Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Some IT Fiascos Seem To Drag On Forever. Witness The Queensland Health Payroll Debacle!

This appeared a few days ago:
  • Updated Aug 24 2015 at 5:04 AM

IBM 'negligent and misleading', Queensland alleges

The Queensland government has accused technology giant IBM of misrepresenting its credentials in delivering a $6 million payroll system that cost $1.2 billion to fix.
It said if IBM hadn't talked up its credentials to design, build and deliver the payroll system for Queensland Health before it signed a contract in 2007, it would have awarded the deal to its archrival Accenture, court documents reveal.
​ The state government is attempting to sue IBM for damages over the botched health payroll debacle, which partly contributed to the demise of the Bligh Labor government in 2012.
IBM has vowed to fight the claim and is blocking an attempt for the Queensland government to sue for damages in a four-day trial starting in the Supreme Court in Brisbane on Monday.
The technology system debacle – which overpaid some workers, underpaid others or paid them not at all – was described by former Supreme Court Richard Chesterman, QC, during his $5 million inquiry as possibly the worst failure in public administration in Australia.
The legal action against IBM was initiated by the Newman government, which blamed Labor for not pursuing the company for the botched payroll system for 80,000 health workers.
Despite speculation the Palaszczuk government would let the legal action lapse, it continued the compensation claim after winning office in January.
IBM is trying to block the action, saying it was cleared from future litigation during a 2010 agreement with the state.
In its submission to the courts, the Queensland government alleged it had suffered significant loss and damage as a result of the contract it signed with IBM in 2007 and the failed implementation of the payroll system for Queensland Health, which went live in 2010.
"The state alleges further that it would never have entered into the IBM contract and incurred the resulting losses had it not been for negligent and misleading representations made by IBM prior to the entry into the IBM contract," the submissions said.
It says the supplemental agreement with IBM in 2010 – where the IT company was paid a final payment of $718,861 to help fix remaining problems in the payroll system – did not terminate the IBM contract.
Lawyers for IBM claim the company was granted a release by the 2010 deal.
Lots more here:
This was followed a little later by this:
  • Updated Aug 26 2015 at 1:10 PM

Qld claims payroll project too complex for IBM

A former senior Queensland bureaucrat said IBM had underestimated the complexity and the resources required to deliver the health payroll system before it went live in 2010.
Mal Grierson, who was director general of the Department of Public Works, told the Supreme Court in Brisbane on Wednesday there was a belief in the government the global technology company had struggled to get on top of the problems with the IT system after it signed up to the contract in 2007.
He said IBM's strategy to transfer the existing payroll system it had developed for the Department of Housing to Queensland Health and its 80,000 workers was flawed.
Mr Grierson, who was negotiating with IBM over ways to fix the IT problems, said he was dealing with complaints about IBM's performance across three portfolios – housing, health and education – where it was delivering separate projects for the then Bligh government.

"There was a belief in government IBM had not understood the complexity of the Queensland Health payroll system. And they had not put enough resources – the numbers and calibre of people – that was required," Mr Grierson told the Supreme Court in Brisbane on Wednesday. 

"Comparing the health payroll system to the housing payroll system was like chalk and cheese. The assignment to take the housing payroll system and build that for Queensland Health was completely wrong."

IBM is attempting to block Queensland government from suing them over the botched implementation of the health payroll system – a $6 million contract which later cost taxpayers $1.2 billion to fix. 

The Queensland government is suing IBM not for breach of the original 2007 contract, but for allegedly misrepresenting their credentials to deliver the health payroll project on-time and on-budget. 

The misrepresentations also involve using the payroll system for the Housing Department as the basis for the Queensland Health project.

Mr Grierson said former premier Anna Bligh and senior ministers, including health minister Paul Lucas and housing minister Robert Schwarten, were perplexed with why IBM was struggling with the task.

"There was a message coming from the premier down saying, 'This is IBM we're talking about – why are they not doing this properly?'," he said.

Mr Grierson admitted one of the reasons IBM was selected for the 2007 contract was because of its international reputation for delivering big projects.

"When IBM was selected it was because of the expertise to replace the Queensland Health payroll system. The government didn't ask IBM about the complexities," he said.

"They just assumed IBM would do the analysis to deliver the project. That was the bottom line."

Much more here:


The ABC also provided coverage:
IBM tries to block legal action over Queensland Health payroll disaster

By Allyson Horn 

Tue at 6:27pm - August 25, 2015 

Former ministers have given evidence in a Supreme Court hearing as IBM tries to stop a State Government lawsuit over the Queensland Health payroll debacle.

The technology giant was contracted in 2007 by the Labor government of the time to set up a new payroll system that went live three years later and saw thousands of staff underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all.

The state launched legal action to recoup some of the $1.2 billion it cost to fix the bungle.

On Tuesday, lawyers for IBM appeared in the Supreme Court in Brisbane in a bid to block the case.

Former health minister Paul Lucas and former public works minster Robert Schwarten were questioned why the Government did not pursue legal action straight away.

Both men said their first priority was getting workers paid and that legal action might have jeopardised that.

Mr Lucas said he was "extremely disappointed" with IBM at the time, but he did not want to sack the company and risk workers not getting paid. 


I find it amazing this has not been sorted ages ago given the contract was let in 2007 - under an earlier Labor Government - which shows how long this has been rolling along!

I assume a working system is now in place - but I have not heard that is the case. A comment confirming Payroll is working up there now would be good for all our interest!


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