Wednesday 21 June 2023
The States of Guernsey is taking steps to address a series of recommendations made in an independent review of data room service outages which happened between November 2022 and January 2023. These steps are improving resilience and reducing the risk of a similar outage happening again.
The outages did not result in any data being lost, critical services continued to operate and service areas successfully enacted business continuity measures to limit the impact for the community. However, the outages are a matter that the States takes very seriously because of the significant inconvenience they caused for some members of the community and the challenges they created for people working across the public sector, and for this reason it commissioned an independent review, and the findings are published today.
The report includes a series of recommendations. In response, the States has put together a plan for making rapid improvements together with Agilisys.
Since late 2019, the States and Agilisys, its IT partner, have been working through a major programme of updating the IT infrastructure across the public sector, and to transform the huge number of applications introduced piecemeal by different States service areas over decades. In the previous political term, the States recognised the additional risk, cost and complexity of its IT at that stage, and supported a transformation to re-organise and modernise.
The findings in the report published today further emphasise the need for a more up-to-date and resilient IT infrastructure, and that the transformation needs to happen even more quickly.
In response to the outages, improvements such as equipment upgrades and enhanced maintenance contracts are underway. This includes air conditioning units being repaired with additional temperature sensors now in place, the installation of new generators, improved automated reporting mechanisms and more.
While the outages did not result in data loss or prevent critical services from operating, it is still essential that the work to reduce the risks and improve resilience is accelerated to maintain the high standards people rightly expect from the States of Guernsey.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache, President of the Policy & Resources Committee
"I'm pleased to be sharing these findings with the community, and the review is quite clear, there are failings we must acknowledge and actions that were missed that could have prevented these outages. The review further highlights the need for a better, more resilient IT infrastructure and that we must get there faster. We've had constructive conversations with Agilisys. Together we've put a plan in place and we are ensuring the responsibilities for every aspect of our IT are made crystal clear going forward.
The consequences of these outages could have been much more severe this does not detract from the significant challenges which were experienced across a number of government services. Now we must and are acting quickly to ensure resilience improves and we reduce the risk of another incident."
Mark de Garis, Head of the Public Service said
"Transforming our IT infrastructure is a top priority. To reduce the risk of further outages, we've accelerated the work to replace and upgrade equipment, and put comprehensive maintenance support in place. More broadly, we want to ensure our community and internal users are confident they can rely on our digital services, particularly as more and more of our interaction with public services happens online. Together with Agilisys we are following a detailed remediation plan."
Andrew Mindenhall, Agilisys Chief Executive said
"We've fully engaged with the independent review and we welcome the recommendations. Maintaining the confidence of islanders is extremely important to us all. We know outages like these are not what islanders expect and we're committed to working with the States on delivering its plan to improve resilience and mitigate the risks."