The ACT 2011-12 Budget has revealed $35 million in ICT funding for the consolidation of its Public Service into a single department in 2011 in order to facilitate more efficient and collaborative service provision as part of the ‘One ACT Government – One ACT Public Service’ project.
The project features a strong ICT component, which includes the establishment of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) position, a data and knowledge management strategy, and a single ACT government web portal. Removing legislative and technical barriers to sharing information between directorates will also be a focus of the ACT Public Service (ACTPS) consolidation.
The new model is based on the recommendations of the ‘Governing the City State: One ACT Government – One ACT Public Service’ Report by Allan Hawke (‘the Hawke Report’), released in February 2011. According to Budget Papers, ‘a single Public Service will be more flexible, more collaborative and more connected. It will facilitate new approaches to delivering services’.
Under the review, all administrative units in the ACT Public Service (ACTPS) will abolished and streamlined into a single Chief Minister’s Department, which will function as a ‘large and powerful’ centre for the agency. Eight directorates will also be established and will each report to the Chief Minister: Treasury, Community Services, Economic Development, Education and Training, Health, Justice and Community, Sustainable Development, and Territory and Municipal Services.
ACT’s Budget includes a number of initiatives directed at implementing the ‘One ACT Government – One ACT Public Service’ reforms. The projects include the ‘Establishment of a Government Information Office’ in order to optimise ICT investment. The initiative, which is allocated $297,000 in 2011-12 and approximately $300,000 per year until 2014-15, will establish the position of CIO who will aid in the formulation of an ICT strategy and complete preliminary work on a knowledge management framework.
Currently, each agency has its own intranet, website, workflow systems and document management frameworks. By establishing a whole of government knowledge management approach, the methods by which information is stored and shared will be streamlined and service delivery improved.
A single ACT Government web portal will also be implemented, acting as the ‘single public face’ of the ACTPS.
The ‘ACT Gov 2.0: Exploring Opportunities for Electronic Service Delivery’ initiative, allocated $125,000 in 2011-12, will support a scoping exercise to examine innovative service development opportunities and enhance ICT.
The ACTPS wishes to enhance interaction between governments, government agencies and the citizenry through the use of Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis and social networking platforms. According to the Hawke Report, through these Web 2.0 tools, the ACT government also aims to provide greater access to government information: ‘by harnessing the collaborative and innovative nature of the web, the ACTPS can provide innovative solutions to policy problems and enhance the ability to measure performance and be accountable’
The ‘ACTPS Performance and Accountability and Evaluation Implementation’ project will support policies and provide a foundation for a whole of government performance and analysis function in the Chief Minister’s Directorate. The initiative has been allocated approximately $350,000 per year out to 2014-2015.
Then-ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope announced that the ACTPS would be established as a single agency in late-March 2011, with the consolidations set to be completed by 1 July 2011.
Mr. Stanhope resigned as Chief Minister on 10 May 2011, and is expected to be replaced by his deputy, Katy Gallagher.
A comprehensive view of the ICT components of the ACT State Budget 2011-12 is available in Intermedium’s Budget IT tool.