NSW's $100m ChildStory system rollout gets go-ahead

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NSW's $100m ChildStory system rollout gets go-ahead

After lengthy delay.

The NSW government's new $100 million child protection system has been given the all-clear to go live later this month, after coming up against issues with the underlying platform and migration of data.

The ChildStory platform will replace the Department of Families and Community Services' child protection and out-of-home-care system, known as the key information and directory system (KiDS), with an integrated as-a -service solution.

It moved into the development phase in June last year after an 18 month period of design, prototyping and procurement. Accenture, Salesforce, Mulesoft, CloudSense, Conga, Squiz and EYC3 were engaged to conduct the build.

The project was on time and budget late last year when the NSW audit office looked at it as part of a wider audit of the cluster, with the system's first release planned for delivery from late March.

But the department missed the initial deadline for the first release - which covers caseworks - and pushed back implementation to a five-week period over October and November 2017.

A second release – for NGOs, children, families, carers and FACS contract and payments staff – was scheduled for early 2018.

However, at the beginning of this month the department was still yet to begin its five-week implementation, which iTnews understands was down to a number of problems with the system including data migration.

According to the Public Service Association (PSA), FACS secretary Michael Coutts-Trotter gave the department until the end of last week [pdf] to resolve the issues and proceed with the go live date of November 14, or further push back the rollout until the problems have been addressed.

The department has stressed to the PSA that it would not delay go-live beyond Christmas, and that there would be no further changes made to ChildStory for the first release.

The PSA has been calling on the department to defer the rollout of ChildStory since last month, after receiving feedback from its members during training that the platform was less user-friendly than the current KiDS system.

But the agency said it would still go ahead with implementation later this month.

“ChildStory will be implemented later this month with all districts to be live by the end of the year. The extra time will allow us to perform further testing and conduct additional training,” a spokesperson said.

The spokesperson declined to confirm whether data migration issues had delayed the go-live date. They noted that "data migration is complex when moving over 20 years' of information from a legacy system".

The second release of ChildStory remains planned for May 2018.

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