Friday, January 25, 2013

This Day In Snookland...Let Them Eat Software!


Remember how we learned, directly from some grand poobahs high up the foodchain, that Christy Clark's Ministry of Children and Family Development does not now (and apparently never did!) allow frontline social workers to spend an extra $50 to specifically buy the most disadvantaged kids in their care a Christmas present?

And do you remember the row and pushback that resulted because we even dared to ask about said  'practice' (not policy!) at Ms. Clark's MCFD (a Ministry she once ran, by the way, back in the days before Railgate blew-up and just after a fine fellow named Mr. Doug Walls did his best to scorch all the earth with a privatized net of fire and 'care').


Who knew that we can't spend an extra 10 or 20 thousand dollars on actual kids, in the here and now, because the MCFD needed to save the cash to help pay for an outsourced computer system that is pure junk.

Pure junk that actually takes up so much social workers' time that they have less time to spend with the kids that they are supposed to be helping.

Oh, and did I mention that the pure junk cost, are you ready for this....

One hundred and eighty-two million dollars.

Lindsay Kines has the story, based on a report from Childrens Representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.

Here is Mr. Kines' lede:

Senior government officials should be held accountable for the “colossal failure” of government’s new computer system for front-line social workers, the province’s child watchdog says.

Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond said a consultant’s report — released Thursday by the province — confirms her warning last year about the dire state of the $182-million integrated case management system.

“We’re in deep trouble,” she said. “This is a deeply serious problem.”

The consultant’s report said previous ministry officials failed to properly monitor the computer system’s development and didn’t push for changes that would have created a system fit for child-care work.

The software was developed during a time of significant change in the ministry and there was inadequate knowledge, resources or leadership to get the right solution in place, the report said.

Turpel-Lafond characterized the findings as “brutal” and said government had a duty to investigate how the mistakes happened and chart a course forward.

“This report speaks to incompetent stewardship of [integrated case management] by government,” she said. “And whether the manufacturers of the product play a role in that, I don’t know, but I think it needs a deeper look.”

The integrated case management system went online last April, linking information on thousands of social assistance and child welfare clients, including sensitive details on child abuse, custody disputes and welfare payments.

Social workers complained that the new system was too complicated and buried critical child safety information under a series of hidden tabs..


Who  are the 'manufacturers' of this 'system' that made off with our $182 million that could have been much better spent on children and, you know, actual families?

And how were they chosen?


And do not forget, Ms. Turpel-Lafond was only hired because of the Hughes Report that clearly demonstrated the callousness of Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark's FoolsGoldenCarpetBagger Era when it came to not taking proper care to even begin to properly help troubled families and kids in this province (this after the CampbellClark government had previously eliminated the 'independent' Children's representative position)...
And do not also forget that it was not so long ago that the Campbell/Clark government tried to strip Mr. Turpel-Lafond of her independence after launching a whisper campaign about how she was just too darned....what is that word I'm looking for....Oh, ya, now I remember, it's....'independent'....
Gosh, I sure do like it when apparatchiks put themselves on the 'record'...
As to that $182 million...Of course, we don't know if that is the 'real' cost or the PavCoesque 'pretend' cost...Why?....Well, because, to the best of my knowledge at least it has not yet been, you know 'audited' by that fellow...What's his name again?....Oh, ya.....Doyle...



Don F. said...

Ross, check this out! mindblowing!


North Van's Grumps said...

Google Search Criteria:

$182 million bc mcfd

Queenswood Consulting Group sounds familiar....

Queenswood Consulting Group has also been hired as an external consultant to work closely with ministry staff to assess ICM as it relates to child protection practice. Their interim report PDF Document will guide next steps in the development of the child protection components of ICM.

As to the Company involve, it's on the same webpage as the above:

"What was the process for selecting the software package you are using?

The underlying software product is from Oracle/Siebel and is used worldwide in both the public and private sectors. Oracle Siebel case management software was selected through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process in March 2008.

Proposals were evaluated based on the evaluation criteria set out in the RFP, including:

Demonstrated experience in implementing similar projects in the social services sector
Corporate capacity and long-term financial stability
Product and service demonstrations
Value for money.

The evaluation team included representatives from the Ministries of Employment and Income Assistance, Children and Family Development, Labour and Citizens’ Services, the government’s Strategic Acquisitions and Technology Procurement group, as well as technical and business subject-matter experts.

The RFP followed a notice to vendors and information sessions with potential vendors to enhance the ministries’ knowledge of available software applications."


"Did you involve front-line staff in the development of ICM?

Phases 1 and 2 of ICM were developed based on input from front-line staff working with our systems integrator (Deloitte) to design a system that meets their needs.

Prior to Phase 1, front-line staff from both ministries were involved in the development of the business requirements to select the software, and they also participated in the high-level blueprint and implementation planning.

So far, approximately 6,000 staff from both MCFD and MSD and 2,000 MSD service provider staff have participated in some form of training – including face-to-face, and/or online, and use of a practice system. We are ensuring that ongoing training and orientation is available for staff using the system and as we make changes to the system in the future."

So there you have it RossK, they not only spent $182 million on the Software but also included training for a "practice system"

North Van's Grumps said...

Link to QueensWood Consulting Group, above, is broken, but Sean Holman's Public EyeOnline has a Post on QWCG and a LINK to a previous Contract for the Justice dept of the BC Government....

"delivery of virtual Justice Access Centre services"


Anonymous said...

Must be just random that on a day the media is fixated on the teachers this report pops up.

Who in their right mind spends $182,000,000+ and doesn't get full rights to the source code?

RossK said...



And, meanwhile, a little commented on story, also from Lindsay Kines last weekend demonstrates that in-house program development (by a school board no less) can be done very effectively, at little cost and with total control so that the entire thing can be sent out to other boards in the public system....

The link


RossK said...

Thanks Don!

And thanks, once again, for doing the legwork NVG!


Anonymous said...

How the %$#& do you spend 182 million dollars on a computer system that does not work and NO ONE is being held accountable??
I wonder how much of the 182 million was given to some insider hack liberal back room string pulling POS?

motorcycleguy said...

Funny how so many contracts go to to former employees of the Provincial government. Appears one of the partners of Queenswood was Manager, Management Systems and Information Government of British Columbia. Managed the Ministry's research program and information management systems to support senior policy staff and executive decision-making.

This would be a good thing if they used their experience in government to truly supply a good system, but a bad thing if they used their experience in government to push a product they may get sales incentives on.

My experience with this Liberal government has made me assume the bad thing. Unforturnate for anyone who is actually doing good.

FamCare said...

I work in the software industry as well, so I can definitely relate!