Datacom and MBIE resolve Immigration NZ project dispute

A report from NZ Treasury reveals a disagreement on scope between the government super-ministry and ICT services provider Datacom.

With NZ$113 million spent out of a whole-of-life cost of NZ$397 million, New Zealand's project to build a new immigration platform is one of the biggest ICT projects on the Government's books.

The Immigration Global Management System (IGMS) has also been one of the most problematic, with budgets and delivery timeframes blowing out.

Now it has emerged there was a substantial disagreement about the scope of the project between major contractor, Datacom, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

A Treasury monitoring report (pdf) released yesterday said Datacom overlooked some of MBIE's requirements when it quoted for the development of a sophisticated identity management system. That in turn has led to some of the work being rescheduled.

"The programme has agreed to a change in schedule to enable Datacom sufficient time to perform the unanticipated extra development work," the report said.

The identity management software and associated processes are now scheduled for implementation in two stages, one in November and the second in March 2016.

"There is an associated discussion in progress about whether some of the overlooked work items are within the scope of the contract," Treasury said.

"The programme has retained the right to call on contractual remedies with Datacom to mitigate the risk, but advise that good progress has been made, with an agreement expected by late August 2015.

"However, we will be monitoring progress towards resolution of this issue closely, and may choose to seek advice from the Procurement functional lead if the likelihood of an August resolution appears to be diminishing."

Datacom declined to comment, but MBIE told ZDNet that while the details of the contract with Datacom are confidential, agreement has been reached on completing all deliverables.

The ministry said the identity capability involves the lodgement of biometric face and fingerprint information, along with biographic data, and automated matching using a new identity management system known as IDme.

When fully implemented in 2016, IDme will improve and automate Immigration New Zealand's existing and identity information capability.

"Importantly, IDme will provide INZ with enhanced capability to be the authoritative source of identity information for all non-New Zealanders and greater assurance that the visa system detects and prevents identity fraud," a spokesman said.