Govt ICT project to blow out by more than $23.7m

19/06/2019 - 15:33

The Office of the Auditor General has found a project to replace PathWest’s ‘laboratory information system’ is now expected to be two years late and cost nearly double the project’s original $26.8 million budget.

PathWest's laboratory headquarters in Nedlands. Billard Leece Partnership

The Office of the Auditor General has found a project to replace PathWest’s ‘laboratory information system’ is now expected to be two years late and cost nearly double the project’s original $26.8 million budget.

Auditor General Caroline Spencer’s report into the replacement project concluded that it is now anticipated to cost $50.5 million, which is a cost blowout of more than $23.7 million.

In 2016, the state government approved the budget to replace the existing laboratory information system that had been in place since 1994.

It had a projected completion time of May 2018, which has now been pushed back to April 2020.

Ms Spencer said a lack of corporate governance and project management was a key factor behind the failure.

“The Department of Health has not developed a comprehensive oversight framework that recognises changing risks in ICT projects across the sector,” she said.

“This is a significant shortcoming.

“It meant the Department of Health did not fully understand the comparative risks and resource needs of the laboratory information system project.”

Ms Spencer said major ICT projects were rarely simple and successful delivery remained challenging.

Her report made a range of improvement recommendations, including new reporting metrics to provide clearer insight to the project’s work streams and achievement of key milestones.

“These are relevant across WA Health and for other entities embarking on major ICT projects across the public sector,” she said.

Ms Spencer said it was not the first audit into ICT project governance and delivery that her office had undertaken, and the recurring nature of some of the findings was disappointing.

In August, Ms Spencer audited the implementation of the federal government’s GovNext ICT program.

It was found some government agencies in WA were paying up to 156 per cent more than the initial estimates of the cost to implement cloud services for the system.

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