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Data migration issues delay roll-out of new planning IT scheme

Words: Roger Milne
Delayed / Overearth, Shutterstock_1767228731

Data migration issues look certain to delay the introduction of Northern Ireland’s new IT planning system, originally expected to be phased in from late 2021 to early 2022. Roll-out will be some months later.

In a recent letter to chief executives of the 10 local authorities involved in the project and seen by The Planner, Julie Thompson, a deputy secretary in the Department for Infrastructure said, “there are still some significant challenges in delivering the new planning IT system”.

She explained: “One of these key challenges is data migration and in particular the extraction and transfer of data from the NI Planning Portal to the new IT system, given the significant bespoke nature of the NIPP and the legacy nature of the data.

“Despite best endeavours, unfortunately this work has not progressed as quickly as planned and will have an impact on the overall timetable for the new IT system.”

She said that TerraQuest, the company contracted to deliver the new IT system, estimated that these delays would “push out” the time for full implementation of the new IT system until spring 2022.

She also stressed that no decisions had yet been taken over which councils would be in the first and second phases of the roll-out.

In a statement sent to The Planner a DfI spokesperson insists: “The joint project team are continuing to work closely with the supplier to deliver the new planning IT system next year.

“The team has made good progress in recent months to extract the data from the NI Planning Portal and this has now been transferred to the new supplier.

“The team and the supplier are also working with all the councils to agree how best to implement the new IT system, but no decision has been taken on the timing for individual councils.”

Updating the IT system has an overall price tag of £14 million. One NI council, Mid Ulster, decided not to participate in the joint initiative and is going it alone using IT services company IDOX

The council told The Planner: “At this point, the financial arrangements are considered to be commercially sensitive. However, we can confirm that the cost will be significantly lower than the participation in the 10-council planning portal system. It is anticipated the new system will go live in early 2022.”

The contract was awarded to TerraQuest in June 2020.

Read more:

Mid Ulster goes it alone over new planning IT system

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