Shared Services SA is responsible for the payment of over 103,000 public sector employees. The primary payroll system used to pay approximately 70,000 of these employees is the CHRIS Human Resource Management System (HRMS).

The existing environment was relatively complex and comprised 27 CHRIS 5 databases and 3 CHRIS 21 databases that were set up and configured in different ways by agencies before their transition to Shared Services SA.

On 3 February 2014, Cabinet approved the progression of a project (CHRIS 21 Project) to:

  • Upgrade the government’s primary payroll system from CHRIS 5 to CHRIS 21 (as CHRIS 5 would no longer be supported by the vendor moving forward)
  • Consolidate the 30 CHRIS databases into a new environment comprising only two (2) CHRIS 21 databases; one for SA Health and the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) and the second for all other in-scope agencies
  • Reduce the number of different pay cycles (pay fortnight and pay days) currently in place for different groups of employees.

In addition to ensuring that the South Australian Government is operating on a contemporary and supported HRMS, the upgrade and consolidation provides a range of benefits to a number of agencies and their employees.

The CHRIS 21 Project consisted of three phases.

Phase 1 – Planning and Design Phase

Phase 1 was the initial scoping and design phase that concluded in February 2014 when Cabinet approved the progression of the project.

Phase 2 – Preparation Phase

The preparation phase of the CHRIS 21 Project included the below major activities.

  • Finalisation of the standard configuration for the new CHRIS 21 environment
  • Extensive testing of the new CHRIS 21 environment to ensure that the system is operating correctly (more than 10,000 individual tests were undertaken)
  • Commencement of the pay cycle alignment program:
  • Pay cycles were successfully aligned for approximately 300 DCSI and SACE Board employees in May 2015 (Group 1)
  • Pay cycles were successfully aligned for approximately 4,800 Country Health SA employees in August 2015 (Group 2)
  • Development of implementation plans for each agency impacted by the CHRIS 21 Project, including the identification of resource/cost impacts and any required changes to existing processes and systems
  • Development and testing of the employee self-service solution (HR21 self-service).

Phase 3 - Implementation

Phase 3 of the project commenced in October 2015 and involved the progressive migration of each existing legacy CHRIS database (30 in total) into the new CHRIS 21 environment. 

Benefits to Agencies and Employees

The CHRIS 21 upgrade provided the opportunity to significantly improve services for employees some of the benefits are outlined below:

  • Improved online functionality to manage and update personal information held within CHRIS (such as addresses, emergency contact details, bank account information and certain voluntary deduction arrangements);
  • More consistently timed implementation of new award or enterprise agreement provisions.  For example, annual pay increments would start on the same day across all applicable employees rather than on different days over a fortnight as is the current practice;
  • Opportunity to address current issues for particular employee groups on timesheets who receive base pay and penalties for a particular fortnight in two separate pays;
  • Ability to display more information on payslips than is currently available; and
  • Improved ability for employees to access leave balances and current/historic payslips and payment summaries from home as well as at work.

Affected Agencies

This list is designed to help employees identify the Government Agencies which were included in the scope of the CHRIS 21 Project.

Potential impacts on different employee groups within each agency, were communicated directly following consultation with Unions/employee representative bodies.


Agency Go Live Date Status
Attorney-General's Department (including ICAC) 11 Jan 2016 Live
Auditor-General's Department 02 May 2016 Live
Country Fire Service 09 Jan 2017 Live
Country Health: Eyre Region 11 Jul 2016 Live
Country Health: Hills Mallee Southern Region 05 Sep 2016 Live
Country Health: Mid North Region 02 May 2016 Live
Country Health: North Far West 25 Jul 2016 Live
Country Health: Riverland Health Area 30 May 2016 Live
Country Health: South East Region 07 Mar 2016 Live
Country Health: Wakefield Region 04 Apr 2016 Live
Defence SA 18 Apr 2016 Live
Department for Child Protection (formerly Families SA) 25 Jan 2016 Live
Department for Communities and Social Inclusion 25 Jan 2016 Live
Department for Correctional Services 30 May 2016 Live
Department for Health and Ageing 28 Nov 2016 Live
Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure 03 Oct 2016 Live
Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources 08 Feb 2016 Live
Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA 18 Apr 2016 Live
Department of State Development 18 Apr 2016 Live
Department of State Development (Arts SA only) 14 Dec 2015 Live
Department of Treasury and Finance (including Super SA, SAFA and IGA) 14 Dec 2015 Live
Department of the Premier and Cabinet 14 Dec 2015 Live
Drug and Alcohol Services 06 Mar 2017 Live
Education and Early Childhood Services Registration and Standards Board of SA 25 Jan 2016 Live
Electoral Commission of South Australia 11 Jan 2016 Live
Environment Protection Authority 08 Feb 2016 Live
Flinders Medical Centre 06 Feb 2017 Live
Funds SA 11 Jan 2016 Live
Green Industries SA 08 Feb 2016 Live
Lyell McEwin Health Services 03 Apr 2017 Live
Modbury Hospital 03 Apr 2017 Live
Motor Accident Commission 18 Apr 2016 Live
Noarlunga Hospital 06 Feb 2017 Live
Parliament SA 21 Mar 2016 Live
Public Trustee 11 Jan 2016 Live
Renewal SA 25 Jan 2016 Live
Repatriation General Hospital 15 May 2017 Live
Royal Adelaide Hospital 14 Nov 2016 Live
SA Ambulance Service 29 May 2017 Live
SA Dental Service 12 Dec 2016 Live
SA Fire and Emergency Services Commission 09 Jan 2017 Live
SA Metropolitan Fire Service 09 Jan 2017 Live
SA Pathology 23 Jan 2017 Live
SACE Board of SA 11 Jul 2016 Live
South Australian Tourism Commission 21 Mar 2016 Live
St Margaret’s Rehabilitation Hospital 12 Dec 2016 Live
State Emergency Services 09 Jan 2017 Live
TAFE SA 06 Nov 2017 Live
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital 03 Apr 2017 Live
Women’s and Children’s Health Network (Child and Youth Health only) 31 Oct 2016 Live
Women’s and Children’s Hospital 01 May 2017 Live