California puts monumental IT failure out of its misery

The US state's court IT system, on which it has so far spent 10 years and half a billion dollars, has finally been terminated

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California puts monumental IT failure out of its misery

The state of California has terminated a project to develop a new IT system for its law courts after spending 10 years and half a billion dollars on the scheme.

The project, which was intended to create a single, bespoke case management system for every court in the state, was contracted to Deloitte Consulting in 2003. Originally the estimated cost of the project was $260 million, but by 2010 it had increased to $1.9 billion.

After 10 years and over $500 million of investment, the California Judicial Council has voted unanimously to terminate the project.

According to the Sacramento Bee newspaper, preliminary tests for the system have been completed. However, it would take another $120 million over two years to deploy the system.

The gross mismanagement of the project was exposed in an audit in February last year. It found that the contract with Deloitte had been amended 102 times since it was first signed, which itself had cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

"We've seen nothing but incompetence from the start to where we are today,” said Judge Tia Fisher of the state's Joint Legislative Audit Committee at the time.

Yesterday, Judiciary Council member Judge David Rosenberg said that "I think the new vision is to allow the 58 trial courts to develop their own case management systems", the Courthouse News Service reported.

In April last year, Deloitte was fined for failing to disclose payments to a lobbyist who had promoted the benefits of the new shared IT system to politicians, the court service and judges.