Australian Gateway Review key in revealing extent of Victoria Police IT project deficiencies

By David Bicknell

A report has found that the police in the state of Victoria in Australia lacked the capacity to deliver a major IT project and wasted millions of dollars on a failed system.

According to The Australian, the force had lost around $30 million as a result of the decision to abandon the replacement of its Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP) system, said the report by an Australian QC, Jack Rush.

“The investigations of the inquiry into the LEAP replacement and two other IT projects at Victoria Police revealed a lack of project management methodology and discipline leading to systemic mismanagement,” the report said.

“The inquiry identified a culture within Victoria Police that cost overruns were acceptable but above all, there was a lack of any form of strategy to define the IT needs and requirements of Victoria Police for the future.”

Victoria Police admitted last year it had underestimated the cost of replacing its inefficient, ageing LEAP system by $100m, before it abandoned the replacement project. 

Chief Commissioner Ken Lay said he would adopt the report’s recommendation that the force seek external assistance through an advisory group and had already been consulting external experts.

“Victoria Police needs help in delivering these projects and I will certainly be reaching out both nationally and internationally to make sure that we get this right,” he said.

A key Gateway Review was instrumental in the ending of LEAP, as the report discusses:

“The PIMS preliminary business case was subject to a Gateway Review in late July 2011. The scrutiny of this review process appears to have been the cause of considerable reflection at senior levels of Victoria Police command. The Gateway Review indicated interviewees advised that the preliminary business case did not provide sufficient justification for additional funding to complete the replacement of LEAP; and varied greatly in their expectations and understanding of what outcomes the Policing Information Management System (PIMS) would provide and the technology necessary to achieve outcomes.

The Gateway Review observed “… that best practice and strategic assessment begins with a fundamental understanding of what the problem is that requires fixing and the strategic response that the organisation is looking for.” The review found that the PIMS project was deficient in these respects:

  • the strategic vision for Victoria Police as it related to the PIMS project;
  • current and preferred policing workflow;
  • business requirements based upon the operational needs of modern policing; and
  • information management plan

Rush Report

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