Two scathing reports released Thursday highlight the failure of the Liberal government to properly manage information systems that are responsible for storing and protecting the sensitive information of British Columbia’s most vulnerable.
The risks posed by these faulty systems has compromised the safety of children in care, front-line workers, and most recently, victims and witnesses in B.C.’s justice system. The government’s combined mismanagement on ill-conceived computer systems comes with a hefty price tag, costing taxpayers at least $400 million and counting.
Integrated Case Management (ICM)
- An external review of the problem-plagued computer system used to ensure the safety of children in care highlighted the multiple failures of government to research the potential risks and challenges associated with ICM.
- Despite spending $182 million on ICM and an additional $12 million on attempts to improve it, the report stated yet another review is being conducted in to whether or not ICM can ever be deemed suitable for child protection work.
- 19,000 cases of children in care of the ministry still need to be reviewed for compromised or incorrect information stored through ICM.
- An integrated criminal case management database responsible for storing some of the most sensitive information in government – police investigations, court documents and victims or witnesses of crime – was found by the Auditor General to be inadequately protected from external or internal security breaches. The system isn’t even able to determine if a breach occurs, meaning if a breach has already happened, we wouldn’t know.
- The Auditor General’s report says his office gave the Liberal government extra time to address the recommendations before the release, however vulnerabilities still exist in the system.
- Another report by the Auditor General in 2010 found the online service responsible for providing medical information to British Columbians was poorly planned and grossly over budget by almost $100 million.
- The $100 million computer system used by the Ministry of Education was eventually thrown out after years of failed attempts to make it work. The government has estimated the cost of replacing the system could be another $90 million.
- After a 2004 audit found the Liberals lacked due diligence in implementing the Carenet program, $2.3 million of taxpayer dollars went down the drain when the contractors filed for bankruptcy.
Quote from New Democrat social development critic Carole James:
“Reports continue to highlight the Liberals’ inability to manage the province’s IT projects as well as their blatant mismanagement of valuable taxpayer dollars. These computer systems are responsible for highly-sensitive information, and whether it’s related to child protection work or the identity of witnesses in court cases, the public expects their government to safeguard the information of vulnerable people. These scathing reports confirm that the Liberals are just not up to the challenges facing British Columbians.”