More snags with online law project

Completion of systems integration testing dependent on software fixes from the US software suppliers, says Parliamentary Counsel Office

The Public Access to Legislation (PAL) project, already about four years late, is inching forward, but is being afflicted by further delays.

Integration testing was supposed to be completed early this year, with PAL then moving on to user-acceptance testing. But this has not happened yet, says Gillian McIlraith, communications adviser for the Parliamentary Counsel Office.

Prime contractor Unisys “had expected to complete systems integration testing (SIT) by mid-January 2007, but is now expecting this to be towards the end of March 2007,” she says.

“Completion of SIT to this timetable is largely dependent on Unisys obtaining fixes for some technical problems with DLM (the link management software) from Arbortext, the US software suppliers.”

However, both parties are optimistic that this will make little difference to the latest deadline for project completion, which is set for mid-2007.

“Unisys is still reasonably confident that a mid-2007 completion date remains achievable,” McIlraith says.

The PAL project’s aim is the publication of parliamentary acts, bills and regulations simultaneously, and consistently, in both print and web formats.

The project was originally scheduled for completion in early 2003. A “temporary” website, at www.legislation.govt.nz , gives access to Acts of Parliament and regulations in formatted text similar to the printed documents, but the text of bills and supplementary order papers is still supplied indirectly, through private firm The Knowledge Basket, in plain-text form only.

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