Auditor finds 'phased roll out' may have eased issues with government 'Connect' system

Government buildings on Broad Street St Helier.
The project to introduce the new SAP system, known as 'Connect', has cost Jersey's government £64.2 million so far. Credit: ITV Channel

A phased rollout of Jersey's new government IT system would have allowed teething problems to be detected earlier according to an independent watchdog.

A report by the island's Comptroller and Auditor General has found that the 'big bang' approach increased the risk of operational problems. It also said there is no backup plan if something goes wrong with the system, meaning Jersey's government may have to keep previous systems running as a contingency.

The report also highlighted a need to monitor the new system for a longer period of time, in order to identify any other potential problems.

The report comes as the government faced backlash for delaying payments to businesses after problems with their new "Connect" IT system.

In February 2023, ITV News revealed that Jersey's government had millions of pounds worth of outstanding bills due to problems with payments.

Lynn Pamment, Jersey's C&AG, led the review. She said: "The ITS programme was launched in early 2020 and is intended to enable the government to use modern, cloud-based systems for finance, human resources, procurement and asset management. It forms one part of a significant investment being made by government in digital modernisation.

"My review has identified some elements of good practice in the way in which the ITS programme has been managed.

"However, there is a need for government to improve its management of strategic risks in major programmes, to ensure that sufficient specific business-unit level approval of functionality is gained prior to ‘go live’ and to enhance its processes to monitor the realisation of the benefits expected to be delivered over a sufficiently long time-span."

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