NSW’s Department of Family and Community Services has rejected claims that the data migration for the state’s new ChildStory child protection IT platform is incomplete.
The Public Service Association yet again criticised the integrated Salesforce platform earlier this week, this time for an allegedly unfinished migration of records from legacy systems to ChildStory.
The system, which replaces the state’s existing key information and directory system (KiDS) and client information system (CIS), has repeatedly copped flak from the union for numerous critical problems over the past few months.
Issues with the system’s stability and complex data migration first emerged last year, causing the department to miss the original March 2017 deadline for the first release.
When the system finally went live last December for caseworkers, the IT issues had pushed out the project’s budget by $28 million.
Further criticism ensued following reports of critical problems with the system just days after it went live, including the loss of - or failure to save - records of interactions with children and families.
It was enough for community services workers in regional centres to repeatedly walk off the job in February.
Now the PSA claims the ChildStory data migration - covering more than 20 years' of information - is unfinished, with caseworkers reporting the bulk of CIS records are absent on the new platform.
“Members report that the majority of CIS records covering a period of 15 years have not been migrated,” it said
This is despite ChildStory co-director Greg Wells - who is soon-to-be NSW government chief information and digital officer - advising staff on March 28 that the migration had been completed.
The ChildStory executive team had originally given assurances that all data would be migrated to the new system by March 18, PSA said.
But in a statement to iTnews, the department denied that the migration is unfinished, saying that "all 2,163,169 CIS records have successfully migrated to ChildStory”.
“The PSA’s claims that records from CIS have not migrated to ChildStory are false,” a spokesperson said.
While the PSA concedes there have been improvements to the system since February, it said caseworkers still rely on access to the KiDS legacy system “to view historical records as ChildStory is too cumbersome and unreliable”.
FACS moved to remediate critical problems with the new platform in February, after the PSA urged the department to redesign the system.
Department secretary Michael Coutts-Trotter proposed a series of actions and resources that would be “re-prioritised from the department’s IT budget to address caseworker concerns.
A spokesperson told iTnews the agency had used “feedback from staff using ChildStory ... to devise a 25 point action plan”, of which 22 points had now been completed.
“The remaining actions relate to continual updates to training material and additional support for specific business units. These are ongoing,” the spokesperson said.
The department has also enhanced the system with a “timeline view of the records for a child which can be filtered, searched and printed”, as well as new feature that allows caseworkers to attach “multiple documents for groups of children at one time”.