ATO’s Chris Jordan puts contractor’s brand on the line over systems outage

By Harley Dennett

Friday February 10, 2017

The era of keeping quiet when large ICT contracted services fail to meet minimum expectations is over, at least in government. Chris Jordan, commissioner of taxation, is the latest agency head to name and shame a contractor when services go down.

Most of the ATO’s systems were restored by Monday after technicians worked through the weekend to correct hardware faults that had left online services unusable for five days.

In a statement in the mop-up, Jordan took aim at the media for fanning the flames of fear that the ATO would be unable to handle this year’s tax time. He also made special mention of another target of ire:

“Initial indications are there has been a failure by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to provide contracted services in a reliable way and ensure stability of our systems,” Jordan wrote this week.

“The cause of the failures will be informed by the review led by PwC that I commissioned after the first outage in December 2016. As I said at that time, I want to know what happened in forensic detail so that we can assure the community they will not face this kind of disruption in their dealings with us, that businesses who rely on our services can go about running their business without interruption.”

Jordan says he has already met with the most senior HPE representatives in the region and corresponded with their CEO to ensure they were aware of the disruption and damage this kind of event causes. The tax commissioner reminded them of their contractual arrangements.

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