Botched state school portal probed

Education and Science Minister Mārīte Seile announced Wednesday that the internal investigation report into the mismanagement and lack of supervision over the skolas.lv web portal for clients of the state education system will be passed on to law enforcement authorities for further assessment of liability of the civil servants in charge of the project’s second phase.

The investigation was launched on January 20 of this year.

The internal report reflects problems in staffing the project team, from August to October 2012 allowing for a complete lack of leadership and supervision of the project.

Of the accountable bureaucrats hired at the time to manage the project and sign all the necessary documentation for designing and receiving the IT system required for the project, none of them work for the ministry any longer.

In the meantime at the ministry there have been rotations of six ministers and three state secretaries.

At first the skolas.lv portal’s never-realized goal was to create a unified public interactive environment where anyone could glean all available information on the education process and ensure various e-services provided by the state.

Since then several private service providers are operating in the information and communication technology markets, offering precisely some of the services envisioned originally for skolas.lv, the ministry points out.

The costs of the project totaled more than €3.5 million, and represent a complete loss of state budget resources as the project never got off the ground. As so many persons have been involved in the stewardship of the process, the report conducted with the ministry’s own internal resources has been passed on to law enforcement authorities to determine the need for further investigation into possible civil liability, the minister said.

“This unfortunately is another critical case where a state agency hasn’t been able to ensure quality project management and major losses have been caused,” she said. “The fact that nobody involved with the project works at the ministry anymore again points to the low prestige of work in government administration. It results in unacceptable turnover in civil service positions, and that reflects in the quality of the work that is done,” argued Seile.

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