Auditor General Colin Murphy has spotlighted another disastrous information technology procurement at Fiona Stanley Hospital, uncovering a litany of failures that led to $6 million being wasted on a project that had to be abandoned.
And he has warned that taxpayers will continue to spend millions of dollars more than necessary unless the Government gets better at bringing in IT projects on time and on budget.
The Health Department’s identity access management project, which was intended to deliver all hospital staff access to computer systems and physical parts of the hospital buildings for which they were authorised, was shelved in October and will not be completed.
Mr Murphy found project planning was deficient and governance and oversight inadequate.
Worse, problems with the project were raised repeatedly in status reports but were never elevated to the appropriate level of management to be fixed.
Mr Murphy found Health did not prepare a business case before it embarked on the project in 2008 and took nearly three years to award a tender which arguably did not comply with State Supply Commission value for money principles.
The successful tenderer satisfied only 77 per cent of the business and technical requirements but was awarded the job anyway.
“By the time the project was cancelled in late 2013 it had cost approximately $6 million,” Mr Murphy’s audit report said.
“Around 25 per cent of these costs were professional services for consultants and contractors. Only one of the 36 connectors between the IAM system and Health’s other systems was fully developed at that date.”
Health acting director-general Bryant Stokes referred the project to Mr Murphy after it was cancelled late last year.
Health Minister Kim Hames admitted IT procurement had be the “key failing” of the Health Department, including “a significant wastage of money”.
He hoped changes including the appointment of a dedicated procurement officer and IT executive board within the department would improve the management of IT projects.
“We’re certainly not happy with the way the whole process was undertaken,” he said.
Shadow health minister Roger Cook said the Government’s lack of attention to detail was causing enormous waste of taxpayers’ money.