Officials wanted to replace a $34 million computerised social security payment system with a $285 million one after just 10 months. In March 1994, the Social Welfare Department spent $34 million replacing a 10-year-old payment system to handle a growing workload. But officials wanted to replace the system again at a cost of $285 million in January 1995 as it could not handle the volume of work. They finally received the funding go-ahead in November last year and the new system is scheduled to start operating in October 2000. Yesterday, the Auditor's Report attributed the problem to a lack of planning. The absence of senior staff in the project steering group and lack of consultation with other department users were also to blame, the report said. Director of Social Welfare Andrew Leung Kin-pong said the $34 million system met requirements at the time. Secretary for the Treasury Denise Yue Chung-yee agreed that system design should be constantly reviewed.