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NSW Machinery of Government changes will impact shared services

by Paris Cowan •
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The twelve Super Departments which formed the NSW bureaucracy have been slimmed down to nine, with some state agencies changing hands, and others finding themselves dissolved altogether.

This Machinery of Government (MoG) change impacts the shared services structure within the state government, although the full extent will not be clear until the MoG arrangements for the NSW Police Force as well as the emergency services are better understood.

The new list of super departments, or ‘Principal Departments’ as they are labelled in the enabling legislation include:

1.    Department of Attorney General and Justice

2.    Department of Education and Communities

3.    Department of Family and Community Services

4.    Department of Finance and Services

5.    Department of Health

6.    Department of Premier and Cabinet

7.    Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services

8.    Department of Transport

9.    The Treasury

The 2010 Blueprint for Shared and Corporate Services, which aimed to reform back-office ICT requirements of all NSW departments, demanded that the five largest departments  (those with more than 20,000 full time employees)establish in house shared services units for all comprising agencies and bodies. The remainder would move to ServiceFirst, the shared service agency within the former Department of Services, Technology and Administration.

The shake-up means that some of these former departments and agencies will no longer be ServiceFirst Clients.

Communities NSW, the former super department with responsibility for all arts, recreation and gaming agencies, has been bundled up into the Department of Education and Training to form the retitled Department of Education and Communities. As a result the back office ICT functions which service its 3,200 staff will become part of the Education Department’s in-house shared services unit rather than ServiceFirst.

But the biggest potential impact on ServiceFirst may be the shared services direction of the Department of Attorney-General and Justice. Originally slated for a move to ServiceFirst, the Department has been handed oversight of a handful of new state bodies as part of the move.  The question is whether the numbers of staff moving to the Department give it the critical mass to justify a shared services unit of its own.

Juvenile Justice, formerly part of the Department of Human Services, will fall under the authority of the Department of Attorney General and Justice, boosting staff by at least 1,308.

Attorney General and Justice will also gain oversight of independent police and emergency services bodies such as the NSW Crime Commission, the Ministry for Police and Emergency Services (formerly the Ministry for Police) and Emergency Management NSW.

Despite their structural split in 2010 when they ceased to be the 13th Super Department, Police and Emergency Services were still required to form a single shared services unit for their combined workforce of 24,100 and this was reflected in the Corporate and Shared Services Blueprint.

Transfers of law enforcement and emergency services bodies to the Department of Attorney General and Justice indicate a pursuit of closer relations between these agencies. However it is still unclear whether this cooperation will penetrate far enough to impact on shared services arrangements.

Governance over shared services reform itself has also changed hands as a result of the reshuffle of responsibilities. Under its new title of the Department of Finance and Services, the former Department of Services, Technology and Administration (DSTA) has gained authority over the  implementation of the Blueprint, which previously sat with the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The Department of Finance and Services will retain its responsibility for ICT in the NSW Government, and will also gain the Office of State Revenue (OSR), a high intensity ICT agency, as well as the Expenditure Review Directorate, as part of its assumption of many of the financial roles previously held by the Treasury.

The state’s water authorities, with their hefty ICT needs related to measurement and testing, have also been caught up in the MoG changes.

Sydney Water, the Sydney Catchment Authority and the remaining water agencies have been moved from the now dissolved Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water. They are now under the authority of the Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services.

According to Intermedium’s 2010-11 budget analysis tool, Budget IT, Sydney Water was allocated $770 million over four years for unspecified ICT infrastructure projects.

All of this and more will be covered in Intermedium’s Post Election Government ICT Landscape workshop, to be run former MD of NSW Businesslink, Pat Richards, and Intermedium MD Judy Hurditch in Sydney on 11 May.  James Keulemans, Partner at Statecraft, a public affairs and advisory firm, will provide the keynote address. Attendees will learn how to position their company to ensure they engage effectively with NSW government decision makers in this new environment.


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  • NSW
  • Policy
  • Barry O'Farrell
  • Communities NSW
  • Deaprtment of Finance and Services
  • Department of Education and Communities
  • Department of Human Services
  • Department of Justice and Attorney General
  • DET
  • DSTA
  • NSW Police Force
  • ServiceFirst
  • Shared Services
  • Sydney Water