The North West Department of Education has proactively protected its payroll integrity using eDNA biometric technology.

The solution was implemented with the assistance of Datacentrix and its local partners, L@Wtrust and Dithako Technologies.
Marcus Bossert, security business unit manager at Datacentrix, says: "The Department enlisted the help of Datacentrix to perform a physical verification of its educators and support staff across the North West Province, with the aid of advanced biometric technology. As part of its ongoing auditing and governance efforts, it needed to establish a foundation for proactive fraud management and the validation of the integrity of the North West Education payroll."
In a complex logistical exercise involving more than 220 people across the entire North West Province, Datacentrix established manned biometric registration stations at several strategic locations in order to capture and authenticate the information of nearly 30 000 people across more than 2 000 schools.
All schools were scheduled and allocated timeslots for registration through a detailed planning process. Datacentrix and its business partner, LAWtrust, jointly developed the eDNA Electronic Fraud Management System, and used its Payroll Integrity functionality to address the business problem. The payroll was halted for the project, and in order for employees to receive payment, they had to visit a registration station to validate their personal details as well as produce satisfactory proof of identity.
The locally-developed eDNA Payroll Integrity system captured a digital picture of each person and a digital copy of the identity documents of each staff member, whilst advanced biometric technology was employed to capture the unique fingerprints of each employee, which were then stored in a hardened personnel record verification database.
An Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) then compared the fingerprints of the employees against the database to ensure maximum integrity of the database. Additionally, strong processes and quality controls were employed to provide further assurance of the consistency of the methods used and the integrity of the data.
The results presented to the Department will be used to update its personnel records where applicable and for the investigation of anomalies.
The project added tangible business value with a positive ROI calculated at just six months and the technology can be leveraged to play an important role in future strategic initiatives planned by the North West Department of Education.
"Additionally, the project served to create local employment opportunities in the North West Province as Datacentrix leveraged its extensive network of SMME partners in the region," explains Bossert. "Through our quality management framework and rapid results approach, we were able to conclude the entire project for the North West Department of Education in just over two weeks."
James Botha, chief financial officer of the North West Department of Education, adds: "The North West Department of Education is proud of its role in pioneering good practices around the proactive management of payroll fraud.
"We believe that such initiatives serve the interests of all stakeholders to create a positive environment of transparency and trust – essential elements for the success of public service delivery."