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DfT shared service reverted to manual controls

Move over and let me drive

The Department for Transport had to resort to manual processing to cope with problems at its shared services centre.

The department's annual report for 2008-09 says that problems with financial control and management reporting functions were found during the first year that the shared service platform was introduced.

A programme of "improvement" addressed some of those problems, according to the report, but the DfT still had to use "manual controls" through to the end of the year to reduce the possibility of error.

During 2007-08 "system limitations" had an impact on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and the Driving Standards Agency, affecting their finance and management reporting abilities.

The DfT's shared services centre has been described by Parliament's Public Accounts Committee as "one of the worst" projects it has seen. The committee blamed senior managers for a system which was inadequately procured and tested, unstable when it was switched on and which on one occasion issued messages in German.

The troubled centre has undergone continuous reviews since its start, the annual report says. Reports from internal auditors have provided an assurance to the shared services centre board that action to "address the gaps identified" has been put in place.

The annual report also reveals that since 2003 10 people have been affected by data security breaches, when names, bank account numbers and credit card details were revealed by the department without authorisation.

In 2008-09 the department lost three unsecured electronic devices or paper documents from its offices, and a further three outside its premises. Two electronic devices or paper documents were disposed of without proper security.

By the end of 2009 all DfT staff will have taken courses on protecting information, with additional training for senior managers.

This article was originally published at Kable.

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