Rate Collection Agency – Northern Island

Following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed and troubled projects from around the world.

Rate Collection Agency – Northern Island
Project name :
Date : Jun 2008 Cost :$260M USD

Synopsis :
Problems with local property tax (“property rates”) collection system result in $260M worth of payments going uncollected.  Calculation errors result in one person receiving a disability allowance of £2.9M.  System lacked basic functions such as the ability to send late payment notices or initiating collection proceedings if payment not received.  Audit and internal control functions serious compromised resulting in serious fraud concerns.

Contributing factors as reported in the press and official enquiries :
Poor requirements specifications, missing requirements, problems migrating data from legacy systems, pressure to deploy the system before adequate testing had been completed.

In addition, significant changes in rate collection policies / procedures were made concurrently with the project. The concurrent efforts left insufficient time for the necessary changes to be built into the new system before planned production release.

Reference links :

  1. IT failure ’causes £130m arrears’
  2. General Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General Northern Island

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