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

Esquimalt High School is one of six Greater Victoria schools that reported a COVID-19 exposure over the weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Six new Greater Victoria school exposures reported over weekend

Steady rise in school exposures since return from spring break

The District of North Saanich has issued a notice to remove this floating structure from the waters off Lillan Hoffar Park. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Boat owner ordered to vacate waters off North Saanich park

Couple have been living in floating structure off Lillian Hoffar Park for a number of years

Paramedic Matthew Schlatter of Victoria is living a fuller life today due to the double lung transplant he received in 2019. He encourages B.C. residents to register as an organ donor and let their families know their wishes. (Instagram/Matthew Schlatter)
Victoria man living a full, active life after double lung transplant

Matt Schlatter encourages people to register as an organ donor to help others live

Passengers in rows four to 10 onboard WestJet flight 449 from Calgary to Victoria April 6 were exposed to a case of COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Flight from Calgary to Victoria added to COVID-19 exposure list

Passengers onboard WestJet flight 449 April 6 affected

Victoria Police’s Explosive Disposal Unit came to Oak Bay April 10 to destroy a potentially dangrous explosive device that washed up on shore. (Oak Bay RCMP photo)
Washed-up explosive device destroyed by VicPD bomb squad

An Oak Bay resident called in the potentially dangerous debris

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

Organ donation form from BC Transplant. (BC Transplant)
POLL: Have you registered as an organ donor?

They number 1.5 million strong and growing. But their numbers still fall… Continue reading

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 April 6

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

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. The Vancouver Canucks say 25 players and coaches have tested positive during a COVID-19 outbreak that involves a variant of the virus. It is now the biggest reported outbreak in the NHL this season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks’ return to practice pushed back as player added to COVID protocol list

COVID outbreak has led to eight games being cancelled

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Most Read