Increasing costs force CabNet 'pause'

A document management project to serve the executive branch of New Zealand's Government has hit a wall.
Written by Rob O'Neill, Contributor

A review of increasing costs has forced New Zealand's Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to "pause" its CabNet document management project.

The project was supposed to improve the operations of Cabinet, but it was stopped in June last year, a Parliamentary financial review (pdf) reveals, due to increasing costs.

The original business case had "underestimated the scale, scope and complexity of the project", the review says.

"A revised business case is being finalised, with updated cost estimates for the development, delivery and support of the project, and discussions are being held with ministers," the review says.

Browser-based CabNet was due for rollout late in 2013 at a cost of NZ$6.5 million to replace a paper-based system and email document exchange.

A Treasury document (pdf) from mid 2012 says CabNet was a "priority" to ensure that services to Ministers are to improve in a "technological step change".

At that time it was estimated to cost just NZ$2.6 million and take 11 months to complete. It was expected to save NZ$4 million a year.

"Implementation of this project is likely to realise savings across public service departments including Department of Prime of Minister and Cabinet, from efficiency gains," it says.

Benefits in addition to enhanced productivity were supposed to incude removing duplication and providing a single electronic source forCabinet information.

It was also expected to improve the quality of submissions to Cabinet through quality assurance controls built into the system and to enhance collaboration.

CabNet was also expected to improve security by providing a more secure means of sharing Cabinet information amongst authorised users and delivering audit trails and tracking mechanisms.

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