Queensland government turns to Dynamics 365 for child safety system

The Queensland government is preparing to replace the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women’s Integrated Client Management System (ICMS) with a new cloud-based platform.

The ICMS is the core system used by the department to deliver frontline services. The new ICMS will be based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and hosted in Azure, with tender documents issued by the department stating that it will enable “more efficient and seamless delivery of child safety and youth justice services”.

A 2014-15 report from the Queensland Audit Office (QAO) identified a number of failings by the state’s former Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services when it came to protecting child safety information.

Limitations of the department’s case management system meant that although good security controls were in place, data was frequently exported into spreadsheets, the QAO found. There were also problems relating to updating user access rights for systems, sharing sensitive information via email, and the ability for sensitive information to be downloaded onto removable media.

Last month the QAO released a follow-up report covering the efforts by the department’s successor mdash; the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women mdash; to better manage child safety information.

The report concluded that although the department had taken some steps towards addressing the underlying issues identified in the 2014-2015 audit, there remained a number of shortcomings, including around security.

The QAO in its report acknowledged the planned roll out of the new ICMS but noted that it would involve “considerable effort and investment” and is not expected to be fully implemented until June 2023.

The department this week officially launched an invitation to offer (ITO) process, seeking partners for the ICMS implementation.

The department in 2015 launched the program to replace the ICMS. A detailed business case received the blessing of the department’s program board in February 2019, with the government signing off on funding for a first tranche of work.

ITO documents state the ICMS program mdash; dubbed Unify mdash; will deliver “an integrated human and social services ICT system using a shared client and case management Platform” based on Dynamics 365 Work on rolling out the new platform is expected to being in July, with the department planning a staged rollout.

The department is seeking partners to help deliver five categories of services: Business design, system implementation, testing, data management, change management, and 'innovation services'.

The first phase will focus on delivering functionality not available from the existing ICMS. The department expects to sign contracts in late August.

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