Nearly one year on from the NSW Coalition’s overwhelming victory at the polls, the new Government is sending convincing signals that it will fundamentally change the way that it manages ICT.
The Coalition Government, under Premier Barry O’Farrell, has both the mandate and the long-term electoral prospects to embark upon the kind of long term reform that only a Government expecting to stay in power for multiple terms can hope to achieve.
The last twelve months have seen the Government lay the preliminary groundwork for this reform, through a packed agenda of reviews and restructures, many of them the responsibility of Finance Minister Greg Pearce.
Six ICT Working Groups are due to report to Peace imminently, with detailed implementation road maps aimed at achieving the outcomes of the Draft ICT Strategic Framework. These roadmaps include setting common standards for ICT procurement across government, facilitating information sharing between departments, and better managing finances and staff productivity.
At a more macro level it has sought to ensure that no facet of the NSW public sector is left un-scrutinised, through two Commissions of Audit. The NSW Financial Audit headed up by Michael Lambert (the Lambert Report) and the NSW Commission of Audit into public sector management, headed by Kerry Schott (the Schott Report) are designed to get to the heart of the systemic failings of the preceding government.
Based on my experience of the public sector, I don’t expect the industry will see the benefits of the wide-ranging reform agenda until the 2013-14 Budget. Instead, business cases and scoping studies are likely to feature heavily in any new ICT allocations in the 2012-13 budget (to be released in late May or early June) of this year.
Substance is also materialising in terms of the NSW Government’s engagement with industry and the public. The establishment and early meetings of an ICT Advisory Panel made up of private sector experts indicates that this Government is ready and willing to work with industry and stakeholders.
The new NSW Government has assumed a long-term perspective when it comes to ICT, which has opened it up to real change, and it appears intent to achieve this in a considered and transparent manner, I believe.
I think this government, one year in, is showing every sign of being serious about effective engagement with the ICT industry and the effective use of the skills the ICT industry has to offer.
This is a government which understands that in this day and age, with citizens reliant on ICT in almost every facet of their lives, that technology must be a lynchpin of its service delivery agenda, as articulated in its NSW 2021 Plan.
Judy Hurditch is Intermedium’s Managing Director and Principal Analyst. She addressed delegates from industry and government on the future of the NSW Government ICT market in North Sydney on 1 March 2012.