A spokesperson for NSW Finance Minister, Greg Pearce, has reaffirmed the NSW Government’s commitment to the Blueprint for Corporate and Shared Services, despite comments made to the media earlier this week casting doubt upon the future of the two key provider agencies.
He said that the shared services strategy, which was launched under the previous Government, would still be implemented but raised the possibility that changes could made within the overall framework.
On Tuesday 17 April, Pearce told the Australian Financial Review that he was taking a long hard look into how shared services arrangements were being rolled out across the government.
“What we’ve done is essentially stopped a lot of the shared services work that was going on,” he said. “We’re looking very hard at BusinessLink and ServiceFirst and whether we should be in that business at all or how to get value if we stay.”
However Pearce’s office indicated that the Government’s focus would be on optimising the way that the shared services agencies do business, rather than a move to get rid of them altogether.
“We are looking at ways to maximise their value,” said the spokesperson.
The Blueprint for Corporate and Shared Services was released in July 2010 by the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) and outlined a plan to consolidate corporate services provision across the public sector into six clusters: Transport; Police and Emergency Services; Human Services; Education; Health; and a single provider, ServiceFirst.
Following Machinery of Government changes last April, the Attorney-General and Justice cluster, which includes Police and Emergency Services, will have a common shared services provider, meaning that the Department of Attorney-General and Justice will no longer fall under ServiceFirst.
Businesslink is the shared services agency serving the Family and Community Services (FACS) cluster, formerly Human Services. It also services Juvenile Justice, which now falls within the Attorney-General and Justice cluster.
Businesslink is currently in the process of implementing a new commercial operating model which will include a new organisational structure, and has recently begun recruiting in earnest to staff it. The Jobs.NSW website has advertised at least ten new roles across Service Delivery and Service Development divisions at the agency.
The restructure, however, has been commenced independently of the Minister’s office and its views about the performance of shared services.
Minister Pearce’s office has also released a sneak peek of the State Government’s ICT strategy, outlining a handful of key initiatives ahead of the documents official launch, including the piloting of a private government cloud:
- The establishment of a pilot private government cloud within six to nine months;
- The implementation of a whole-of-government social media policy within six to nine months;
- Investing in ICT skills within the public sector;
- Prioritisation of public sector datasets for public release within nine to twelve months; and
- Collaboration with industry and agencies to produce a service catalogue aimed at making the government more agile and responsive, within six to nine months.
The AIIA is currently advertising a NSW Government ICT Forum to be held on 4 May 2012, with Minister Pearce set to brief on the NSW Government’s vision and strategic direction for IT.
The Government released a Draft ICT Strategic Framework in November 2011 for feedback, and the upcoming whole-of-government strategy will be the product of this consultation process.
NSW has also launched a public consultation into general procurement reform in January 2012, in which it announced that the body in charge of whole-of-government contracts and panels, the State Contracts Control Board, would be replaced.