Jackson article prompts reply

The Department of Corrections and EDS have disagreed strenuously with Randal Jackson's page one article headed "$30m Corrections project runs into difficulties" last week. Corrections IT manager Bob Calland and the director of EDS's government services group, Robert Gray, say the story is factually incorrect and misleading. Jackson, while acknowledging some errors based on information from sources closely connected with the project, insists his article is correct in substance.

The Department of Corrections and EDS have disagreed strenuously with Randal Jackson’s page one article headed “$30m Corrections project runs into difficulties” last week.

Corrections IT manager Bob Calland and the director of EDS’s government services group, Robert Gray, say the story is factually incorrect and misleading. Jackson, while acknowledging some errors based on information from sources closely connected with the project, insists his article is correct in substance.

Calland and Gray have their say, and Randal Jackson replies, below:

The article entitled “$30 million Corrections project runs into difficulties” by Randal Jackson, which appeared in the December 8 issue of Computerworld, is factually incorrect and misleading.

This is an example of inaccurate reporting without attributed sources and little effort being made to give validated and accurate facts.

The project is not in big trouble as suggested by the article. Nor is it an example of government projects not well defined or properly scoped. All Department of Corrections contracts relating to the project have been signed. The first project milestone, the proof of concept, was delivered on schedule in late November and the second milestone, the rollout of the infrastructure for womens’ prisons, is on track.

Wide area network services (WANs) are and will continue to be provided to the department by Netway. Jackson’s assertion that the department is in some way playing off Loka and Netway is incorrect — Loka’s only involvement with the project is as a sub-contractor to EDS for the provision of LAN cabling which has no relationship to the WAN.

One thing Jackson is quite right about is that the department doesn’t yet have national email — and doesn’t expect to until April 1998 when the LANs and other equipment to support it are due to become operational.

We are extremely concerned that Computer--world is prepared to print such an inaccurate story without making contact with the appropriate parties. The department tried to make contact with the journalist several times last week following a voicemail left for Calland, but its calls were not returned. EDS was not approached for comment.

Contrary to the impression created by the article, all parties involved with the Corrections project are working together to ensure a successful outcome and there is nothing to suggest at this stage that there will be anything other than a successful outcome.

We request a published apology, given similar prominence as the printed article, in the December 15 issue of Computerworld, and a retraction of the inaccuracies prin-ted. If this is not forthcoming, we will con-sider making a complaint to the Press Council.

Bob Calland

Manager, information and technology

Department of Corrections

Robert Gray

Director, government services group

EDS (New Zealand)

Jackson reports Microsoft as “yet to become involved” in the Corrections project. This is only partially correct. Microsoft New Zealand’s involvement with the project has been as a software supplier to EDS New Zealand. Microsoft has provided some input to EDS in an early and informal high-level overview of a fairly standard architecture. Some issues raised by Microsoft were discussed at a meeting with EDS in November. As far as Microsoft is aware these have been resolved.

John Hodgson

Manager, corporate sales

Enterprise customer unit

Microsoft New Zealand

Jackson replies: When the issue was raised with Computerworld over three weeks ago by someone working within Corrections, we were told no contracts had been signed. It perhaps raises the point of what level of contract: for example, is it a contract to say we accept you as a supplier? However, we accept Corrections and EDS’s statement that all contracts have now been signed and apologise for any error. The proof of concept may well have been met, signed off on time, but again our sources — and we checked with several to verify what the first source raised with us — said at the time that this was not the case. We were told there was only a broad, very high-level view of how the Microsoft frame part of the project would be done. This view was described to us as “very arbitrary”, with no detailed specifications to build against. The department states it tried several times to make contact with me and that calls were not returned. I have voicemail on both my office phone and cellphone, and I can assure the department no messages were left.

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