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Service delivery “under a microscope” in NSW budget

by Poppy Johnston •
Free resource

Topics: IT Services; Software; Hardware; Digital Transformation; Procurement; NSW.

A $4.6 million ambulance business system upgrade, a $2.9 million new domestic violence GPS monitoring system, and $2.9 million towards a new government services delivery procurement analysis unit are among the initiatives announced ahead of the release of New South Wales’s 2016-17 budget, which will be handed down on Tuesday 21 June.

The state’s new Commissioning and Contestability Unit (CCU) will “put government service delivery under a microscope” and identify the most effective and efficient models for service delivery.

As well as testing and analysing existing government programs, the CCU will explore alternate delivery models that include a mix of government, private, and not-for-profit service providers. The CCU will examine the experiences of similar initiatives overseas – such as in the UK, where widespread and successful commissioning markets have been established for a range of government services.

“NSW citizens want quality services delivered at an efficient cost, regardless of who is providing them”, said Minister for Finance Dominic Perrottet during a joint announcement with Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian.

“What matters is that citizens are put at the centre, and whether that means government providing its services better, or partnering with the best of the private sector, the CCU will be a powerful tool to make that happen.”

The $4.6 million ambulance business systems ICT upgrade is part of a $150 million boost for NSW Ambulance personnel and infrastructure to be delivered in the 2016-17 budget.

Similar large-scale enhancements to Queensland Ambulance Services were announced in the state’s recently released 2016-17 budget, including $3.1 million towards information systems to improve patient care and service delivery. QLD Health has already approached the market for “dynamic deployment and service delivery modelling” software.

New South Wales’s newly announced $2.9 million domestic violence GPS monitoring system is part of the doubled investment in specialist domestic violence services and initiatives in the 2016-17 budget – bringing the total spent to more than $300 million over four years, up from $148.5 million in the 2015-16 budget.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant said the NSW Government will invest $2.9 million over four years to introduce GPS monitoring.

“The devices will be fitted to high-risk domestic violence offenders and police will be alerted if an offender is at a location they are prohibited from entering”, Mr. Grant said.

The investment is likely a response to findings from the $12 million Federal Government investigation into how technology can help reduce domestic violence, which flagged GPS monitoring as a method of interest.

The NSW Government initially had reservations about the technology, with the Standing Committee on Social Issues finding that GPS technology would not be appropriate for a large percentage of victims, as many live in the same residences as the perpetrator.

The Domestic violence trends and issues in NSW report also found that GPS technology could not stop a determined offender. It recommended at the time that “the NSW Government not pursue at this time the use of GPS bracelets as a method to reduce and improve compliance with Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs)”.

Despite these recommendations, the NSW Government appears to have gone ahead with GPS monitoring for domestic violence offenders on the grounds that the technology will be useful in circumstances when the offender and victim are in fact geographically separated.

“The GPS monitoring can apply to sentenced or paroled offenders, but can also be used to monitor compliance with bail conditions in cases where a victim is protected by an ADVO with geographical restrictions", Mr. Grant said in his announcement.

“There will also be an option for a victim to carry a corresponding device so an alert will be generated if the offender approaches their vicinity.’’

GPS monitoring is already used in New South Wales and a handful of other states, including Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland, but principally for monitoring high-risk sex offenders. More recently, the Northern Territory has controversially moved to extend electronic monitoring to all young offenders upon release from prison or during bail, pending changes to legislation.

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$12 million for tech to tackle domestic violence

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