The savings generated by the new service-delivery system make it possible to subsidize an entire series of new programs, many of which target youth both at home and in schools. The Saint John region now has a training program for its clients valued at $3 to $4 million. Program management partnerships have also been formed with community groups. The severance pay plan created during the project provided the model that the provincial government uses for the entire public service.
A/A also benefits from a computer system maintenance contract that earns it $5 million a year. The 17 programmers assigned to the main office are in charge of the computer network, infrastructure, and system applications.
Despite its success, the project received negative media coverage, which marred its reputation. First of all, the Opposition parties pursued a strategy of trying to convince the public that the McKenna government’s agenda was purely economic and that the government was insensitive to social issues. The media then got hold of information about a dozen lawsuits brought against Andersen/Accenture in both the United States and Europe over failed projects. And in Canada, the federal government cancelled a $44.5-million Public Works contract because of major delays and failure to attain objectives. In New Brunswick, there was the failed attempt to transform the Department of Justice. All these problems tarnished the firm’s reputation. Finally, there were the poorly timed statements by senior A/A officials describing the delays in delivering cheques to financial assistance beneficiaries as negligible. Nonetheless, the success of the Alliance for Change enabled the firm to land a $200-million contract for a similar project in Ontario.
Despite these occasional problems with the media, the Alliance for Change project is considered a tremendous success. It not only brought about the reorganization of a department, but also fostered a change of culture with respect to social benefits and income-assistance services.