The Queensland Government will focus on delivering cost-effective and efficient services through four key ICT initiatives in 2011, according to the Department of Public Works.
The initiatives, which aim to increase cost and service efficiency, are part of Queensland’s five-year ICT strategic plan Toward Q2 through ICT and will be the focus of ICT policy implementation in 2011. Ideally, the measures will increase the economic viability of government agencies, which are in the process of recovering from several natural disasters earlier in the year.
‘The need for smarter, more economical ways of doing things has never been greater as all agencies and areas of government continue to support the state’s rebuilding program following the natural disasters that struck earlier in the year’, Executive Director of the ICT Policy and Coordination Office Alan Chapman recently stated in a Queensland Government newsletter.
The Government will achieve its goals by embarking on a shared utility services approach to reduce unnecessary costs generated by the diverse hardware and infrastructure solutions used by agencies.
This is in line with the goals of the refresh of the Towards Q2 strategy, released in late-2010, which suggested the Government would look to consolidate desktop support into a whole-of-government managed services arrangement.
Similarly, a strategy will be created to streamline agencies disparate, agency-specific unified communications solutions.
The Department will also advance its ‘one-stop-shop’ approach by promoting greater awareness of the Queensland Government’s one phone number and website, thereby streamlining citizens’ access to government services.
Such an initiative resembles several current government ICT policy announcements at both State and Federal levels, with the promotion of a ‘one-stop-shop’ or ‘tell-us-once’ approach recognised as a key mechanism for increasing efficiency.
The Federal Department of Finance and Deregulation commissioned Deloitte in May 2011 to facilitate user-centric, ‘tell-us-once’ online service delivery model, with recent statistics from the ATO indicating that only 3% of clients are utilising face-to-face service delivery models. NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell also suggested at this year’s CeBIT Conference that he would seek to implement “a new internet web portal entirely focussed around the customer and their needs”.
Increasing the effectiveness and accountability of agencies’ recordkeeping practices will also be on the agenda in 2011. Aimed at increasing citizens’ access to Government information, the initiative replicates the Federal Government’s Freedom of Information Publication Scheme (IPS), which requires agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 to publish a broad range of information on their websites.
The Queensland Government’s ICT implementation was given a mixed report card this week with Queensland Auditor General Glenn Poole saying that, while some improvements have been made in troublesome areas such as the Queensland Health payroll, more efficient management of information technology projects is needed in order to achieve the full range of benefits ICT has to offer.
While project management could be improved, the integral role of ICT in achieving cost reduction and also providing more effective service delivery has been recognised in Queensland’s 2011-12 Budget. Intermedium’s initial analysis of the Budget reveals healthy allocations for numerous ICT projects in the coming financial year, especially in the area of frontline service delivery. Investment in eHealth, hospitals and emergency services’ technology, among others, are expected to rival last year’s $1.03 billion in ICT allocations.
Queensland’s Towards Q2 through ICT strategy was released in 2009 and focuses on creating an accessible, efficient and effective government ICT culture and fostering a strong industry/government partnership.