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Gershon Review of Federal ICT: Some Speculation

by Tim Conway •
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The terms of reference given to Sir Peter Gershon are a generous canvas over which he can make findings and recommendations.

Given the limited time and resources available, what is Sir Peter Gershon most likely recommend as part of his report? We might find guidance in the work that he has done in the UK, and equally in the statements of Minister Tanner leading up to and announcing the review.

The Government’s concerns boil down to:

  • High levels of expenditure
  • Project “failures”
  • Lack of procurement leverage
  • Multiplicity and duplication
  • Lack of coordination and central expertise

In this case there is evidence to suggest that many of the answers already exist, but simply need to be better coordinated and executed.

For example, the Gateway Review process initiated by the previous Government can minimise project risks where implemented correctly. Furthermore, AGIMO’s ICT Investment Framework sets out a logical planning model. Applying stronger accountability and governance to both of these, perhaps even through new Finance Regulations, could therefore start to address the first two concerns.

Maximising procurement leverage and reducing duplication have models in other Australian jurisdictions that could be considered. While it is unlikely that a procurement model as centralised as NSW will be adopted, the Victorian shared services model might be of consideration.

Finally, the issue of coordination and central expertise. What structure might address this? Given Gershon’s pivotal role in the establishment of the Office of Government Commerce in the UK, it would come as no surprise if this type of structure was at least contemplated.

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