Tuesday, September 08, 2015
Government IT Strikes Again In Terms Of Waste Of Public Money. Will It Ever Stop?
This little ripper appeared a few days ago.
Date August 31, 2015 - 6:40PM
The bungled roll-out of a new IT system across the state's public education system could have built up to 20 new schools, the NSW budget estimates committee has heard.
NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli was forced to defend the $531 million pilot Learning Management and Business Reform (LMBR) system at Parliament House on Monday as the state opposition accused him of implementing the largest waste of taxpayer funding in the Department of Education's history.
The LMBR system has been dogged by complaints and technical faults during its trial in 229 schools.
Last year leaked internal emails revealed that debt collectors had been engaged to threaten schools that failed to pay suppliers of the program which was designed to manage human resources, finance, student information and payrolls.
At the time the program was in disarray with under-trained, over-worked staff and principals describing it as a "complete disaster".
In March the same program was responsible for thousands of TAFE students being unable to enrol because of a computer glitch.
Despite the urgent need for new schools in the city and northern suburbs to cope with swelling demand, Mr Piccoli defended the half-billion dollar cost of the roll out. According to the Department of Education the average new public school should cost between $15 and $30 million.
"It is not a blow out," he told the committee. "You might think that $500 million is a lot of money but it is not in the context of a very large organisation."
"The original budget ($400 million under the previous Labor government) did not budget for implementation."
The IT world has changed significantly since 2006, he said, adding that the NSW Department of Education, which has spent $100 billion over the past two decades, was one of the largest education department's in the southern hemisphere.
This is just a terrible saga. It seems the system roll out has taken virtually a decade, is delivering what must be described as basic commercial functionality (designed to manage human resources, finance, student information and payrolls ) and is costing a fortune!
One really wonders just when the NSW Auditor General will be having a look at all this and the lessons that must be learnt are revealed.
I have to say that to say that $500 million is not too much to provide basic IT functions to NSW Schools seems rather questionable to me. Think of some basic applications in the cloud and some PCs and connectivity with sensible support etc. I would be amazed if you could not halve the cost.
What do others think?
Posted by Dr David More MB PhD FACHI at Tuesday, September 08, 2015