Victorian Ombudsman Review has raised concerns about Government IT contracts
Vic govt IT agency ran ‘sham contracts’
- By Melissa Jenkins and Melissa Iaria
- Published Herald Sun – October 24, 2012 4:25PM
THE body that provides information technology services to the Victorian government ran sham contracting processes underpinned by nepotism and awarded up to $4 million worth of work without competitive processes, the ombudsman has found
It’s a pity that the Victorian State Ombudsman is prevented from undertaking a simmilar review of the Victorian Electoral Commission’s $35 Million Software ware development. Sowftware that is effectively a duplication of data-services provided by the Australian Electoral Commission.
The Victorian State Ombudsman is prevented from inquiring into the operation and administration of the Victorian Electoral Commission. The only body that can review the VEC is the Parliament itself.
If last weekends Local Government elections are anything to go by there are major questions that need to be addressed as to the quaility and benefit delivered to Victoria Tax payers as a result oif the expenditure,
Information provided to us indicates that the software whoihc was developed in house is only partially certified. What is clear its design is not the best nor does it meet common IT industry standards. There is a noticlble lack of transoparency in the process.
It is also unclear who owns the intellectal copyright of the software paid for the State Government. The contract and technical specifcaitions have not been made public with the VEC claiming commercial confidentiallity.
The lack of transparency and secrecy behind last weekends elections results further undermined confidence in Victoria’s democratic processes. Information was not readily available.
Scrutineers had requested copies of data-files for independent analysis and review only to find that the information provided was not what was requested. The VEC staff claiming that the request was not clear. Something we find hard to believe given that we have sought access to this data at every election since 1996 and even had to take the City Council to VCAT to gain access to the data.
The detailed results of the election should be readily available during the count and accessible via the internet. Those who witnessed the sham of a computerised count where left in the dark as to what was going on behind the cyber wall. The computer screen provided no information other than the names of candidates who were provisionally declared elected or excluded form the count. Even ABC Antony Green’s counting program provided more information and better results of the election on his summary screen. The VEC claimed they had to “slow down” the display of the results to add to its appeal.
Who ever designed the software should be sacked. Most likely the problem was with the Client “The VEC” and their inability to oversee or manage the Software specifications and development contract.
$35 Million for what? Software that the AEC already has…
The State Parliament needs to seriously review the operations and function of the VEC. The first step would be to give the State Ombdsman authority and oversight over the VEC making it accountbale for its adminsitration and operations.
The next step is to scale down the VEC and had over responsibility for the conduct of elections to the Australian Electoral Commission saving Hundreds of millions of dollars in duplicated services.