The Tasmanian ICT Policy Board has agreed on the first projects to be funded through its capital expenditure $28 million ICT Project Fund. It has approved four projects, rejected one and requested further funding submissions for another.
In most jurisdictions, major new ICT projects are the subject of considerable scrutiny via Gateway reviews and other central government processes. The allocation of Capital Expenditure (CapEx) in particular has become a key focus because such an investment almost certainly sets up an ongoing commitment to Operational (OpEx) spending. The Tasmanian Government has sought to assess and control the allocation of ICT CapEx through the ICT Policy Board.
According to The ICT Policy Board Communique of 15 October 2013, it will allocate capital expenditure to:
- The Integrated Government Contact Centre (DPAC);
- The Criminal Justice Information Management Program (DOJ);
- A State Revenue System (DOTAF); and
- Planning work on an Emergency Services Computer Aided Dispatch (DPEM).
Although it nominated the projects, the Communique did not indicate how much CapEx funding each project is to receive. This is most likely due to the fact that now approved, the projects will be the subject of approaches to the market, seeking suitable technology solutions.
The 2013-14 Budget did however indicate that $4 million of the Fund would be spent during 2013-14.
Government Contact Centre
In the 2013-14 Budget, the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s (DP&C) Integrated Government Contact Centre was allocated OpEx funding of $1.2 million in 2013-14, $1.1 million in 2014-15 and 2015-16, and $1.0 million in 2016-17. The Department was seeking the CapEx component from the Fund.
DP&C’s 2012-13 Annual Report indicates that the Contact Centre project is going through the Department of Treasury and Finance’s “gated Structured Infrastructure Review Process”. “The project will see the consolidation of existing contact centres across Government and is anticipated to result in improved service delivery to the Tasmanian community,” according to the report.
Phase one of the project is expected to be completed by June 2014.
Criminal Justice Information Management Program
In the 2013-14 Budget, the Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice Information Management Program was allocated $573,000 per annum as of 2015-16 for the ongoing management and maintenance of the system when operational. The Program’s Business Case had previously undergone an independent review which supported the development of the project and, according to the Communique, “provided a valid assessment of the potential risks associated with the Program”.
State Revenue System
While the Department of Treasury and Finance’s (Treasury) State Revenue System will also be given funding, no further details have been published on the roll-out or potential cost of this system.
Computer Aided Dispatch
The Board has agreed to fund the first year of planning work on a Computer Aided Dispatch System for the Department of Police and Emergency Management. The Tasmanian ICT Strategy stated that “by 2017 there will be an integrated dispatch and communications network for Tasmanian emergency services”. According to the October 2013 Communique, additional funding for the project will be dependent on “the agreed commitment to the project from all major stakeholders, the confirmation of appropriate project governance, and the examination of co-funding options.”
VET Student Management System
The Department of Education’s proposal for a Vocational Education Training (VET) Student Management System was supported by the Board, however, it was agreed that the Department should explore opportunities for co-funding by TasTAFE before any final decisions on the level of funding are made by the Board. TasTAFE was established in July 2013 after an independent review recommended that there be a single entity for the delivery of publicly funded VET services. The Department accepted this recommendation as well as one that a Student Management System be developed “for conducting the core business of the new entity”.
The ICT Policy Board did not support requested funding by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for an ICT Infrastructure Stabilisation Program and has invited a revised proposal that focusses more on the strategic aspects of the project.
The March 2013 Communique states that DHHS presented the ConnectCare ICT Strategy to the Board in which it outlined the development of a Core ICT Platform which “will be resilient to future changes and will provide stable, secure and highly available ICT infrastructure to support critical applications”.
The Board recommended that the Department needed to present a more developed understanding of the immediate funding for the project, an understanding that the October 2013 Communique indicates is still lacking.
The ICT Policy Board is due to meet again in December 2013.