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Victoria’s twelve-year housing system nears completion

by Paris Cowan •
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Work appears to be just about finished on the Housing integrated information Program (HiiP), nearly seven years after the project’s original completion deadline passed.  

According to the latest Annual Report from the Victorian Department of Human Services (DHS) “functions for processing client applications and bonds, the housing property register, asset management, and building project and contract management have already been implemented”.

Sources have informed Intermedium that the project is in its final stages, with acceptance testing underway.

The HiiP was launched in 1999 as a replacement for the ageing Integrated System for Information Processing (ISIP).

It was intended to provide tenancy management functions to the then Office of Housing (since amalgamated in to the Human Services super department) as well as contract and project management.

In 1999 it was estimated that the system would be implemented over two years, to the end of 2004, and at a cost of $83 million.

According to a report by the Victorian Auditor-General published in June 2007, the project hit trouble as early as March 2003 – only six months after the first contract was signed. The first milestone revision was conducted in May and another seven followed in the period to February 2006.

In 2006, the Office of Housing ended its contract with its systems integrator, the UK firm Anite, after it became clear that the company would not be capable of completing the project.

While the Audior-General acknowledged that Anite’s inability to fulfil its obligations was “paramount” to the settlement taking place, he also noted that significant project governance shortcomings at the Office had hampered its progress.

“The absence of a project management framework was noted in OoH-commissioned reviews in December 2004, and again in June 2005, nearly three years after the project started,” he said in the report.

Following the settlement of the Anite contract, the project completion date was revised to December 2008.

The Auditor-General estimated that at December 2006 the total project budget was $93 million, $49.7 million of which had not been spent at that point.

The HiiP system is currently being implemented by NCSI, a subsidiary of SingTel.  NCSI took over the contract in 2008.

According to the Victorian tenders website, NCSI’s $4 million contract has now expired.  

When its contract with Anite was settled, DHS retained the intellectual property rights to the system design.

The HiiP is one of a handful of ICT projects that were underway at DHS in 2010-11, according to the Annual Report.

The Department was also working on upgrades and enhancements to its Client Relationship Information System (CRIS) for the use of its case managers, and its Client Relationship Information System for Service Providers (CRISSP) for organisations contracted to provide family services.

It was also establishing SAMS2, a new system for managing service agreement information regarding the external providers funded by the DHS.

In 2010, the DHS spent $55.5 million on ICT operating costs. It expects this to jump to $76.3 million in 2011.


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