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

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

The long winding road to Tofino-Ucluelet—then and now

If you are feeling frustrated about the Highway 4 closures, sit back read about what came before.

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Farm and Garden Show coming to Tofino

Greenthumbs unite at the Tofino Botanical Gardens from Feb. 22-24.

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

Steam train to McLean Mill is out of commission for repairs; city wants to re-examine rail costs

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Most Read