This blog is totally independent and has only three major objectives.
The first is to inform readers of news and happenings in the e-Health domain, both here in Australia and world-wide.
The second is to provide commentary on e-Health in Australia and to foster improvement where I can.
The third is to encourage discussion of the matters raised in the blog so hopefully readers can get a balanced view of what is really happening and what successes are being achieved.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
It Looks Like The Queensland Health Payroll Fiasco Is Going To The Courts With IBM Being Sued For Damages.
THE Queensland government will serve technology company IBM with court documents over the state’s health payroll disaster, Premier Campbell Newman has confirmed.
Thousands of health staff were overpaid, underpaid or not paid at all when the system was implemented under the former Labor government in 2010.
A five-month inquiry, headed by former Supreme Court judge Richard Chesterman QC, was highly critical of IBM, which won the tender for the failed $1.2 billion system.
It found IBM solicited and received information during the tender process that gave it a distinct advantage over competitors. IBM was also accused of understating the cost of building a new system just to win the contract.
The government-commissioned inquiry added a further $5 million to the damage bill.
The state government will serve IBM on Monday with a statement of claim over its role in delivering the system.
It will seek unspecified damages after law firm Minter Ellison was appointed to prepare the action, The Courier-Mail reports. “I can confirm press reports that we intend to take the matter further,” Mr Newman told reporters in Brisbane on Sunday.
“Queenslanders were wronged, we believe, in the pay affair and we intend to recover money for them - the taxpayers - the men and women of Queensland.”
An IBM spokeswoman said the passage of a year and the hiring of new lawyers by the government cannot change the fundamental facts.
Queensland premier Campbell Newman is belatedly making good on his promise to take IBM to court over its handling of the bungled Queensland Health payroll program, a major factor in his Government’s resounding election victory in 2012.
Newman first announced his intentions nearly a year ago – it has taken this long for him to act. It is now 18 months since Newman banned any agency of the State Government from doing business with IBM, citing problems with the company’s ‘governance and contracting practices’.
Last year a Commission of Inquiry into the project, led by former Supreme Court judge Richard Chesterman, censured IBM and recommended it be banned from further government work. But it also apportioned blame to the Government for negligence in its management of the relationship with IBM.
“It appears that IBM took the state of Queensland for a ride,” Newman said at the time. Now he has finally taken legal action, lodging a Statement of Claim in the Supreme Court of Queensland, suspiciously close to the next election.
The Queensland Health payroll project was one of the major Australian IT disasters of the last decade. The project burnt through $1.2 billion of public money, caused massive problems with late or incorrect payments to health workers, and became a major issue in the 2012 state election, when Campbell’s Liberal Nation Party reduced the ALP to just nine seats in Queensland’s unicameral Parliament.
IBM has defended its position, saying it was poorly briefed by the Government of the day and Queensland Health management. The legal action is problematical because the former Bligh Labor Government settled with IBM before the 2012 election, surrendering its ability to claim more damages.