Sir Ian McKay to Head INCIS Inquiry

  • Bill Birch

Sir Ian McKay, currently president of the Electoral Commission and a Judge of the Court of Appeal from 1991 to 1997, has been appointed chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into INCIS, Finance Minister Sir William Birch said today.

Sir William said the other two members of the Commission of Inquiry would be Mr Gerald Hensley, former Secretary of Defence, and Dr Francis Small, managing director of Tranz Rail Limited. They would report back by 1 May 2000.

Mr Hensley, Secretary of Defence from 1991-99, was previously Coordinator, Domestic and External Security in 1987-89 and Permanent Head of the Prime Minister's Department in 1980-87.

Dr Small, managing director of Tranz Rail Limited since 1990, is also chairman of Meridian Energy Limited and the Centre for Advanced Engineering, and a director of Wisconsin Central Transportation and numerous other companies.

Sir William said INCIS had not delivered all the expected benefits on time and to budget. IBM recently paid the Government $25 million in settlement. Both parties were satisfied with that as a full, fair and final settlement of their dispute.

"It is not the task of the inquiry to reopen matters which have already been settled. That is not part of the Commission's brief. But as the Prime Minister pointed out on 26 October, the Government is determined to learn from INCIS.

"We intend to establish how well Government agencies managed their roles and accountabilities in the development of the project, and establish whether there are issues which still need to be pursued," he said.

"Ministers have agreed terms of reference for the inquiry. They will be finalised in the normal way at the next meeting of the Executive Council.

"The Commission will review the development, management and administration of the project by Police and government departments from inception to the cancellation of the contract.
"It will examine the extent to which they carried out their responsibilities in a proper and competent way, the quality of their advice, and whether they took adequate account of the information reasonably available to them at the time.

"It will investigate how far Police and departments used internal staff and external advisors appropriately, and placed appropriate reliance on external advisors.

"The Commission will establish the extent to which Police and departments contributed to the breakdown of the contract, or whether other factors led to that breakdown.

"Last but not least, the Commission will advise, based on INCIS experience, whether changes need to be made in policy and practice in managing and implementing big public sector information technology projects," Sir William said.

The Commission is authorised and empowered to conduct its inquiry in accordance with the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908, report its findings, and to make any recommendations it thinks fit in respect of those findings.