Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

New Vic Auditor Reports (Not Happy Jan)

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-06-11

Here is a summary of three reports by Victorian Auditor-General, Mr Des Pearson, that were tabled in the Victorian Parliament this morning.

The reports (quick review of each over the fold) cover youth rehabilitation, progress on the CJEP (Criminal Justice Enhancement Program), and reporting by local governments.

It’s a typical litany of failings of our highly paid managers and consultants, and therefore the politicians they answer to.  For local government, the auditor even had to prepare an instruction manual on how to improve… because they obviously have no idea!

Unsurprisingly, there’s another woefully wrong requirements definition for a large IT system, this time for justice administration (a fairly core function of any civil society).

Ultrashort summary of the auditor’s opinions…. "Not happy, Jan"!

  • Services to young offenders
    You could summarize the media release as
    • The agencies try hard
    • They cannot demonstrate they make a difference
    • Need some decent management, especially to develop a decent set of "scorecards" for outcomes
    • A whole-of-government approach, not just the criminal justice system, is needed.
  • Implementation of the Criminal Justice Enhancement Program (CJEP) 
    You could summarize the media release as …
    • "benefits haven’t been systematically measured… lack of accountability"
    • poor management evidenced by significant scope changes (the original requirements documents were woefully inadequate)
    • over time and over budget (from the managers not being able to define what they actually needed – SNAFU)
  • Performance Reporting in Local Government
    This comes with a companion document (Local Government Performance Reporting: Turning Principles into Practice) that provides guidance on how to do things better (why did the auditor feel the need to go to all the trouble of preparing such a document… hmmmmm?).  The media statement says (my bolding)

    the councils’ performance statements generally fail key tests of usefulness.  They contain information that is largely irrelevant and inappropriate to users’ needs…. difficult for ratepayers and residents to hold their elected representatives fully accountable…. councils have taken a very narrow view of their performance reporting obligations – treating the minimum mandatory legal requirements as the maximum disclosure standard

    It almost seems like the lack of clarity and utility is intentional, but the auditor didn’t put it so bluntly.

More recent reports here.

3 Responses to “New Vic Auditor Reports (Not Happy Jan)”

  1. Dave Bath said

    The DoJ disagrees (see The Age, 2008-06-12) with the conclusions and even the factual basis of the auditor’s analysis of the CJEP procurement. DoJ senior manglers say “but we got the core of the new system in 2005” – which is a bit like saying “I got the chassis and engine for a car in 2005, so I’m happy, even though I still can’t get the benefit (carry more people) because it lacks brakes, seatbelts, lights, doors, windows…….”

    The perspectives on just how bad vary according to which numbers you focus on… but however you squint, someone should be sacked and never given similar responsibilities again until they’ve retrained completely, or 5 years, whichever comes last.

    * ZDNet reports on the “9-years overdue” bit

    The original AU$14 million budget for the program has blown out to possibly AU$54 million, according to a report by Pearson tabled in parliament today. The Department of Justice has spent about AU$40 million, police expect to spend a further AU$4 million and other partner agencies say they have incurred about AU$10.4 million in costs.

    *The Age report
    ** 5 years late
    ** At least $30M over budget
    $39.9M spent already by DoJ
    ** $4M still needed to complete by 2009

  2. zombinol said

    …and course the outsourcing that occurred at VDOJ 10 years ago could not have possibly excised all the talented people from the IT department, could it? …and the talented contractors that filled the void had vast experience in justice systems, didn’t they. …and unfortunately it all cannot be levelled on any one government, Kennett started it and Bracks, now Brumby is continuing it. …and so it must be the CONsultants.

  3. […] Dave Bath takes the pith out of the Victorian Auditor-General’s report to Parliament. […]

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