The Queensland Government’s information systems provider, CorpTech, will undertake a raft of measures aimed at improving performance, according to the Department of Public Works (DPW) Annual Report 2009-10. The new initiatives are in response to the QLD Auditor-General report released in June 2009, which criticised CorpTech for its role in the problematic Queensland Health Human Resource payroll system.
While the implementation and oversight of the payroll system is primarily Queensland Health’s responsibility, CorpTech is responsible for building and managing payroll and human resources systems across Queensland government. The report concedes that CorpTech’s system resulted in “significant payroll issues” and says the agency is “working with Queensland Health to improve system performance and usability of the technology solution”. IBM was also involved with the implementation process and in July was issued a ‘show cause’ notice from the Bligh Government.
The report lists six initiatives that respond to the recommendations of the health payroll audit. CorpTech will:
1. “Enhance governance through the improved implementation of the Queensland Government Portfolio Management Frameworks to increase transparency in decision making;
2. Improve the visibility of program level risks to a governance board with key stakeholder representation...and enhancing test strategies, contingency planning and risk reporting;
3. Improve the benefits realisation process to document the benefits achieved;
4. Increase the frequency of project reviews;
5. Improve the documentation and the level of detail and quality of business requirements with business users and implementing a more rigorous review process throughout the project; and
6. Ensure the adequate change management and business validation of system functions are thoroughly tested prior to implementation of system functions in a production-like environment”.
Despite the identification of such large-scale problems at Queensland Health, and the changes CorpTech will implement in response to the audit report, the DPW annual report lists provision of payroll services as one of CorpTech’s key achievements in 2009-10.
According to the report, “CorpTech delivered payroll services for approximately 220,000 public servants each fortnight (including casual, temporary and part-time employees)” and “implemented significant finance and human resource systems supporting agencies and shared service providers across the Queensland Government”.
Furthermore, the report says that “during 2009-10, CorpTech has continued to progress the whole-of-government ICT agenda and deliver services at, or above, Service Level Agreement targets in a tight fiscal environment”.
This relatively positive assessment contrasts significantly with the statement issued on Tuesday July 13 by Premier Anna Bligh in response to the same Auditor-General report on the health payroll system. At that time, she said the Government would “abandon the one-size-fits-all approach to payroll across government”. In addition, the statement explained, “CorpTech will be overhauled to better match agency needs”.
The Government appointed PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to conduct a review of finance and human resources management and provide advice on the direction of CorpTech and the shared services model. The PwC report was scheduled to be completed by the end of September 2010 but the Government has not yet released the findings.
Despite the conjecture over CorpTech’s long-term future, the DPW annual report lists a number of upcoming projects that the agency is responsible for, including “implementing robust, consistent end-to-end ICT industry-standard practices that deliver fast, effective and excellent services to its clients” and the continued rollout of finance and payroll information systems.
In the short term at least, it seems CorpTech will continue performing its key functions within the Queensland Government.