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Spate of CIO changes impact Canberra

by Staff Writers •
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The revolving door on the supplier side of the IT industry has been spinning pretty fast for some time in Canberra.  Now it has also gone up a gear on the agency side.  In the very recent past, senior ICT changes have occurred in the Australian Taxation Office, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Shared Services Centre, and the CSIRO.

ATO

Todd Heather has resigned after 10 years in the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO’s) Chief Technology Officer role, and will finish on 8 October.  He has told Intermedium he plans to return to management consulting.    

Heather was recruited to the key ATO role from Fujitsu, where he was Principal Consulting Director between 2000 and 2004.  Prior to that, Heather had spent 10 years, also as Principal Consulting Director, with consultancy firm DMR, which was acquired by Fujitsu.

When queried by Intermedium, the ATO did not provide any information on its plans to fill Heather’s role, simply responding that it would ‘neither confirm or deny’ that Heather was leaving.

The ATO’s ICT capability is part of its wider 2020 Vision. Under the long-term reform strategy, the ATO will:

  • [Move towards] greater modernisation of its services and technology;
  • Change the way it connects with citizens;
  • Simplify interactions with individuals; and
  • Reduce red tape for businesses.

DFAT

Strong rumours are circulating Canberra as to changes occurring to ICT management at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), particularly with regard to the current CIO, Tuan Dao.

In response to an Intermedium query, a DFAT spokesperson said that “Mr Tuan Dao commenced a lead role on an IT-related project of strategic importance to the Department on 15 September, at the request of the Secretary.” 

The spokesperson confirmed that Mr Tim Spackman is acting in the role of CIO but could provide no further information on any other senior moves at DFAT, except to say ‘the Department re-assigns staff, including Senior Executive Service officers, according to priority requirements.’

Dao, who has been in the DFAT role for almost four years, spent the immediately preceding 10 years at the Department of Human Services (Centrelink) including in the role of General Manager, Infrastructure.  Prior to that, Dao worked at the ATO as a Program Manager.

The change to his role comes at a time when DFAT is managing its largest Systems Integration project of some time, the Passport Issuance Project.  A $67.7 million contract to Fujitsu was published on AusTender on 15 April 2013 in relation to the passports project with the description “Provision of Online Database Information Retrieval Systems”.  On 30 July 2014, an amendment was published on AusTender which makes the new value of the contract $25.4 million, but retains the same contract duration, i.e. to 15 April 2018.  In response to queries about the project, the DFAT spokesperson told Intermedium “we do not propose to comment publicly on contractual arrangements”. 

DFAT is also approaching the market for its SATIN replacement, issuing a request for Expressions of Interest (EOI) in January 2014 for the provision of the network services component of the Department’s International Communications Network (ICN) Project.

Request for Tender for the ICN Program ICT Global Support Centre Services and Service Management Capability was published on 15 August.

The ICN Project received funding of $216 million in the 2013-14 Federal Budget (to be spent over the five years commencing 2013-14) to replace core elements of SATIN.

SSC

Deputy CEO at the Federal Government’s Shared Service Centre (SSC) and Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Department of Education, Susan Monkley has taken the role of Chief Finance Officer (CFO), and Group Manager - Finance, Parliamentary and Assurance, in the Department of Education.  Monkley will continue to serve as CIO for the Department of Education.

“While it was an honour and a privilege the opportunity to help lead, guide and influence the direction of the SSC over the past eight months, my new role is an exciting personal and professional challenge that allows me to focus on the strategic priorities for Education, as well as providing the opportunity to continue to support the SSC,” Ms Monkley said.

A spokesperson from the SSC told Intermedium that “Ms Monkley served in the dual roles of Deputy CEO of the SSC since its inception in late 2013 and as the Chief Information Officer of the Department of Education since the creation of the department in late 2013. Prior to that Ms Monkley was Group Manager, Technology Solutions Group, which largely encompassed the CIO role for [Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations] DEEWR.

Part of Ms Monkley’s role is to continue to work with the SSC to provide guidance, and leadership and to support its success from the perspective of purchaser and as one of the two partner departments in this initiative.”

Established in February 2014, SSC is responsible for providing shared corporate IT services to its nine customers, primarily the Departments of Education and Employment.

Speaking at an April 2014 AIIA Forum, Monkley outlined the new approach to ICT services to be taken by the SSC, including a possible shift to becoming a broker of services rather than a traditional provider.

Scott Wallace will act in the Deputy CEO, CIO role for the Shared Services Centre until the end of this calendar year.  The new CEO of the SSC, Ms Delaine Wilson, will take up the position in mid-October, according to the spokesperson.

The currently published org chart describes Craig Storen as the “Interim CEO”.

CSIRO

The CSIRO has confirmed that David Toll, whose title was Enterprise Service Leader, Information Management and Technology (ie CIO) has retired.  According to the organisation chart published on 18 September 2014, David Williams, the Executive Director, National Facilities & Collections is currently acting in the position.  It is understood that the agency is moving to recruit to the role.

Toll joined the CSIRO in 2003 and had previously managed its finance and property functions. Before joining CSIRO he was Deputy Director-General of the National Library of Australia.

Until 2008, the CIO at CSIRO was Roze Frost, who became the CIO at the Department of Finance in January 2012. 

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