[LINK] IT department fines contractor
Thu, 18 Jan 2001 09:30:25 +1100
IT department fines contractor
18 January 2001
THE federal Government's own Department of Communications and
Information Technology - one of the first to have its IT needs
outsourced - has fined its contractor almost $900,000 for not
providing adequate services.
The department would not provide any detail yesterday on why Telstra
subsidiary Advantra was fined, saying the information was "commercial
In March 1999 Advantra won a five-year, $88million contract to manage
the IT needs of five departments including Communications, Prime
Minister and Cabinet, and Transport.
A report on IT outsourcing by Auditor-General Pat Barrett last year
said Advantra had been fined at least $960,000 across its portfolio of
agencies. But an answer to a question on notice, revealed yesterday,
shows the company was fined nearly $900,000 for delays in just one
department. The Department of Communications and IT fined Advantra
$897,571.65 for not meeting its agreed service levels between July
1999 and November 2000.
Advantra's management of the Department of Transport's computer
network has led to its computers being down for 16 day and 32 days'
worth of lost data. The problems cost the agency about $3million.
Mr Barrett last year estimated the total fines imposed on IT companies
managing government work was at least $4.5million.
The "commercial in confidence" clauses that cover outsourced
government work have been attacked by corruption watchdogs and
politicians as a hindrance to obtaining information on public
expenditure and accountability.
The Australian National Audit Office is conducting an inquiry into the
appropriate use of the clauses in government contracts and when
information, despite its sensitivity to commercial operators, should
be supplied. In his last annual report Mr Barrett attacked the use of
the clauses to hinder inquiries into contract performance in the
Finance Minister John Fahey has been criticised for his handling of
the Government's outsourcing program, which was the subject of a
scathing independent review last week.
She marked thee there,
Stretched on the rack of a too easy chair,
And heard thy everlasting yawn confess
The pains and penalties of idleness.
-- Alexander Pope, The Dunciad