The consolidation of Queensland government email systems will be delivered in 2012, more than two years behind schedule, Queensland ICT Minister Robert Schwarten revealed in parliament yesterday.
The Identity, Directory and Email Services program (IDES) was first announced in July 2008 as part of widespread ICT reform in the Queensland Government and plans to move 80,000 Queensland government email addresses onto one Microsoft Exchange 2007 system.
Deployment will only begin early next year despite that it was set to commence in mid-2009 to be completed last June.
"The IDES implementation will commence early next year. Full implementation of IDES is scheduled to be completed by December 2012," Schwarten said in Queensland Parliament yesterday. "I am informed that this delay was due firstly to lengthy negotiations with contractors and machinery-of-government (MOG) changes, which are the most significant changes in the past 20 years."
"After the MOG changes, we had to go back to every agency to negotiate their requirements and to sign a new memorandum of understanding, he added. "This took significant time and could not have been planned for when this program was first scoped three to four years ago."
Schwarten said that his department had also conducted a tranche review to ensure that the technologies proposed by the contractors were sound, and that delays were also due in part to the recommendation of increased governance on ICT projects from the Queensland Auditor-General's report into the Queensland Health payroll bungle.
"In negotiations with contracts, Public Works also went to great lengths to ensure that there was minimal risk to the Queensland Government, including specifying that contractors would be paid only on results," he said. "I will delay the introduction of systems again and again to ensure that they are right."
"I make absolutely no apologies for taking this position. If necessary, I will delay every project if it means that programs are right to go live."
However, Queensland Shadow Public Works Minister Jann Stuckey questioned Schwarten's explanation behind the delay to the project.
"Robert Schwarten changed his story, blaming these changes for the delay," she said in a statement. "This isn't surprising considering the minister would rather blame and attack his colleagues, the industry and the media rather than admit his failings."
"This is a minister with a proven track record of forging ahead with IT projects without testing them correctly," she added.
Schwarten said the total ongoing cost of operating the system over 10 years would be $300 million, $123 million less than the cost of running the current email system.