IT budget blows out amid legal threats at The West

The board is a bit of an old boys club and features no-one with any newspaper experience.

The West was one of the last major newspapers in the world to create a website which suggested it was being run by IT luddites.

Now an insider at The Worst has emailed with this account of an IT stuff up that has cost millions and sent staff morale tumbling.

Crikey ran for the WA News board last but received no support from major institutional shareholders such as Perpetual Trustees. We’re not sure if this is because Richard Court’s colorful brother Ken Court is on the Perpetual Board or because Perpetual director Warwick Kent also sits on the WA News board.

Whatever the case, the following revelations are something where institutional shareholders should be putting some pressure on the board to find out what is going on.

Trouble in the West Australian Newspaper
By a West Insider

It seems that a highly experienced business and IT consultant has written a report that only a few people have seen.

The report questions why a multi-million dollar IT budget is managed by people who have no IT qualifications, experience or management skills and raises a number of serious ongoing problems.

When the report was delivered to the CEO and the CIO, apparantly the CIO gave a copy of it the the IT manager who immediately started personal legal action against the consultant to stop the report being aired.

And why the IT manager want to stop that report? It allegedly contains damning information about major cost overruns, bad treatment of staff, poor IT procedures and a fat expenditure on a department that could be a third less of its size. It also details poor delivery of services into other departments of the group, failed projects and continued mismanagement.

The CIO held meetings with staff and confirmed the existence of the report (as the rumour mill was churning), confirmed the contents were valid, and that the report was being responded to. However, the CIO has refused to circulate the report and to date no one has seen it.

The response: The IT manager took three weeks off while unqualified middle managers worked at the issues. The result: Cover-up of its contents, and the IT manager came back and started to persecute the people who had come forward to air the problems. Now some key staff are resigning.

So a public company with an unqualified CIO and IT Manager mismanaging millions of dollars? What do you think?

ends

Crikey: I think it is a good issue and we’ll see what comes out of publishing it.

Peter Fray

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