Despite Professor Shergold’s call for more diversity within the senior ranks of the Australian Public Service (APS), the first five changes to Chief Information Officer positions in 2016 have overwhelmingly been populated by senior executives from within the APS.
In his recently released report, Learning from Failure: Why large government policy initiatives have gone so badly wrong in the past and how the chances of success in the future can be improved, Shergold encourages the APS to recognize diversity by opening itself up to a wider set of perspectives from the private and the community sectors.
In order to achieve this, he recommends a more ‘permeable’ APS, which encourages staff to move in and out of public service so to increase awareness about the private market and innovations outside of government.
“The challenge for the APS is that, for all its heterogeneity, it can remain inward-looking. It can become too comfortable with its own way of doing things. Diversity – in the sense of welcoming the views of the private and community sectors – needs to be enhanced,” states the report.
However, the only private sector CIO appointment at the federal level in 2016 so far has been at the Australian Taxation Office, with former Accenture executive Ramez Katf assuming the role on a permanent basis. Jane King, who was interim CIO between November 2014 and December 2015, has now become Deputy Commissioner of the ATO’s new Design and Change Management division.
Katf was previously Accenture’s Products ANZ client service group lead, and has held various other client roles during his more than 29 year career including as account lead for the ATO. He is expected to play an important role driving forward the ATO’s digital transformation and is described by Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan as a “problem fixer”, according to Fairfax.
Michael Hirschfeld is currently acting as First Assistant Secretary of the Information, Technology and Workplace Division at the Department of Finance, replacing former Chief Information Officer Roze Frost, who took her leave in August 2015. Hirschfeld has a long APS ICT background, holding various senior positions at Finance, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Taxation Office. He was most recently responsible for Finance’s Planning, Property and Construction Portfolio, according to his LinkedIn.
Nathan Heeney is acting CIO at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet following the departure of Radi Kovacevic. Kovacevic has been appointed as deputy head of GOV.AU at the Digital Transformation Office, according to a DTO spokesperson.
Matthew Boyley has returned to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science after a short period at the Attorney-General’s Department. ICT Development Branch General Manager Neil Kinsella had been acting CIO since Boyley left for the Attorney-General’s Department in September, according to his LinkedIn.
Former Executive Director of Client Services at the Family Court of Australia Stephen Andrew took up the AGD CIO role in mid-February, according to a spokesperson.
Making the APS more ‘businesslike’
In an attempt to realise Shergold’s vision of an adaptive, agile public sector, APS Commissioner John Lloyd has reportedly begun working with HR experts from private sector heavyweights such as Qantas, ANZ and Telstra to reform public sector management by making it more businesslike, according to The Australian.
“We’ve got to be looking not just at what public sectors are doing, but what we can drag out of the private sector… In certain areas I think the private sector’s leading companies are at the leading edge of implementing change, of how they’re implementing IT, of their personal practices, and there’s so much we can learn from that,” Lloyd has previously said.