19 November 2004
Systemic weaknesses and flawed decision-making have been blamed by the Northern Ireland Audit Office for a collapsed civil service IT payroll contract.
The deal cost £3.3m and failed to achieve projected savings of £6.1m. It was abandoned after ten years without ever having gone live.
The NIAO said the failure of the Northern Ireland Civil Service to provide an overall IT systems strategy was 'a significant weakness' contributing to the project's collapse. This was exacerbated by the failings of an interdepartmental committee of senior civil servants who were too far removed from the project to provide effective management.
Future major projects should be subject to independent appraisals during implementation and should be the responsibility of a senior manager, said the NIAO.
Northern Ireland's Department of Finance and Personnel pointed out that the payroll project was one part of a wider human resource management system, other elements of which were 'running successfully'.