Dysfunction charged as MSD drops contractors

Ministry says data warehouse project delivered, others say funding was cut

Work on the Ministry of Social Development’s award-winning Te Pakoro/The Storehouse data warehouse project has been scaled back, and the reason why depends on who you talk to.

MSD says the project is complete and successfully delivered. However, others involved in the project say it ended suddenly after funding was cut.

Te Pakoro/The Storehouse is a data warehouse system built for the Child Youth and Family service (CYF). It is a centralised data repository and self-service reporting system built on SAS technology.

CYF uses it to gather information to allow better decision-making. It features executive dashboards and handles information right through to operational tasks and tasks for front-line staff.

Computerworld has been told that funds for development were moved from the capital expenditure budget to the operational budget and there is no longer enough money to pay for planned development.

An MSD spokesman, however, says the project has been fully delivered and is operational. He says the project is driven by business needs and MSD no longer requires as many contractors as it did during development, therefore the number of contractors has been reduced. No MSD staff have been cut from the project.

However, MSD put out a tender for further work on the project in June and signed contracts for that work in July, Computerworld has been told. Further development was expected through to April or May 2009, though the contracts were only due to run through until January, with some extensions expected.

Most of the development work started in July has been put on hold, Computerworld has been told, and the relationship between MSD and CYF is described as “dysfunctional”.

CIO Tim Occleshaw says since 2007 MSD has delivered a range of enhancements to the Te Pakoro system. The remaining enhancements have been approved as part of Child Youth and Families current work plan and are fully funded, he says.

“The New Zealand Government complies with International Financial Accounting Standards. Under these standards enhancements to existing systems are treated as operating costs,” he says.

Occleshaw says the majority of enhancements have been delivered, and contractor numbers cut from 11 to three.

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