Qld Govt fires bureaucrats over OneSchool IT nightmare


blog When major IT projects go wrong in government departments, often nobody loses their job. Public servants have significant tenure in their positions, and they’re very difficult to fire — even if it can be comprehensively demonstrated that millions of dollars have been wasted.

However, in the unfolding case of the OneSchool IT systems glitch in Queensland, it appears the Queensland Government is taking the matter seriously enough that heads are rolling. 9 News tells us (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“Director-General Jim Watterson announced on Wednesday an assistant director-general and an executive director have been stood down over the OneSchool reporting failure, effective immediately. Another departmental staffer has also been issued a show cause notice, he said. Contractors directly responsible for coding and testing the OneSchool upgrade have also had their contracts terminated.”

In case you’ve missed the OneSchool situation, the big picture is that more than 1,000 cases of suspected child abuse went unreported because of a programming error. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu has produced a report into the disaster.

Unfortunately, this kind of issue is not unique to Queensland. In March 2014, for example, the Victorian Auditor-General told the state’s Department of Human Services to treat the need for a better client information system to store details about children under its care as a “priority”, with revelations that the department’s existing system was difficult to use and not being used correctly, as well as the fact that staff are still using cumbersome fax-based technology to report abuse.

For me this issue is yet another reminder that in 2015, IT systems are crucial in ensuring that virtually every area of Australian society is able to function. We must continue to place strong controls around their governance and ensure that they do not malfunction. Otherwise we will see further disasters such as the OneSchool example in Queensland.


  1. This is a problem that is bureaucratic in nature, rather than Governmental.

    I dealt directly with govt departments prior to the LNP win. They were hopeless. Too many fingers, scope creep, missed deadlines, you name it.

    Then LNP came in and chopped everything up. The problem was, they didn’t spend any money fixing the issues, and the higher up bureaucrats responsible, survived.

    Add to that the various IT companies milking the government for every cent they could.

    This sort of shit, just doesn’t surprise me.

  2. When you say “(we recommend you click here for the full article)”, please actually put a link in there for us to click on.

    Please improve the proofreading on your site. It makes you look amateurish, and makes me look for other articles to share.

  3. Queensland government seems to have a history regarding failed I.T. Projects. IBM is still banned from Queensland government work due to it’s hilariously bad & way over budget work for the Queensland Department of Health a few years back. ( http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/technology/queensland-bans-ibm/story-fn4htb9o-1226692740865 )

    Just wondering is their any indication or if you’ve heard which particular company supplied the contractors for this particular project, wonder if it’s another major outsourcer who has taken advantage of the Qld Gov’t or perhaps the Qld gov’t was making a shedload of changes to the original scope & the contractors et al charged them appropriately.

  4. The people 9 News reported aren’t public servants. DGs and EDs are on contract and don’t have tenure.

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