Computer system cost control needed: auditor

Auditor General Carol Bellringer says big computer upgrades are a problem the world over, not just at ICBC and the B.C. health ministry

B.C. Auditor-General Carol Bellringer

B.C.’s auditor general is recommending a new oversight system for information technology project costs, as the province struggles to update old computer systems that control everything from vehicle insurance to health records.

The B.C. government spent $668 million on information technology in the last fiscal year, Auditor General Carol Bellringer said in a report released this week.

Bellringer reported in 2015 that a health ministry system to track infectious diseases ran more than four times over its original budget and was five years late. The province’s Integrated Case Management System for vulnerable children and adults was declared complete only after its function was downgraded.

And a student data system for school districts, implemented for $95 million to replace another system that had proven costly and unreliable, had its own glitches and slowdowns when it was put in place for the 2015 school year.

B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong says information systems are among the most difficult projects to manage for government, which often lacks the in-house expertise to supervise them. The government says it is moving ahead on Bellringer’s recommendation to set up central oversight of projects across the government, and mandate letters for all ministries next year will require significant IT projects to be reported to the responsible minister.

NDP critic Bruce Ralston said the government recently fired the main contractor for its “Clinical Systems Transformation Project” in the health ministry, an $842 million system with an uncertain future.

He said other IT projects that ran into trouble and over-budget include BC Hydro’s system upgrade and JUSTIN, a criminal case management database for police investigations, court documents and victims or witnesses of crime.

“The immense waste and mismanagement of the Christy Clark government comes down to wasted money on companies like IBM for faulty systems that should have gone to front-line services for kids in care, students and patients,” Ralston said.

Bellringer’s review found that problems with IT systems are found in all government and private sector organizations. World-wide, one out of five IT projects fails, and the majority have significant problems not anticipated at the outset.

 

Just Posted

Column Drivesmart: I want my car simple again

Today’s high tech cars that have centre console mounted displays should be against the law.

Providence Farm unveils new labyrinth garden

Created with the help of a $20,000 grant from the Victoria Foundation

Column David Suzuki: Oil spills pose unacceptable threats to marine life

Threat to marine mammals in B.C. waters from a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic is considerable

Column T.W. Paterson: This unpublished memoir is a gem

“I looked round and suddenly realised I had not the slightest idea where I was”

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

B.C. casino accused of illegal activity follows rules: operator

B.C. had launched review after concerns about money laundering at River Rock casino in Richmond

Opponents of LGBTQ program to file human rights complaint against Surrey School District

District denied Parents United Canada right to rent Bell Performing Arts Centre for rally next month

Ex-employee describes alleged sexual assault by B.C. city councillor

Complainant was a teen during the alleged 1992 incident

Amazon gets 238 proposals for 2nd headquarters

Submissions were due last week. Online retailer has said tax breaks and grants would be factors

Justin Timberlake invited back to Super Bowl halftime show

A ‘wardrobe malfunction’ with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy during his last appearance

A scary box office weekend for everyone but Tyler Perry

‘Boo 2! A Madea Halloween’ scared up a healthy $21.7 million in its first weekend in theatres

Even as long-form census data returns, Statcan readies for day without it

Wednesday’s release is expected to show immigrants making up a larger share of the population

B.C. VIEWS: Horgan fumbles salmon farm threat

Lana Popham falls for anti-aquaculture propaganda

Most Read