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Queensland government dumps SPER IT contract after budget blowout

Queensland government dumps SPER IT contract after budget blowout

State’s auditor-general already examining delays in Office of State Revenue program

The Queensland government has confirmed that it has terminated the contract of the ICT provider implementing a debt recovery solution for the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER).

SPER is a division in Queensland’s Office of State Revenue tasked with collecting fines and court-imposed monetary penalties, as well as implementing offender debt recovery orders and offender levies.

The government previously said that the new IT platform would “provide global best practices in customer profiling, behavioural economics, system reporting and channel management.”

 “This decision has been made due to ongoing program delays and follows in-depth consideration of the options and the best way forward,” the state’s deputy premier and treasurer, Jackie Trad, said in a statement released over the weekend.

When it kicked off in early 2014 it was allocated a budget of $47.2 million; as of mid-March the SPER program had cost $59.8 million.

In December, approved expenditure was boosted by $7.43 million due to a blowout in the program’s timeframe.

User acceptance texting kicked off in November and was expected to be completed by the end of February. However, UAT was continuing as of March 2019, with the government indicting that SPER had been beset with technical issues and defects affecting interfaces, portals and data.

“Extensive external user testing has been delayed with fine issuing and referring agencies,” a 19 March government status update said.

“The new SPER ICT system is not anticipated to be ready for operation in June 2019.”

“Queenslanders have a right to a SPER system that delivers. The delays, and the costs associated with this process, have been unacceptable,” Trad said.

“The SPER Transformation Program will continue and is making progress with an uplift in debt collection and a reduction in debt growth.”

As a result of the delays, the program had already been referred to the state’s auditor-general by the time the government cancelled the contract.

Queensland in May 2016 awarded CGI a contract to implement its Collections360 solution for SPER. The company has been approached for comment.

Last month the Victorian Ombudsman revealed her office had been flooded with complaints about Fines Victoria, after the agency launched on 31 December 2017 despite its key IT platform having only partial functionality.

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