Centrelink to focus on project management

Centrelink project management driven by IT

Centrelink has received a largely positive report on its project management framework, but still has some work to do on systems' integration.

The agency had made good progress in improving project management over the 2005-06 financial year, according to the report by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). Centrelink managed 134 projects at a cost of AU$144.7 million during the 2005-06 financial year.

A substantial amount of the agency's projects are IT-related. Last August, for example, Centrelink announced it was set to migrate from a Forte middleware platform to a J2EE environment as part of its five-year AU$312 million information technology refresh program which was announced in the 2003-04 budget.

However, the agency still had -some work to do before reaching the higher levels of project management maturity".

This included improving the use and integration of IT tools to support project managers, according to the ANAO.

Centrelink established its Project Management Policy in 2000 and has been making continuous improvements to the framework since.

Over time, the agency has implemented several systems and tools to improve project management. These include the Centrelink Projects Register (CPR), a project data repository used by project managers across the agency; InfoLink, its financial management system; the project managers team room, an electronic forum for sharing information; as well as tools from vendor Primavera.

While Centrelink was continually improving its use of the tools, said ANAO, errors and inefficiencies were found in some of the systems, such as the CPR.

-The CPR is not properly maintained and it contains errors and omissions that make it unreliable as a source of monitoring information," said the report.

The report recommended the agency revise its framework so that governance arrangements were more easily understood, the methodology made simpler, and control arrangements improved, among other recommendations.