Learning Management and Business Reform Program

The Learning Management and Business Reform (LMBR) program was established in 2006 to improve service delivery to schools, corporate staff and TAFE NSW.

Some parts of the three major components of the LMBR program have been delivered to different areas of the Department of Education and Communities. However, complete implementation is behind schedule and over budget, and the Department has yet to demonstrate that it will achieve the expected benefits.

LMBR over time and budget

The LMBR program was expected to be completed by December 2014 at a total cost of $483 million.

The Department expects that it will have spent a total of $573 million on the LMBR program by the 30 June 2015 and not have fully implemented the program. The Department needs to allocate significant additional funding from its budget to implement the HR/payroll system to corporate areas and the 229 pilot schools, and fully implement LMBR to the remaining 2,000 schools.

“The major causes of the cost increases and delays have been changes in business requirements and scope, high level of uncertainty in business cases, weaknesses in governance and insufficient program and contract management,” said the Auditor-General.

"The Department also underestimated the support schools needed to successfully implement LMBR," he added.

Benefits not being realised

The Department has not effectively managed the planned outcomes and benefits for the LMBR program. Importantly, it cannot accurately report on the value of the benefits achieved.

In 2012, the estimated value of the benefits was $139.2 million per year. In 2014, the Department commenced a review indicating that stakeholders and business owners believe many of the expected benefits are currently not achievable, and the value of benefits may be as low as $26.3 million per year. For both estimates, the Department has not been able to demonstrate that benefits are achievable, as it has not validated the quantity, value or type of benefits.

Governance and program management not effective

The governance and program management for the LMBR program have not been fully effective. This is despite the Department investing significant time and resources into developing the governance and program management arrangements for the program.

Governance groups have not always had the right people or information to effectively oversee activities and make informed decisions. Financial reporting was limited until mid-2013 when a financial oversight committee and improved financial reporting were introduced. The Department has not always adequately addressed the concerns raised by the independent quality and assurance advisors.

“The LMBR program has faced all the inherent difficulties expected when managing a large-scale, long-term and complex program with diverse business requirements and complex commercial arrangements,” said the Auditor-General.

“For large, long-term and complex IT projects work should be segmented so that deliverables are achieved and benefits commence accruing within a three-year timeframe,” he added.

Further Information

Please contact Barry Underwood on 9275 7220 or 0403 073 664; email barry.underwood@audit.nsw.gov.au