Auckland Council's plan to improve online access to core council services is on track, the Auditor-General has found.
The effort, to digitise 70 per cent of the council’s common transactions by the end of 2019, is on track to meet its goal with two projects reviewed delivered on time and to budget.
"Cost increases to the budget were justifiable, and the process to assess budget increases was satisfactory," Parliaments governance and administration committee reported. "Good practice was used throughout their delivery."
The effort to deliver more services online is being completed through the council’s “customer-centric transformation programme”.
The Auditor-General reviewed an identity management project to enable customers to use one login ID across all council services and a smart forms project which allows customers to access and fill in forms needed for core council services online.
There were, however, some areas of weakness and risks to the continued success of the programme, the report noted.
Council needs to improve its monitoring and reporting of the programme’s financial and non-financial benefits, as well as governance arrangements for some of the projects.
The report noted problems with the council’s reporting on the projects, including data entry errors resulted in budget increases for no reason, and “in progress” being reported as negative.
Some of the reports were also limited in scope, providing a snapshot of the projects at a point in time but not measuring performance against expectations or showing overall trends.
"The OAG considered that the errors could be attributed to simple mistakes, and noted that the council has taken steps to establish the same reporting system across the whole of the organisation," the report said. "This is expected to mitigate these problems in future."
The council also aims to track non-financial benefits more effectively in future.
The report also noted governance arrangements for the programme and the customer-friendly services focus area had become confused.
"The OAG explained that individuals acted in both management and governance roles for the project, which is not best practice.
"Additionally, the distinction between the programme and the larger focus area was not adequately understood.
"As a result, parts of the council thought that digitisation was the only element of the focus area, and were unaware of its four other goals."
As reported earlier this week, Auckland Council is also deploying robotic process automation and has built a new building inspections platform to improve the efficiency of its inspectors.