 2018–19, Finance successfully transitioned to a shared services arrangement with the SDO, complementing our existing policy and delivery responsibilities. The Department now receives shared services such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, pay and conditions, payroll administration and payroll management from the SDO.

This transition provides Finance with access to the SDO’s modern, integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system at a reduced cost. The ERP system gives Finance staff access to self-serve automated workflows and efficient ways to manage people, finance and procurement functions, including by reducing reconciliations and risks between Finance’s three legacy systems and faster decision-making using enhanced real-time reporting capability.

This new digital capability enables Finance to work more effectively, using more efficient business processes, and to position itself for the future. It means that our people can focus on strategic and higher value work, supporting the Government to deliver for citizens and business.

The Department made the transition to shared services over an 18-month period through the Shared Services Implementation Project (SSIP). The transition involved a broad group of stakeholders from across the Department and was governed by a two-tiered project management structure comprising an operationally focused project board and strategically focused steering committee.

The SSIP has already delivered wide-ranging benefits including streamlined and cleansed HR and financial data and documented end state business processes that will be used to further improve corporate processes and economies of scale.

Single Touch Payroll

By adopting a principle that requires standard solutions to all new ICT deployments, the SDO is:

  • enabling quicker implementation of solutions
  • providing for faster adoption of upgrades and new technologies including process automation and augmented intelligence
  • avoiding higher future costs associated with maintenance of customised solutions.

In May 2019, the SDO successfully implemented a digital solution for Single Touch Payroll (STP) for its clients that consume the payroll service, ensuring their compliance with legislation. This is the first implementation of the SAP standard STP solution in the APS. By implementing the standard solution, the SDO has minimised the implementation and ongoing costs for its clients, including running, maintenance and upgrade costs.

STP is a legislative change initiated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) which requires employers to submit to the ATO the taxable gross earnings, Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding tax, allowance payments and employer superannuation contributions made to employees at the end of each pay cycle.

The solution was implemented at a technical cost of around $600,000, representing an average cost for each agency of around $65,000. In comparison, estimates for a single agency implementation cost are five times higher. If applied across the nine SDO clients, this would total around $3 million. Through the implementation of STP as a shared services offering, the SDO delivered to its clients a solution that is standard, compliant with legislative requirements and achieves value for money by removing the cost of duplication.

In line with the objectives of the Shared Services Program, the SDO’s approach to deploying digital technologies actively enables the realisation of standard business processes and supports the SDO’s clients to lift performance and capacity by enabling them to focus on delivering core services to citizens and business.

COMCAR Automated Resource System

In March 2019, the Department, through COMCAR, implemented a new vehicle booking and dispatch management system. The new COMCAR Automated Resource System (CARS) has enabled numerous efficiencies and benefits that are a vast improvement on the old booking system, delivering an enhanced service and experience to clients.

The modern technology in CARS delivers benefits to both COMCAR and its clients. For

  • additional communication channels allow for greater interaction with both clients and drivers
  • clients can now make, amend and view their bookings through a dedicated client online portal and mobile application as well as track the location of their vehicle
  • COMCAR drivers can now access key information about their role via a drivers’ mobile application.

Throughout the development and implementation of CARS, COMCAR staff ensured that all stakeholder groups were kept informed. COMCAR provided user training to staff as well as individual, tailored support to COMCAR clients.

The implementation of the online booking functionality to clients has been successful, with user uptake of the client web portal and mobile application progressing well. The introduction of CARS has allowed COMCAR, its staff and clients to embrace the use of new modern technology, further improve internal operations and deliver a contemporary service to its valued clients.