Deloitte Australia has been appointed by the Queensland government to undertake an independent investigation into the failure of the Department of Education's OneSchool system update, which prevented 644 suspected child abuse cases from being reported to police.
Education Minister Kate Jones said within the next eight weeks Deloitte will look into the decisions, procedures, and accountability systems that led up to the failed implementations of the OneSchool update.
The OneSchool system was updated in January designed to allow school principals to report on suspected child abuse directly and simultaneously to Child Safety Services and Queensland Police (QPS).
However, Jones has revealed that since the update, when reports were filed by principals and intended to be delivered to the QPS only, an "IT error" prevented the reports from ever being delivered to the agency.
Jones has blamed the glitch on the department not carrying out proper tests when the update was implemented.
"Since the error was discovered, departmental officers have been working with QPS to assess the 644 cases," she said. "Action was immediately taken to fix OneSchool and the technical problem has been resolved."
Deloitte's investigation will cover a review into the department's application testing and quality assurance framework for all software releases; review the department's approvals for IT system upgrades including change management and software release management; review the process for business requirements gathering and the creation of software code to ensure alignment with industry best practice; and provide recommendations for strengthening procedures and practices for IT system development
Jones said since the discovery of the IT failure, two departmental officers have been stood down as a result of this "unacceptable failure", and the department is also currently undertaking an internal review of its policies and procedures.
This isn't the first IT glitch the Queensland government has suffered. Former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has previously admitted that buying the wrong IBM product resulted in the "catastrophic disaster" in the state's AU$1.2 billion health payroll system in 2010. The IT malfunction resulted in 74,000 health staff overpaid, underpaid, or not paid at all.
"We basically got the product we bought, but we bought the wrong one, or we bought one that was not fit for purpose," Bligh said earlier this year.
Despite the admission by Bligh, last December, the Queensland government announced it was going to take legal action against IBM over the project, in order to retrieve compensation for the health staff that were wrongly paid.