Fighting Fraud

Through an implementation of SAP’s Investigative Case Management Solution, Centrelink has improved its investigation processes and systems, which will mean fewer taxpayer dollars lost to fraud. Freya Purnell reports. 

As a program of the Department of Human Services, Centrelink distributes over $120 billion in social security payments on behalf of the Australian Government. To ensure that payments are made to the appropriate recipients, Centrelink has a team of over 500 case officers and investigators, who together manage more than 22,000 cases of fraud or serious non-compliance. Prosecutions arising from these investigations result in an estimated saving to government of approximately $100 million.

Challenges
Centrelink was implementing a strategy to improve payment accuracy and reduce fraud and non-compliance. In addition, an audit by the Australian National Audit Office had found deficiencies with the current system, which included a lack of rigour in following procedures, limited ability for management to oversee investigations, and investigators relying on locally managed databases, paper-based processes and old technology.  These issues had led to a number of high-profile court cases, where citizens were able to prove that investigations were not conducted in accordance with the department’s stated guidelines.

The challenge was therefore to provide a system to enforce processes, and support Centrelink’s increasing workloads, reduced budgets and demands for greater accountability.

Implementation
SAP was contracted by Human Services to provide a solution that offered consistent workflow, efficient management oversight, enhanced operational visibility, policy compliance and systems support.

The SAP Investigative Case Management solution, which is a relatively new solution, addressed most of Centrelink’s business requirements, and offered additional functionality by supporting operational issues with targeted, tailored solutions designed to meet its specific needs. The solution’s interoperability with Centrelink’s existing SAP footprint, which include SAP HR and Financials, was an advantage.

In one of its first implementations globally, the SAP  investigative Case Management solution, installed within SAP CRM, was deployed in just four months. The project began in March this year, and the first investigation team went live in July, with a national roll-out currently underway to complete the system’s functionality.

A team from SAP Consulting spent a month completing the business blueprint, then proceeding quickly to implement. The blueprinting process was made simpler due to the Centrelink investigations team’s solid process knowledge.

“They have known how to run investigations for many years, they just didn’t have a proper system to support it. They were really excited that they could access even simple functionality like search,” says Klaus Wigand, solution manager, public security, SAP, says.

Designed to help investigators automate processes, streamline intelligence gathering and increase productivity and efficiency, SAP Investigative Case Management includes key business processes and tools to manage resources, assets and exhibits across the investigation lifecycle; to manage large volumes of information as part of daily operations to support intelligence gathering, grading and storage processes; to provide investigators with intuitive, role-based access to investigative information; and to manage and protect the distribution and sharing of information across the investigative ecosystem.  Mike Brett, national manager, business integrity applications at Centrelink said, “SAP was able to demonstrate solution capabilities specific to Centrelink’s business processes and issues, and quickly established itself as a partner, rather than just a software vendor. The easily configurable framework and user interface have already been described as ‘next generation’ by the people using them. The fact we went from development to testing in six weeks was also a great achievement.”

Organisational benefits
The benefits for the department are significant, including increased data integrity, an improved quality of management information, more consistent case management work practices, increased productivity through automation, assured compliance with policies, and the possibility of future interoperability with other government agencies.

Importantly, according to Wigand, the end users were “extremely happy with the solution”. He says the system has now established new decision points, and provides users with much more process support.

This article was first published in Inside SAP December 2011. 

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