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Introducing the $6,452, ICT-enabled, modern public servant

by Paris Cowan •
Free resource

They make up roughly 11 per cent of all the State’s workers, so chances are we all know a NSW public servant.

According to the latest employee census, there are 329,897 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) government staff working in the First State, making it the biggest public service in Australia by a considerable margin.

Just over 30 per cent of these government employees work in health. Their median age is 45 years; their median salary is $72,137; they are more likely to be male than female; and they will spend an average of ten years working for the State Government.

A good portion of them are probably called David.

This was the most popular name to give male Australian-born babies in the 1960s (45 years ago), at an average of 2,423 for each year of the decade.

More importantly for the ICT industry, however, the State spends an average of $6,452 on ICT for each of these public servants, according to ICT Benchmarking conducted by the NSW Treasury for the 2009-10 financial year.

In 2009-10 NSW maintained 1.2 desktop devices (PC, laptop or thin client) for each public servant. Each PC cost an average of $370 for the year, compared to $385 for each laptop and $233 for each thin client device. Employees were 6 times more likely to work from a desktop computer than a laptop.

On average each printer operated by the government was shared by 7.8 FTE employees. However taking non-office-based staff out of the picture left an average of just 3.2 FTE for each machine.

291,982 employees used a fixed line telephone to conduct their work and 51,640 used a mobile. Each made an average of $288 worth of calls over the 12 month period.

In 2009-10, 6,024 NSW FTE public servants were employed in ICT roles. Of these, 1,247, or 21 per cent, were external staff such as ICT contractors. On this metric, NSW comes remarkably close to its Federal counterpart, whose own ICT Benchmarking shows that it has achieved an 80:20 split between internal and external ICT staff as of 30 June 2011, following three years of a whole-of-government push to convert contractors to more cost-effective permanent staff.

No such contractor reduction target has ever been on the agenda in NSW, possibly because it’s external staff are statistically cheaper than those working for Canberra.

In NSW, each external ICT employee cost an average of $169,510 per annum compared to $108,768 for each internal employee in 2009-10, a difference of $60,742. At the Federal level, 2007-08 figures reveal a starker margin. ICT contractors cost on average $186,000 per annum, compared to nearly half that, or $94,000 per annum for FMA Act agency ICT staff, a difference of $92,000.

Also like the Federal Government, rates of ICT expenditure in NSW are top-heavy. The three top-spending agencies in this category account for 62.5 per cent of spending overall, which was $2.06 billion in 2009-10.

Responsibility for annual ICT Benchmarking in NSW has since been passed onto the Department of Finance and Services (DFS), which says that work on 2010-11 figures is currently underway.

Related Articles:

Results out on use of ICT contractors in Australian Government

Schott Report: NSW needs a new Budget Management System

New ICT funding down in conservative NSW Budget

  • NSW
  • Hardware
  • Treasury
  • Gershon Review
  • ICT Benchmarking
  • ICT Contractors
  • PSI