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Business

Vic Police stands by auditor-general report

The Victorian Police has backed the state's auditor-general report in response to claims that the police's technology budget blow-out was three times larger than reported by the 2003 audit.
Written by Jacquelyn Holt, Contributor on

The Victorian Police has backed the state's auditor-general report in response to claims that the police's technology budget blow-out was three times larger than reported by the 2003 audit.

As reported by the Australian IT, former manager of strategy and business relationships, Richard Kennedy detailed significant issues within the department and the regulatory measures brought in to assess IT spending.

Kennedy criticised the auditor-general and ombudsman charged with evaluating the Victorian Police's IT department, claiming spending was over three times higher than the $39 million blow-out detailed in their reports and saying that he had brought problems within the department to the ombudsman as early as 2002.

The Victorian Police has responded to queries on the claims with a statement. "The increase in contract costs identified in 2002 has already been fully explored in the auditor-general's report of May 2003 and there is no change to the response provided to the report by the chief commissioner at the time."

The most recent report on the business information and technology services (BITs) department's IT spending revealed an overspend of as much as $39.17 million, with internal audits revealing 56 incidents of unapproved engagements with contractors. Reports by the ombudsman also cited a lack of formal reporting structures as influential in the department's overspending.

The police said it was moving forward by trying to improve IT services. "The chief commissioner has already publicly recognised that Victoria Police needs to do better in relation to information technology and a number of significant steps are being taken to ensure a greater level of oversight and accountability within BITs, and that due process is followed," the spokesperson said. "The matters raised are historical and Victoria Police is now focused on improving its future IT practices and contract management arrangements."

The Victorian Police has also been criticised for outdated IT services. In a report released in March, the Victorian ombudsman stated: "Foremost amongst the issues identified by my investigation are the antiquated, time-consuming administrative practices for recording crime that are followed by 'frontline' police and the outdated information technologies that are unsuited to a 21st century approach to policing."

In October last year, CIO Valda Berzins resigned in the midst of the investigation into the department, with group manager of Business and Planning John Brown bowing out earlier. Victorian Police at first established a board of management to run the business information and technology division, but has since appointed Michael Vanderheide as executive director infrastructure as the head.

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