If the Queensland Government manages to launch a new ICT Strategy before its June deadline, it will do so under an ICT Minister, a Director-General and now potentially a Government CIO with less that six months experience in their respective roles.
IT News yesterday revealed that whole-of-government CIO Peter Grant had been removed from the peak role by Department of Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts (DSITIA) chief Andrew Garner. Garner is new to the Queensland Government, having taken up the role just six weeks prior.
Minister for Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts Ian Walker this morning confirmed to Intermedium that Grant had been transferred to a new position.
"Peter was offered a new role by the Director General, which is to be responsible for delivering our 'One Network' program, which involves getting all of our government departments onto a single network. At the moment pretty much every department or agency has its own network. Peter was thought to have a great interest in the project," he said.
The transfer removes Grant's direct access to the Minister which was a feature of the role of GCIO. Walker refused to comment on Grant's performance in the GCIO role.
"All I would say about that is that we certainly thought his skills were suited to this new role and he took that role and we are glad that he has done so," said the Minister.
Grant's One Network role will be for six months.
In a week when former Public Works Minister Robert Schwarten recalled welcoming the addition of IT agency CorpTech into his portfolio "like a fowl would welcome a carpet snake into the coop", this latest IT leadership change suggests that information technology is something of a poisoned chalice in the northern state.
Walker's predecessor Ros Bates resigned on 15 February this year. Phillip Reed, appointed by the Newman Government's to head its newly established DSITIA, moved to a different role earlier this year.
Walker denied that his government is having second thoughts about the GCIO role, which was re-established by the Bligh Government in July 2011, but said it might be some time before a permanent replacement is selected.
"There is certainly no view that it is not an appropriate role to have. But the extent of the role and the functions it will entail is something that we are still thinking about as part of our reform process. So while we're still thinking about these things it is unlikely that a permanent replacement will be appointed," he said.
Walker and his department will have a number of GCIO models to choose from, as the nature and span of the role has evolved to be substantially different in Australian jurisdictions in past years.
In NSW the discrete GCIO role was dissolved and the position became part of the job of the Director-General of the Department of Finance and Services. Michael Coutts-Trotter currently has provided ongoing leadership in the role and chairs the State's ICT Board.
In Canberra the Australian GCIO's responsibilities were recently split between a Government Chief Information Officer, Glenn Archer, and a Government Chief Technology Officer, John Sheridan.
In Victoria, Grantly Mailes has recently been named inaugural Chief Technology Advocate.
For the time being, and as important decisions are made about Queensland's ICT future, ICT authority will be concentrated into Walker's and Garner's positions. Garner is currently serving as Acting GCIO in addition to leading DSITIA.
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