More setbacks for Qld's $100m payroll overhaul

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More setbacks for Qld's $100m payroll overhaul

Deadline extended until end of 2019.

Queensland’s long-running emergency services payroll overhaul is now unlikely to be finished before the end of next year, after the state’s ambulance service asked for more time to transition to the new system.

The program has been slowly replacing the Lattice payroll system – the same solution at the centre of the infamous Queensland Health payroll failure – at the state’s public safety agencies since 2014.

It will see Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Queensland Corrective Services, Inspector-General Emergency Management, and the Queensland Ambulance Service move to using Queensland Shared Service’s Aurion HR system and a new HCM solution.

The initial plan had been to replace the out-of-date Lattice system by outsourcing the payroll function to Datacom, but this was scrapped by the Palaszczuk government in 2015.

Responsibility for the payroll overhaul was instead handed to QSS, with Datacom kept on to deliver a software-a-service HCM solution.

It had been scheduled to be complete by the end of 2018, after missing the original deadline of December 2017.

Now, with just over half the $101 million budgeted for the project spent, both Queensland Corrective Services and the Inspector General of Emergency Management have completed their transition from Lattice to Aurion for payroll service.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services has also recently introduced the new HCM solution.

But the largest of the public safety agencies is yet to commence its transition to Aurion, with the state’s ICT dashboard indicating that Queensland Ambulance Services’ planned transition to Aurion has been pushed back from March 2018 to November 2018.

A spokesperson told iTnews the revised timeframe was needed to accommodate “extensive testing of some automated integration capability”, as well as the introduction of a new enterprise bargaining agreement and availability of payroll release cycles.

“Revising the implementation timeframe reflects a balanced approach to managing risks in delivering large-scale IT projects, especially major payroll implementations,” the spokesperson said.

The revised schedule had initially seen the program’s overall status on the dashboard change to red, pending "formal approach of the change request by the executive steering committee expected in February 2018”.

It has now returned to amber after receiving the approval month, a spokesperson said.

However, the delay has had a knock-on effect for the project’s overall completion date, which was scheduled for the end of 2018, but has been pushed back by another year.

“A revised HRIS program end date of December 2019 was also approved to accommodate the inclusion of a time and attendance project and scheduling of the remaining projects in the overall HRIS program,” the spokesperson said.

It follows a health check of the project by PwC in mid-2017 which said it had a low chance of success of being delivered on time and budget unless big changes were made.

This was put down to “ambiguous roles and responsibilities”, unnecessarily complex management structures, "ineffective decision-making" and program management, "duplication of effort", and ongoing scope uncertainty.

The findings were rejected by former innovation minister Leeanne Enoch, who assured parliament the project was on track for a successful delivery.

The spokesperson said the government had taken steps to improve governance arrangements since the audit, including introducing "separate program boards for payroll and HCM, which report through to an updated executive steering committee".

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