Nikki Preston

Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Absence of tracking software raises fears

A Hamilton City councillor fears ratepayers will have to pay more money over delays to computer system. Photo / Thinkstock
A Hamilton City councillor fears ratepayers will have to pay more money over delays to computer system. Photo / Thinkstock

Delays to a new computer system giving councillors access to key city projects could put more ratepayer money in jeopardy by leaving financial data open to manipulation, a Hamilton city councillor fears.

Ewan Wilson says computer monitoring software that would allow the council to follow project spending from the start to finish needed to be installed straight away.

But Hamilton City Council chief executive Barry Harris has, in a report to the council, said the software system cannot be installed until the $12.88 million IT upgrade of all the council's network, called Project Phoenix, is completed in mid-2013. He said the wait was necessary to ensure the software was compatible with the network.

However, Mr Wilson said the council was leaving itself open to repeats of the shocking V8 blowout and the more recent debacle where the revenue for Claudelands Event Centre fell short of projections.

Mr Wilson said the council's response was not good enough and questioned why the project monitoring software was not included in the original Project Phoenix budget in 2009.

"One would have assumed it would be occurring at the same time. If I was to identify a single risk, the failure of not having a track and trace project management system would be within the top three significant risk factors for this council," he said.

"It's unacceptable this organisation doesn't immediately move to get a track and trace system. I think the ratepayers of Hamilton would expect [such] a fundamental tool in its arsenal."

THE FACTS

* The $12.8 million IT upgrade excludes project tracking software.
* Audit New Zealand says the V8 blowout could have been avoided by having a better project monitoring system.
* Council boss says IT upgrade needs to be completed before software installed.
* Councillor says more money could be in jeopardy if it is not installed.

- NZ Herald

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