United Daily News: Problems exposed by computer system's glitches
Central News Agency
2014-02-16 03:28 PM
The glitches which plagued the country's new computerized household registration system have not yet been fully repaired, in spite of days of urgent work by computer crews, and Hsieh Ai-ling, chief of the Department of Household Registration under the Ministry of the Interior, has been reassigned to another post to take responsibility for the breakdown. The new household registration computer system, which was upgraded under a program presided over by four interior ministers over a ten year period, ran into snags the first day it was put into operation, and it was only natural for Hsieh, who had been head of the Household registration Department for ten years, to take the blunt of the responsibility. However, we have to caution that the transfer of Hsieh will not address the problem of the inactivity, or work-to-rule attitude of many civil servants. The are many reasons which led to the problem, the most notable one being that the Household Registration Department, which is in charge of the program, is not familiar with computer technology, while the information crew in the Interior Ministry was excluded from it. Also, the upgrading program was divided into three contracts and awarded, at different time, to three contractors. The contractors didn't consult with each other while working on their own part of the program. Although the Department of the Household Registration said the new system had undergone 12 test runs before being put into operation, none of the tests were performed on a full scale, and the department made a big mistake by closing the old system, which was aged but still working, and switching to the new one. Although the three contractors won their contracts in public biddings, one of them was a newcomer who has won more than 100 computer-related projects from the government since it's establishment one year and three months ago. That company's success lies in its founder's complete knowledge of the government's acquisition procedure, but its poor job in carrying out its contracts have forced several government agencies to disqualify it from bid for any new contracts. The software for the new computer system was provided by another contractor, which was chaired by a former legislator and has won more than 400 government projects in four years. Many of these contracts have been won in biddings with no competitors. The administration has put much effort into streamlining itself in the last couple of years, but these efforts won't get anywhere if it doesn't change many civil servants' work-to-rule attitudes and encourage them to become more active in carrying out their jobs. (Editorial abstract-Feb, 16, 2014) (By Maubo Chang)
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