An audit has labelled the state department Service Victoria a “missed opportunity”. 

Victoria’s auditor-general has found that in the five years since it was created, Service Victoria has failed to achieve its predicted savings, and delivered only a small fraction of its intended transactions.

Service Victoria was created within the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) to bring together the most popular transactions in one place. The ‘digital first’ agency is tasked with delivering digital projects that make using government services simpler and easier.

The original business case that led to the creation of Service Victoria (SV) in 2015 predicted a “net financial benefit of $61 million per year”.

But the latest audit shows SV achieved just $6 million in transactional benefits in 2019-20; a “significant shortfall from the reform program business case's annual transaction benefit estimate of $53 million”.

“The shortfall is because SV did not deliver the volumes or types of transactions that DPC outlined in its reform program business case,” the auditor’s report says.

The savings were not achieved in part because of the government’s decision “not to mandate the use of SV and it remains optional for agencies to use”, the audit found. 

“The subsequent failure to onboard two bundles of transactions that the business case had anticipated has significantly impacted SV’s benefits realisation,” the report said.

The transactions it referred to are land registration and title services, which could have brought $23.4 million in benefits per year, and VicRoads transactions, with a projected $17.6 million in benefits per year.

SV is delivering only a “fraction of its intended transaction volume” as a result, with  less than 10 per cent of the volume predicted by 2018-19 being delivered in 2019-20.

“While this is an increase on previous years, it is a significant shortfall from the business case estimate and makes up only 1.3 per cent of all Victorian government transactions,” the report says.

“DPC advised that over the medium to longer term, the government could decommission high-cost legacy systems and save money.

“However, agencies such as VicRoads, Ambulance Victoria and Working with Children Check Victoria still run their own digital transactions.

“This has meant that the Victorian Government has missed the opportunity to realise benefits from one centralised platform.

“Until departments and agencies decommission legacy systems, the government will continue to pay for multiple, fragmented IT systems and their associated costs.”