The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services is soon to begin implementing its ICT Service Model that will promote ICT as-a-service as the preferred best practice model.
In the 2013-17 ICT Action Plan, the Government recommends that “Department ICT plans leverage ICT as-a-service as the primary option while divesting itself of existing assets”.
While the model is yet to be published, the annual report states it centres on the notions of contestability and ICT as-a-service. It was developed in line with the ICT Strategy advice that agencies should “implement and consistently apply a best practice model of portfolio, program and project management”.
Adopting ICT as-a-service was prioritised in the ICT Strategy after former Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello’s Commission of Audit found that 90 per cent of ICT systems throughout the Queensland Government were outdated and would need replacing within five years, costing $7.4 billion.
He recommended that agencies adopt ICT as a service and “source ICT services, especially commoditised services, from private providers in a contestable market where this is feasible and represents value for money”.
Attaining value for money has been a state wide problem for a number of years. According to the audit, Queensland’s cost of service expenditure is the highest in the country, at 6 per cent above the national average in 2010-11.
The principle of contestability also comes from the audit. “There is a contestable market for the delivery of corporate services, ICT and other back-office administrative support functions which should be utilised more,” said the report.
On top of implementing the ICT Service Model, the Department plans to develop a provider management information portal “to streamline grants and funding administration”.
It spends $1.7 billion each year on grants to non-Government organisations to support the delivery of Government policy. In 2012-13 the agency estimated it could save $30.35 million through more efficient spending on grants.
The Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) in NSW is also looking at ways to manage the way its money is spent. In an August 2013 Interim Report on Outsourcing Community Service Delivery the Committee on Community Services recommended a new information database, centralised processing system and gateway for managing applications from potential service providers be developed to manage community services outsourcing.
The report states that $2.3 billion, that is 45 percent of the portfolio’s budget expenditure, is now going to the non-government sector. A new database and accompanying systems would allow the department “to have more flexibility, reduce repetitive application processes and result in improved efficiencies and better targeting of services to improve client outcomes”.
Additionally the QLD Department of Communities will continue to enhance its Integrated Client Management System (ICMS). The system manages information about clients and their placements with carers and care services. It was completed and entered a business as usual phase in 2012-13, however, outcomes from the Government’s response to the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry mean the system will need updating.
The Inquiry suggested a move away from the current Structured Decision Making (SDM) model that assists staff in the Department in identifying key decision making points relating to the risk of harm to a child. The model was criticised for allowing workers to make decision based off previous cases rather than assessing them individually.
The inquiry stated that there would be cost implications in moving away from the SDM model as it is already embedded within the ICMS.
According to the 2013-14 Queensland Budget the ICMS project had a total budget of $78 million, of which the final $2.4 million is due to be expended in 2013-14.
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