The consultant's letter

'Dear Sir - As part of a Master's research project I have been investigating the effectiveness of state spending in Information Technology. Digging through press reports, by my estimate in the past three years some $100 million (equivalent to about 800 teachers) has been sunk by Government agencies in projects that have never seen the light of day ... ' A letter to Computerworld from from Ray Pitch, a frustrated man.

Dear Sir,

As part of a Master's research project I have been investigating the effectiveness of state spending in Information Technology.

Digging through press reports, by my estimate in the past three years some $100 million (equivalent to about 800 teachers) has been sunk by Government agencies in projects that have never seen the light of day.

Since the early part of this year, I have attempted to verify these estimates by seeking information under the Official Information Act from several of the agencies (State Services Commission, Internal Affairs, Social Welfare, Health and Inland Revenue). To date I have not been able to elicit any meaningful replies to the simple question: "Can you provide the capital expenditure by [your agency] on new information technology developments in financial years 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1996."

The replies I have received have been along the lines indicating the information is either "not available" or "commercially confidential". In short, I believe that I've gotten the run-around, by way of attempts to hide the level of wastage that's been occurring.

I recall that in August, Computerworld carried an article by Randal Jackson, who had also had a similar experience. Has he been able to make any progress, as I would be keen to look at the data?

Ray Pitch

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