In this audit, we explored whether monitoring projects at the departmental and whole‑of‑government levels have improved successful delivery of ICT programs and projects. We assessed whether:
- the ICT dashboard is a reliable source of information and has increased transparency of how departments are running their projects
- whole-of-government assurance processes are improving departmental skill levels in monitoring and managing ICT projects
- governance processes for one program—Human Resources Information Solutions (HRIS)—and one completed project—My Development Assessment System (MyDAS)—were effective.
The Queensland Government plans to spend $2.6 billion on information and communication technology (ICT) projects over the next four years.
Each department is accountable for making investment decisions, and monitoring and delivering on its investments. Departments provide high-level overviews and status updates of major ICT investments through the ICT dashboard. This dashboard is intended to make information easily accessible, visible, and available for the public to use in a timely manner, and make it easier to identify underperforming projects and focus action on the projects that need it most.
Queensland Government Chief Information Office
We recommend that the Queensland Government Chief Information Office:
1. enhances the ICT dashboard and updates publishing guidelines by:
- working with departments to publish one set of agreed criteria and supporting guidelines to be used by all departments
- considering an increase in the estimated cost criteria of projects to be reported
- including projects funded to initiate and or to develop a business case, with timelines and budgets for the initiate stage
- including the ability to explain changes in projects in the delivery stage and provide information on outcomes and outputs achieved to date
- requiring departments to include more information about key decisions and corrective actions for projects that change significantly (re-set or re-baseline)
- automating controls to validate data when it is entered
- expanding features on the dashboard to include links between projects, programs, and the DIGITAL1ST strategy (Chapter 2)
2. strengthens whole-of-government assurance frameworks that currently complement departmental processes for monitoring ICT projects by:
- defining the meanings of ICT, digital, or digitally-enabled projects, and projects with high business impact
- reporting projects that are defined as high business impact and have not undergone the investment review process
- analysing and reporting ICT project performance information to assess the effectiveness of the investment review and project assurance processes
- encouraging departments to schedule sufficient project health checks in addition to gate reviews in the assurance plans for all high business impact projects, and following up on these if they don't occur on time
- assisting departments in identifying root causes for project failures and successes, collating these, publishing information for learning, and encouraging departments to look for early warning signs so they can mitigate these risks (Chapter 3).
We recommend that all departments:
3. implement efficient and automated processes for collecting, collating, approving, and publishing dashboard data (Chapter 2)
4. publish data to the dashboard that is consistent with the QGCIO publishing criteria and guidelines and provide sufficient detail in the explanatory notes when changes are made to projects' scope, time, or budget (Chapter 2)
5. consider the need for projects with high business impact to undergo periodic health checks in addition to gate reviews and that the focus of these health checks includes the financial management (Chapters 3 and 4)
6. use learnings (including the QGCIO's summary of systemic issues) from project health checks and gate reviews in monitoring and managing programs and projects. (Chapters 3 and 4)
The Department of Housing and Public Works
We recommend that for the HRIS program, the Department of Housing and Public Works:
7. undertakes a full analysis of the relevant end-to-end payroll and human capital management processes for the remaining entities:
- to assess proposed solutions
- to calculate cost estimates for the services
8. ensures the program continually assesses that it provides enough information to enable those charged with governance to make timely decisions. (Chapter 4)