Feeds

Government IT laid bare

Read it and weep...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The Comptroller and Auditor General for Northern Ireland has published a damning report into the cancellation of a human resources and payroll system for the Northern Ireland civil service. The project cost £3.3m and after nine years never delivered a workable system.

The Department of Finance and Personnel signed a contract with McDonnell Douglas Information Systems in December 1991 to deliver an integrated payroll system by April 1993. This contract was finally cancelled in May 2001.

The report notes that nine different individuals held the chair of the Project Board which was supposed to monitor the project. The auditor general recommends that one individual should be Single Responsible Owner for such complex projects. It also criticises the Assistant Secretary Establishment Officer's Meeting, which had overall strategic control, for being too distant from the project.

Apart from the direct costs of the project it also cost the taxpayer £6.1m in savings promised by the new system but never delivered. These will continue because the Northern Ireland Civil Service was forced to renew the contract with its existing provider until 2006.

The Auditor General bemoans the lack of "an overarching strategy for the development of central IT systems". It criticises the Project Board for not spotting warning signs that MDIS was having problems implementing payroll software for other organisations. It also said there was a mismatch between the Civil Service requirements and MDIS's standard software package: "This amount of software tailoring substantially increased the risk of project failure."

The Report ends on an almost optimistic note: "Departments are now in the position of having a considerable amount of good practice guidance available to them in the management of large procurement projects. Complex IT projects can succeed and it is essential that NICS secures the efficiency gains which they can deliver. It is, however, important that such projects are properly planned, resourced and managed in line with the guidance now available."

The Auditor General's office acts independently to investigate government spending.More details available here

®

Related stories

Microsoft opens e-gov collaboration portal
UK.gov meets and greets anti-patent lobby
'Sophisticated' UK sprints ahead in ICT race

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.