Queensland locks IBM out of new contracts

Big Blue will be banned from entering any new state government contracts in Queensland until it improves its governance and contracting practices.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has said that IBM must prove that it has "dealt with past misconduct and will prevent future misconduct" before it is allowed to sign new contracts with the Queensland government.

"It appears that IBM took the state of Queensland for a ride," Newman said in a statement.

The premier said that he expects IBM to discipline the employees named in the report looking into the ill-fated Queensland Health payroll system.

Newman said he also expects the CEO of the Public Service Commission to review the Public Service Code of Conduct and provide amendments to it, as well as considering action against any adversely named public sector employee. Crown Law is expected to provide advice on actions that should be taken against former public servants, while the Integrity Commissioner would review the absence of a probity adviser or a conflicts register on the payroll project.

The Queensland government will make its response to the report's recommendation during the next sitting of parliament.

Labor and the union movement did not escape the premier's ire, with Newman calling on unions involved in the public sector to provide "information about the oversight of representatives who failed to act to protect rank and file members".

"I again call on the Labor leader to apologise on behalf of the former government for the actions that directly affected 80,000 Queenslanders and cost taxpayers AU$1.2 billion," Newman said.

"That is the least Annastacia Palaszczuk can do for the lack of interest shown by her and the unions, and for months of covering up the true extent of the disaster."

IBM responded to the report today, stating that it does not agree with the findings.

"IBM's fees of AU$25.7 million accounted for less than 2 percent of the total amount. The balance of costs is made up of work streams which were never part of IBM's scope," the company said in a statement.

"When the system went live, it was hindered primarily through business process and data migration issues outside of IBM's contractual and practical control.

"The successful delivery of the project was rendered near-impossible by the state failing to properly articulate its requirements or commit to a fixed scope."

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