Millions to be spent chasing missing millions

Rob Long
Phil Chadwick

TAFE Organisers

The Baird Government is to spend a further $5.86 million over its flawed LMBR student administration and enrolment software, the engine built for its Smart and Skilled privatisation policy.

In December 2015, the NSW Audit Office reported: “Serious system limitations prevented TAFE NSW from providing sufficient and appropriate evidence to support record student revenue of $477 million, student receivables and accrued income of $47.6 million and unearned revenue of $398 million.”

Consultants KPMG have now been tasked to “produce complete and accurate revenue and revenue related financial balances for TAFE NSW” in time for the 2016 audit, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on March 13.

Smart and Skilled, which has resulted in 3600 teacher redundancies, has seen a significant transfer of public money to private vocational education and training providers at the expense of TAFE.

More than $587 million has reportedly already been spent on the software system, developed by a vendor, and now more money is headed for the private sector.

More than 1100 TAFE administration staff have been made redundant as a consequence of the Smart and Skilled policy. Could it be that these staff formed a necessary part of administering the enrolment process?

Since the software was introduced Federation has been inundated with calls from TAFE teachers complaining of work overload and distress. TAFE enrolments were thrown into chaos in early 2015.

EBS, the TAFE software, is a complex, flawed system introduced with minimal training for staff. The Minister must ensure that genuine errors or mistakes made by staff should not result in bullying, adverse consequences or disciplinary action.

Federation calls on the Minister to continue the promised additional clerical support to teachers and head teachers and demand major improvements or introduction of a new system without any extra workload for our members.