Auckland Council’s key Information Services transformation project NewCore remains on time, on budget and, crucially, is being managed in a responsible and effective way, that’s despite a story to the contrary in the New Zealand Herald on 16 December.
“Any project of the scale and complexity of NewCore carries with it a level of risk that is managed and monitored on an ongoing basis,” says Dean Kimpton, Auckland Council’s Chief Operating Officer.
“Any suggestion that we have not been keeping councillors appraised of the NewCore project and its associated risks is completely incorrect.
“Not only is our risk profile available in the public domain, but NewCore has several levels of reporting and monitoring to forecast issues and keep it on track.
“This includes quarterly reporting to the Finance and Performance Committee, project steering group meetings held each fortnight in line with best business practice, and independent ongoing quality assurance reporting from EY to identify issues,” says Mr Kimpton.
“Let's be clear about two things with regards the timing of the reports. The Audit and Risk Committee report by the Auditor-General was for the period up to 30 June, while our project report to last week’s Finance and Performance Committee was to 30 September, so relate to completely different periods of time.
“In reporting to the Auditor-General, we provided information back in May this year, as part of our ongoing audit and monitoring process.
“At that time the project team had identified and reported on areas of risk to the project. This is an ongoing, standard procedure – not to mention responsible business practice.
“Since May the project has progressed significantly and the risks those particular issues presented have reduced," he says.
While not included in today’s Herald article, the Auditor-General’s report did make the following comments on the way the council is running the project:
- Governance and management structures, while sizeable, are well understood and appear to be operating effectively
- The programme benefits from IQA (Independent Quality Assurance) and there is a clear process to take action in response to IQA feedback which should help strengthen the programme’s management further.
“If NewCore was not being run correctly, these kinds of comments would not be included in the report," says Mr Kimpton. "So it gives me real confidence that we are on the right track."
Complexity and risk levels
“NewCore is a big, complicated project and it of course carries a certain amount of risk, but it is precisely because of the profile of the project we choose to keep the risk at a high level, work on issues that arise and, in many cases, solve them ahead of time.
"We also expect that risk profile to change over time, this is also normal for large projects like this, the monitoring and management we have in place allows us to foresee and mitigate these in a best practice fashion.
“An enormous amount of work is going into making sure that the NewCore project is delivered on time and budget,” Mr Kimpton says.