Flagship e-govt project runs into trouble

17 Dec 2002

Reach, the cross-departmental agency charged with the task of implementing the Public Services Broker (PSB), the hub of the proposed interaction between State and citizen, has confirmed to siliconrepublic.com that the implementation of the broker will be delayed.

The launch of the State’s flagship e-government project is now expected to be September 2003 at the earliest, some four months later than planned, according to Reach director, Oliver Ryan. Reach is still in the tendering process for the e-broker and it is believed that the six remaining bidders — Accenture, Hewlett-Packard, KPMG Consulting, Logica, PA and Siemens — have been shortlisted to two firms.

Speaking to siliconrepublic.com, Ryan says that because there are three major stakeholders involved — the Departments of Finance, Taoiseach and Social and Family Affairs — Reach cannot make any significant decisions affecting the PSB without getting sign-off from the three departments.

A rift between the Department of Finance and Reach on the costing and the management of the project has also contributed to its problems.

Reach is in discussion with several departments on a range of customer services for inclusion in the phase one launch of the broker. The General Register Office may use the PSB for life event certificate requests; the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment for work permits; the Department of Agriculture for animal importation licences; the Revenue Commissioners for tax clearance certificates; the Department of Environment and Local Government for motor tax renewal and related transactions; the Department of Education and Science for looking up exam results and the Civil Service and Local Appointments Commission for public sector job applications.

Siliconrepublic.com understands that the customer services launch list is not closed and departments are invited to nominate further services with the broker in 2003.

By Lisa Deeney

More on the troubled history of the PSB in this week’s Digital Ireland — out Thursday, 19 December in the Irish Independent.