A Treasury-based team headed by Deputy Secretary Stephen Brady, with secondees from other departments including the NSW Government Chief Information Office, was charged with undertaking the NSW Review of ICT Costs.
Benchmarking was due for completion by December 2009. Thereafter, agencies would be ranked and, as part of the Budget planning process, Treasury would seek savings proposals to achieve the additional 1% efficiency dividend from departmental CEOs and CFOs early in 2010. This 1% efficiency dividend will apply in 2010-11 and 2011-12. For the subsequent two years, the efficiency dividend will rise to 1.5%.
Initially expected to conclude by September 2009, the Review did not commence in earnest until much later, and there is considerable uncertainty as to whether it has been concluded or what its findings were.
The ICT industry is not the only interested party. On Tuesday 20 April 2010, the Shadow Minister for Financial Management and Housing, Greg Pearce, asked the following question on notice of the Treasurer in the NSW Legislative Council:
- What is the outcome of the Better Services and Value Taskforce strategic "value for money" view of information and communications technology expenditures referred to in BP No. 2 pg 4-5?
- Was the review of the ICT funding and expenditure across all New South Wales government agencies completed by September 2009?
- If so, when will this report be released?
- If not, when will the review be completed?
The not very informative answer he was given was:
‘I am advised the Better Servicesand Value Taskforce reported to government on the review in September 2009. The review is ongoing.’
Intermedium understands thatTreasury is unable to comment on the outcomes of the Review at this time, because the outcomeswill feature in the upcoming NSW Budget.
However, there has beenone point of clarification. Stephen Sedgwick, the Chair of the Taskforce did not cease to be Chair when he took up his appointment as the Head of the Australian Public Service Commission in January 2010. It is understood that both the NSW Government and the Federal Government agreed to his retaining his role on the taskforce, in addition to performing the duties of his new position.
It is believedthat all NSW agencies are struggling to determine how they will cope with the burden of the efficiencydividend that is to be imposed as a result of the Better Services and Value Taskforce in the coming year.
The dividend will fall particularly hard on corporate services areas and particularly on ICT, as the dividend cannot be applied to staff costs, which make up the greatest proportion of costs in government administration.