NSW government plots ICT reform agenda

The NSW Government has set an ambitious goal to “Establish a common approach to information management and standards” across the state public sector by Q3 2013.

This will be the task of the NSW Department of Finance and Services which has also been set a deadline of Q4 2013 to “Establish a standard information architecture approach for use across government.” The NSW government’s annual ICT budget is around $A2 billion.

The NSW Government ICT Strategy 2012 (Click HERE to view), also discusses introduction of more mobile applications, opening up delivery of government data in realtime, and development of a private cloud.

This strategy document from the O’Farrell Liberal government follows a report it commissioned after winning government in 2011 that severely criticised the workings of the state's public sector.

The report by Dr Kerry Schott found a succession of agency amalgamations under the former Labor government had resulted in a dysfunctional environment.

The report highlighted the merger of six agencies into the NSW Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services 'cluster, “which now has six different payroll, ICT and finance systems being operated across six different administrative centres.”

The audit found it has no common IT networks, email platform, intranet, policies or websites, document tracking and filing and management systems or ministerial liaison processes.

''In the past, many dedicated people have worked to deliver services by navigating through and around cumbersome structures and unnecessary barriers,'' it says.

A spokesman for the Department of Finance said the disparate approach to infrastructure and the use of services had resulted from “empire-building”

“The strategy won’t define you use this product. It’s not about being proscriptive it’s about being flexible. Once upon a time we could be proscriptive and what that ended up with was people pooling equipment as opposed to the most effective use of it and the most effective delivery of services.

“It was all about Let's just buy equipment and then hammer the square peg into a round hole about how we use it to deliver services. This way it’s all about what’s the services, who do we do with this and then think about where do we get it from.”

NSW Minister for Finance and Services Greg Pearce said, “We want to make NSW the leader in ICT and this strategy sets us on the course to do just that,” Mr Stoner said.

“It has been developed by some of the best minds in ICT in the NSW Government the private sector, including our digital economy taskforce, and the community who have come together to pave the way for NSW into the future,” he said.

“We are committed to making it easier for NSW citizens to interact with Government, to harnessing the opportunities provided by ICT to improve Government operations and to developing the ICT industry in NSW.”

“Importantly, there is no additional money in the strategy as we aim to reduce unnecessary and ineffective expenditure on the applications, hardware and technologies used by Government in its day-to-day operations.