Victorian government owed up to $700m after fine system failures
Issues merging Victoria’s court fines system with the centralised fines system has led to a delay in payments for more than 100,000 fines, adding up to hundreds of millions of dollars waiting to be paid to the Victorian government.
Reports estimate the amount of outstanding fines sits as high as $700m, with 120,000 fines going unpaid.
The issue stems from the system used by Fines Victoria, called View, which has been a problem since it launched at the end of 2017.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Community Safety said people were still able to pay their fines, but that there had been an issue in merging the court fines system into View.
“Due to some complexity of merging data from the courts into the Fines Victoria system, Victorians who have not paid their court fines at the court or at a Justice Centre have not yet received a reminder notice,” the spokesperson said.
“Fines Victoria continues to work with the service provider to improve functionality with the IT system and this year there has been a significant effort on processing a high-volume of applications for enforcement reviews, nominations and payment arrangements.”
The spokesperson said people still have an obligation to pay their fines, and courts could still issue fines. People have the option to pay fines at the court on the day of issue, or at justice service centres, they said.
The Court Services Victoria chief executive, Louise Anderson, said fines were still being issued and questions should be directed to Fines Victoria.
“The issues with Fines Victoria have had minimal impact on court operations, and the courts continue to impose fines according to law. We will continue to work with Fines Victoria in the interest of a prompt resolution.”
The system has been plagued with issues since it launched.
Fines Victoria told the Victorian Ombudsman earlier this year that it was clear at the time that the system could not be launched in full at the end of 2017, and instead only core functionality would be included, with functionality to be added progressively over 2018.
But then full functionality was delayed again and again until the latest deadline in June 2019.
The View system is an off-the-shelf solution bought from Civica in September 2016 for $103.6m, as part of the state government’s centralisation of fine processing. Over 130 agencies use the system, including the courts.
The system often led to delays, with 133 people complaining to the Ombudsman between July and December last year about delays in processing fines. Fines Victoria blamed functionality issues in the View system, including some functionality being missing, forcing staff to do manual work arounds that took more time.
In the ombudsman’s report, it was estimated that as of June last year, there was a 200,000 nominations backlog in the system.