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. 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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police are asking for help locating Izabel Villeneuve, 14, who was last seen Jan. 19. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police seek help locating missing 14-year-old

Izabel Villeneuve was last seen in the morning of Jan. 19

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

The cost of potentially counting deer regionwide was among the issues that prompted Capital Regional District committee members to vote against pursuing a greater CRD role in deer management. (Black Press Media file photo)
Expanded deer management a non-starter for Greater Victoria

Capital Regional District committee maintains current level of support

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Vancouver Island this weekend

Snow on Malahat to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Victoria says sale of the planned subdivision will increase the club’s ability to provide services and support. (Courtesy of Association for the Protection of Rural Metchosin)
Victoria Boys and Girls Club says youth would benefit from Metchosin land sale

Club says sale will guarantee supports and programs at time when demand high

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Most Read