The ministerial changes announced by Premier Morris Iemma last week bring with them departmental and agency changes and the movement of key personnel. The changes were formally gazetted in the Special Supplement to the NSW Government Gazette (Number 47) of 2 April 2007 but most are not yet reflected in agency web sites and organisation charts.
It has been reported in the press (Sydney Morning Herald and ABC Radio) that Michael Coutts-Trotter will follow John Della Bosca to the Department of Education and Training (DET) as Director General. It is also reported that Andrew Cappie-Wood will become the new Director General of the Department of Commerce.
Cappie-Wood was head of DET when Paul Edgecumbe, now NSW Chief Information Officer, was DET’s CIO. Cappie-Wood’s public sector career, spanning a number of service delivery agencies, will have exposed him to significantly more transactional ICT than Coutts-Trotter’s. This, coupled with Capie-Wood's experience of the DET's large ICT environment and projects, as well as his prior experience of working with Edgecumbe should auger well for the NSW ICT Strategic Plan, People First.
In other changes, Iemma's restructure transferred Businesslink's functions and staff to Commerce where it has been slotted in as a business unit alongside other major business units, such as Fair Trading and State Procurement.
If the current NSW Government Directory entry is accurate, Businesslink retains its name and its management structure with John Kobal remaining as CIO. Businesslink has joined the CCSU (the other major shared corporate services unit within NSW government) at Commerce. The ICT requirements of the CCSU are the responsibility of Commerce’s CIO, Geoff Tye, so it will be interesting to see whether this arrangement remains in place following the Businesslink transfer.
The creation of the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DP&C), with the incorporation of the Cabinet Office into the previous Premier's Department is another change of relevance to the ICT industry.
The newly created Office of the Co-ordinator General, according to the Gazette Supplement, will contain a newly created Infrastructure Implementation Group (IIG). The IIG reports directly to the Director General, as does the Premier’s Delivery Unit (PDU).
The creation of the PDU was announced in Iemma’s February 2006 Economic and Financial Statement and modeled on the UK Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit. Its establishment was intended to ensure that the governance and project management of major projects was handled effectively.
The side by side positioning of these two units with a direct line of reporting to the Director General can only be interpreted as a strong determination on the part of the Iemma government to put an end to the infrastructure problems that have plagued its previous terms.
The relationship, if any between these two units and the activities of the NSW Chief Information Office, responsible for whole of government ICT issues, and in particular, the NSW ICT Strategic Plan – People First is not yet clear but may start to emerge as the new arrangements bed down.