The NSW Minister for Finance and Services, Greg Pearce, has confirmed to Intermedium that the whole-of-government shared services program initiated under the previous administration will be continued by the Coalition.
“The Government is committed to the Corporate and Shared Services Strategy. ServiceFirst will be the Government’s multi-tenanted shared service provider, with larger clusters retaining their own shared services provider arrangements,” said Pearce, referring to the 2010 Blueprint for Corporate and Shared Services.
While Pearce and his fellow cabinet ministers made strong indications that shared services was still on the cards at an ICT Forum held on 17 June, it was never confirmed whether or not reform would follow the blueprint set out by the Department of Premier and Cabinet under the Keneally Labor Government.
However the original shape of the arrangements, as outlined in the Blueprint, will need to change to fit the revised administrative arrangements in the NSW Government which took effect in April.
“The Corporate and Shared Services Strategy will be implemented to align with the recent administrative changes that have established nine clusters, a reduction from the previous 13,” said Pearce.
The Blueprint originally included plans to consolidate the provision of corporate services across the government into six shared service providers.
NSW Transport, Human Services (now Family and Community Services), Education and Training (now Education and Communities) and Health were each designated their own in-house provider, with the remaining super departments set to receive their corporate support from ServiceFirst. Under the previous arrangements, the NSW Police Service’s in-house provider also provided corporate support to the emergency services agencies, despite the fact they had ceased being a super department in early 2010.
The Blueprint applied to ICT, as well as human resources management, occupational health and safety, finance, procurement and other corporate support functions.
While Minister Pearce ha been able to reaffirm the continuance of the Blueprint, the shared services fate of some NSW agencies remains unclear due to the extensive Machinery of Government (MoG) changes that included an extensive reshuffle of government bodies as well as the consolidation into nine clusters.
As Intermediumreported in April, the huge frontline workforces of the NSW Police Force and emergency services agencies have been brought within the Attorney-General and Justice cluster, bringing it well over the 20,000 Full-Time Employee (FTE) benchmark which would designate an in-house shared service provider according to the Blueprint.
Prior to the change of government, the former Department of Justice and Attorney-General with its 12,900 FTE was earmarked for a move to ServiceFirst.
The former super department Communities NSW has been well and truly ‘MoG-ged’ by the new arrangements, raising questions corporate services provision at the 25 agencies which comprised the former super department under Labor.
While the roughly half of the agencies in Communities NSW have merged with the former Department of Education and Training to form the Department of Education and Communities, the remainder have been distributed between the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Trade & Investment, Regional Infrastructure & Services.
Pearce also restated that an announcement regarding revised ICT governance arrangements in the NSW Government will made “in the coming weeks”.