TORONTO – The PricewaterhouseCoopers interim report on the Social Assistance Management System (SAMS) released today confirms a lot of what OPSEU has been saying about this disaster, said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
“While the language is technical and carefully guarded, it identifies terrible communication throughout the implementation of the $240 million IBM computer,” he said.
“But more importantly, it is clear that the PwC study was not even asked to look into whether SAMS is an appropriate program to improve the delivery of social assistance in Ontario. “Assessment of the overall system and of the performance of SAMS is beyond the scope of the study, and will not be mentioned even in the final report expected at the end of April.
“And it is not looking into an assessment of the project’s performance from the beginning, Thomas said.
“All the study really deals with is the effectiveness – more accurately the lack thereof – of the transition to a new computer system that we know has been an unmitigated disaster for the staff who are lumbered with the program and the vulnerable clients they are doing their best to serve.”
Given the scope of the problems that have arisen since this nightmare was launched last fall – and given the millions of “one time only” dollars thrown to municipalities to help with their ballooning costs, we would have hoped that the consultants would have been asked to see whether SAMS was a direction Ontario should have embarked on in the first place, he said.
“Instead they tell us things like people have concerns that front line staff may have reached their limits for change; that they are concerned over the lack of training, and they want to see changes to make their worklife better.
“The report says that capacity and training ‘are areas requiring attention,’” he said. “Well, duh! The front line staff have been saying that since November, and it would not have cost the government $300,000 to listen to them.”
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