Skip to main content

NSW Coalition Government's ICT Governance Plan mixes old with new

by Staff Writers •
Subscriber preview

As it emerges from its ‘first 100 days’, the NSW Coalition Government has announced an ICT governance model which has a number of similarities to the model proposed by the then Department of Services, Technology and Administration (DSTA) in December 2010. 

Finance and Services Minister Greg Pearce announced the new structure for NSW public sector IT leadership on 7 July 2011, the main elements of which are the:

  • Formation of an ICT Board to be made up of the Directors-General of key NSW agencies;
  • Establishment an ICT Advisory Panel; and
  • Formation of an ICT Leadership Board to support the ICT Board. 

In December 2010, the then Department of Services Technology and Administration (now Finance and Services or DFS) outlined to Intermedium plans for the structural reform of the GCIO, in response to the findings of an external review conducted by Ernst & Young. The proposed changes included:

  • The establishment of an ICT Control Board at the Director-General level;
  • An ICT Advisory Panel made up of industry experts;
  • A CIO Executive Network which would replace the existing CIO Executive Council; and
  • The structural separation of GCIO staff into strategic and operational functions.

Owing to the proximity of the proposed changes to the state election, only the last reform was implemented prior to the change of government.

The disbanding of the Government Chief Information Office (GCIO) and the CIO Executive Council broadly coincided with the departure of Government Chief Information Officer, Emmanuel Rodriguez. 

Michael Coutts-Trotter assumed the role of Government CIO when he took over as Director-General of DFS in April.  Pearce's announcement does not indicate whether Coutts-Trotter retains the CIO role under the new model, however as Director-General of Finance and Services, he will be Chair of the ICT Control Board.

In one of the key differences between the two models, the ICT Control Board announced as part of the December reforms was to be constituted as a sub-group of the State Contracts Control Board (SCCB). This, however, is not the case under the Pearce model.

Instead, the soon-to-be-established ICT Board will be made up of the Directors-General of seven of the nine departmental clusters.

 “The Board will be responsible for setting NSW ICT priorities, monitoring major NSW ICT Government projects and providing high level visibility of agency compliance with agreed objectives and targets” said Pearce in a media statement.

 “The Board’s first task will be the development of the NSW Government ICT strategy,” he said.

Attorney-General and Justice and Family and Community Services (FACS) are the only clusters which will not be represented on the Board. This is despite the former having portfolio oversight for the increasingly technology-dependent Police and Emergency Services agencies and the politically sensitive FACS being heavily reliant on ICT systems to support its case workload for children at risk, amongst other key client groups.

The inclusion of Deputy Directors-General, alongside Super Department level CIOs into the ICT Leadership Board represents another major departure from the December model which instead mooted a CIO Executive Network.

The role of the ICT Leadership Board is to make the Coalition’s ICT Strategy (to be established by the ICT Board) an operational reality. The Leadership Board will be made up of a CIOand a Deputy Director-General from each of the nine departmental clusters. 

The Coalition has also elected to keep the concept of an ICT Advisory Panel first tabled by DSTA.

“The ICT Advisory Panel will consist of industry experts ensuring that prevailing and emerging technologies are effectively aligned with agency and whole of government objectives. The Panel’s independent chair will report to the ICT Board,” said Pearce. 

According IT News, membership of the panel will be decided through a competitive process and industry members have been invited to register their interest at

The predecessor to the CIO Executive Network, the CIO Executive Council, oversaw the development and implementation of the State’s previous ICT strategy, People First, which was viewed as having mixed success.  Placing ICT under the direct oversight of Directors-General should better align ICT projects with government objectives and placing CIOs as well as Deputy Director-Generals on the ICT Leadership Board will ensure CIOs will have a strong voice on operational ICT issues in the NSW Government, including procurement.

ICT Board:

(While members of the board have not been named by the minister, the positions listed as forming the group are filled by the following people)

  • Chair:Michael Coutts-Trotter (Finance and Services)
  • Chris Eccles (Premier and Cabinet)
  • Michael Schur (Treasury)
  • Pam Christie (Education and Communities)
  • Mary Foley (Health)
  • Mark Paterson (Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services)
  • Les Wielinga (Transport)

Monthly meetings of the Board will also include the Chair of the ICT Advisory Panel and a nominated CIO from the ICT Leadership Group, neither of whom will have a vote.


Related Articles:

Abolition of NSW GCIO role makes way for Super Department CIOs

NSW ministers choose innovation over cut price “widgets” at ICT Forum

New Broom to ICT Decision Making Sweeps NSW

CIO Kerry Holling to leave NSW Department of Family & Community Services

Already a subscriber? Sign in here to keep reading

Want more content like this? Contact our team today for subscription options!

  • Stay up-to-date on hot topics in government
  • Navigate your business with executive level horizon outlooks
  • Get deep public sector ICT insights on our Market Watch series
  • NSW
  • Policy
  • DFS
  • DSTA
  • GCIO
  • Greg Pearce
  • Michael Coutts-Trotter
  • NSW ICT Strategy