A holistic business partnership model developed between the Industrial Relations arm of the Labour Department and prime vendor CSC may be the envy of other government departments after the recent successful completion of a core project. Good news of that nature has not always been the norm in government circles, with several well-publicised budgetary blowouts.
The project, a client information management system, was developed by Glazier Systems. CSC provides facilities and infrastructure management under a new, five-year contract. The cost of the project, including development, was about $2 million.
Ralph Stockdill, Industrial Relations’ general manager, says the project manages workflow through the tribunals, the Employment Court and the Labour inspectorate, produces management reports and much information for the policy unit.
The vendor and department formed a model of how they would work together over and above the contract. Both outlined what they must have and must not have, which includes working together so that CSC could achieve profitability at an agreed level.
Industrial Relations is the arm of the Labour Department that manages 40 statutory offices, including judges, the Employment Tribunal, the Employment Court and the Higher Salaries Commission.
Its policy group advises government about industrial relations and provides industrial relations information through its call centre in Auckland. CSC had the original three-year Labour Department outsourcing contract.
With the largest part of Labour, the Employment Service, becoming part of Work and Income New Zealand, the department now has four service units. On April 4, the corporate office become the Chief Executive’s Office and its IT, which includes core financials, email and document management, will come under the wing of Industrial Relations. Last July, Industrial Relations signed a new contract with CSC, for five years. The other units of Labour have rolled over the existing contract.
It was about the “spirit” of the partnership, says Stockdill.
“It’s certainly worked. We haven’t had to revert to the contract and it’s very seldom that issues have been escalated to either me or [CSC’s managing director] Richard Clouston. We’re now trying to get this relationship at all levels.”
It came from a general discussion, says Stockdill. “There was a desire on my part for continuity and stability and a genuine notion of us both benefiting. At the end of the day, it’s not about a bit of paper - it’s what the relationship is, an ongoing state of mind.
“It gives us a much better handle on our clients.”
Project manager of Twywell Technologies Maxine Welsh says Industrial Relations went to tender for the application development but a number of the
responses were “exceptionally high”.
“We went back with more details. Rather than a vendor saying ‘we think this is what you want’ — that often leads to cost blowouts — we said ‘we think this is what we want’, and here’s the budget.
“We got a really tight partnership, including a huge investment in business users from Industrial Relations.
“Because it was mission-critical we got the business users. We had to get off the mainframe or it would have cost $700,000.”
She says the team has worked so well together it is being retained to do more work enhancing the business and services.