The Queensland Government’s ICT Action Plan, to be released this month, will provide further details about the new whole-of-government accountability framework and gateway review process for ICT projects that were briefly introduced in the July ICT Strategy.
“All significant ICT investments will be subject to a universal set of project management principles regardless of the agency that is making the investment,” IT Minister Ian Walker said in Parliament this week.
The Minister also indicated he would play a major role in approving projects at a whole-of-government level.
“Agencies will not be permitted to make significant ICT investment until I have reviewed and authorised the business case,” he said.
The introduction of new State-wide accountability and gateway review systems is linked to the high-profile failure of the Queensland Health payroll system. A Commission of Inquiry report released in July found significant problems with the governance structures in place for the project, and made a number of recommendations.
The Government’s response to the recommendations, tabled in parliament this week, forecast some elements of the ICT Action Plan. It revealed that as part of the gateway review process, agencies will have to “consider and respond to the lessons learnt from the Health Payroll System and similar projects prior to endorsing significant ICT projects”.
The Action Plan will also identify specific risk assessment actions for agencies to stabilise potentially problematic legacy systems and manage new ICT investments, according to Walker. Forward planning for all legacy systems was one of the key recommendations of the payroll inquiry.
The implementation of the ICT Action Plan and ICT Strategy is likely to be on a relatively short timeline, with the Department of Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts (DSITIA) to develop a framework for the gateway review process by 15 September 2013. DSITIA will identify the lessons learnt from the payroll inquiry for each project phase, and distribute this information to all Queensland Government agencies.
Agencies are also required to complete a risk assessment and contingency plan for all high-risk systems by 31 October 2013, to support the execution of the ICT Action Plan.
The Queensland Government will soon begin planning for a replacement payroll system for Queensland Health, after accepting the Commission of Inquiry’s recommendation that it develop a detailed plan for the selection and implementation of a new system. The inquiry found that the current Health payroll system will require an upgrade in a year, and need to be replaced within five years.
A Queensland Health Payroll Planning Group will manage the process of replacing the existing system, according to the Government’s response to the inquiry. The Group will be chaired by Queensland Health’s Director-General, a position which is currently vacant since the departure of Tony O’Connell.
The Planning Group will also include representatives from:
- The Queensland Government Chief Information Office;
- Mater Misericordiae Health Services;
- The Health Services Information Agency; and
- Other independent representatives.
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