Audit reveals flaws in key Vic govt ICT transparency measure

Audit finds problems with data underlying Vic govt’s ICT Dashboard

Flawed data is being used to underpin online tool that intended to promote transparency of the delivery of major Victorian government ICT projects.

The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) today released a report on Victoria’s ICT Dashboard, which was launched in March 2016; an updated version of the tool was rolled out in March this year.

The dashboard’s launch came in the wake of a damning March 2015 report from Victoria's then auditor-general, John Doyle, which concluded that not only were government agencies unable to demonstrate that were realising the expected benefits from IT projects, they were also unable to detail how much IT projects were costing them.

Around 35 per cent of the 1249 government ICT projects analysed for Doyle’s report had gone over budget.

A March 2016 follow-up report revealed details of $200 million worth of troubled IT projects in the state.

The VAGO report released today examined the accuracy of the ICT Dashboard, which is supposed to list all public sector ICT projects valued at $1 million or greater.

It found that although the dashboard had improved the transparency of public sector ICT projects, VAGO was “not able to give assurance on the overall completeness, accuracy or integrity of the data on the dashboard”.

An audit detected data errors in ICT projects scrutinised by VAGO.

In addition it found that some projects that should be listed on the tool weren’t, and that nearly one-third of the projects reported on the dashboard were disclosed later than they should have been.

“Based on the anomalies we detected in a small subset of all the reported data, we suspect that this problem is more widespread,” the report states.

Victoria’s Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) “does not have a process to assure government or the public that agencies have correctly identified and reported all the ICT projects that should be reported on the ICT Dashboard,” the report says.

“As a consequence, there is limited oversight and assurance of the completeness and accuracy of reported projects and data. Errors in the reported data highlight the need for both agencies and DPC to have stronger systems in place to report accurately.”

However, despite problems with the dashboard’s accuracy, it still represents a “marked improvement in the availability and visibility of ICT project data”.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including that DPC amend the ICT Reporting Standard for the Victorian Public Service to require government agencies to “provide a more descriptive and standardised narrative about their ICT projects”.

The full report is available online.

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