A review of the ACT government's ChooseCBR discount voucher scheme has found a more in-depth assessment of the program's web-based application may have uncovered technical issues that came to light during the scheme.
However, the review also recognised additional testing may not have exposed weaknesses in the system's database.
The review into the program also found there were faults in the project management of the scheme.
However, there was no evidence of "systemic misuse" of the program, which caused a wild three-day spending spree across Canberra's businesses.
It was also noted the program was effective at delivering economic stimulus to the territory.
Business Minister Tara Cheyne tabled the report in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, which followed a commitment earlier this year after there was considerable interest in the program.
The discount voucher scheme was rolled out in June, with the government providing $2 million of subsidised vouchers for people to spend at participating Canberra businesses.
The government had estimated it would be used within two or three months, but all the money was spent in a matter of days. It also followed an earlier three-week trial of the program where $500,000 was allocated but only $310,000 was claimed in the trial.
But the program's system was plagued with technical issues. The website was up, intermittently, for two days before it had to be sensationally taken down for one week due to an issue with the database design due to overwhelming demand.
When the website was relaunched on June 18, close to $1.6 million was spent in 24 hours.
Some businesses benefited greatly from the scheme, with the top business - Daily Market City & Gungahlin - receiving close to 2000 vouchers, amounting to more than $67,000.
But nearly 200 businesses had customers redeemed 10 or fewer vouchers.
The review, by David Butler Consulting, said that a more detailed assessment of the web application could have been undertaken.
"There was a high level threat and risk assessment undertaken of the technology to be used for ChooseCBR. If a similar review was undertaken on the broad fitness for the purpose on the web based application, this may have revealed some of the technical issues which were faced when the system was under considerable load," the report said.
"At the very least, however, greater curiosity about what happened during the pilot and an examination of what this may mean for the robustness of the data base, should have been undertaken."
However, the review also said it was difficult to say whether additional testing would have identified the cause of the problem.
The review found the government did not properly clarify the role of the project manager and said this caused issues around who was responsible for what in the delivery of the program.
"During this review, it became evident that accountability for sign off of key aspects of the delivery of the web based application itself was not clear," the report said.
Ms Cheyne said the government fully accepted the review of the program.
"I think that the review, really importantly, I think it has found that ChooseCBR was effective at delivering on the key objective of stimulating the economic activity during coming out of what had been a difficult period," she told The Canberra Times.
Ms Cheyne said the demand for the program far exceeded all expectations so it was hard to know whether extra tests of the system would have identified issues.
"The demand was just so far above and beyond what it had been in the trial, and we had worked really hard on that but we just didn't know what the ultimate outcome of that demand was going to look like," she said.
"I'm not sure if [extra testing] could have resulted in those [technical] issues being identified ... perhaps some greater load testing to reflect astronomical levels of demand and seeking that from the vendor was something that could have be done, it would have been good practice regardless."
MORE A.C.T. POLITICS NEWS:
Prior to the rollout, the ACT government was warned the scheme was susceptible to financial fraud and there were "limited mechanisms" to monitor transactions. But the review said there was no evidence of "systemic misuse".
The review did not look specifically at whether there had been fraud in the program, this was undertaken by the government following the program.
As part of this, there was spot checking that required businesses to give evidence of a representative sample of transactions. A more detailed audit was undertaken for businesses where there had been a high number of transactions or where there was unusual patterns of redemption.
"From the scrutiny undertaken of claims made during the rollout, there is no evidence of systemic misuse of the scheme by businesses or participants."
Ms Cheyne said the government still had no plans to re-introduce the scheme.
"We're seeing a V-shaped recovery in our economy, which we're incredibly pleased to see," she said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: