Changes in data management and the impediments to change - a case study for fruit fly surveillance

B.C. DominiakA, P.S. GillespieB and G. TomA

A NSW Department of Primary Industries, 161 Kite Street, Orange, New South Wales 2800, Australia.

B NSW Department of Primary Industries, Forest Road, Orange, New South Wales 2800, Australia.


Abstract

This paper describes technological and institutional changes in moving the monitoring of Queensland fruit fly and other pests undertaken by New South Wales Department of Primary Industries from a paper to electronic system using bar code readers. There were many difficulties encountered in the transition. Some barriers to change were technological including upgrading of hardware and software to be Y2K compliant. The more difficult concerns were human based, and included the perceived loss of data control, immediate accountability and audit ability, and the perceived declining importance of field staff in the chain of reporting. Unrelated activities such as the Departmental upgrade of personal computers and the Sydney Olympic Games also caused delays in implementation. The computer based system has greatly improved accuracy and efficiency, accountability and audit ability, and allows automatic reporting. The implementation would have been easier and faster if staff could have been dedicated to this program, rather than having the process imposed onto existing workloads.

 

Plant Protection Quarterly (2007) 22 (3) 95-99.