The high error rate of Centrelink’s automated debt recovery operation is “catastrophic”, “shocking”, “appalling” and “extremely preventable,” according to the Turnbull Government’s former digital transformation tsar Paul Shetler.
And if Centrelink were in the private sector “it would be shut down by the regulator for fraud,” he told ABC radio this morning.
If the government was hoping Mr Shetler would go quietly into the night after resigning as its chief digital officer in late November, it must be very, very disappointed right now.
The Centrelink story is a terrible look for a government that has made digital service delivery a central theme. Just as the ATO’s recent failures were a terrible look. Just as the Census fail was a terrible look.
The other thing about the Centrelink story is that it is going to run and run.
The ridiculously error rates of the automated debt recovery program has put a spotlight on a gigantic hairball.