The emergence of large, funded ICT projects in the 2014-15 SA Budget in the face of a central tenet of November 2013 ICT Strategy - ‘no more big projects’ was extremely unlikely. The fact that they do not exist is due not just to the Strategy but also to the fact that South Australian Treasurer, Tom Koutsantonis has handed down a tough state Budget to help ensure the State regains its Triple A credit rating.
Intermedium will be releasing its detailed list of 2014-15 funded ICT initiatives along with its estimates of ICT Operational Expenditure in its Budget IT online database as soon as possible. It is not possible to gain an accurate amount of ICT funding until full analysis is complete, however, it is clear that SA is keeping company with other jurisdictions which have kept the lid securely down on any major new ICT spend.
Along with an efficiency dividend set for the SA public service of 2.5%, and staff reductions of just over 4000 over the next four years, a range of relatively modest ICT efficiencies are set to take effect from 2015 which centre on reducing the desktop, laptop and server fleet. The savings are estimated to amount to $700,000 in 2015-16, $1.5 million 2016-17, and up to $2 million 2017-18.
“Savings to be achieved by reducing the number of computer servers, desktops and laptops used across government. The allocation of this saving across agencies will be determined during 2014–15,” according to the Budget.
South Australia Police and the Department of Correctional Services have come into some new money for small projects with $2.3 million in 2014-15 to be provided to the Department for Correctional Services for GPS tracking technology.
“The initiative provides funding for GPS-based electronic monitoring bracelets and the staffing required to enable the intensive monitoring and supervision of serious high risk offenders (mainly child sex offenders) in the community... This will also enable more effective intelligence activity with South Australia Police.”
A modest $780,000 will be provided to Police for facial recognition technology, and a crime reporting and tracking app will receive a total of $600,000. The tracking app will enable “victims to track the investigation and progress of reported crimes.”
The Budget outlines The Office of the CIO’s 2014-15 targets, although the CIO won’t have increased funding. According to the Budget, these targets are:
- “Continue implementation of SA Connected and its range of initiatives, and to assist agencies in aligning their activities and decisions with the Strategic Directions statement;
- Develop cross-government position papers for the use of cloud computing services, social media and open technology to complement the government’s Open Government and Open Data programs;
- Review of the Government of South Australia’s ICT Governance Framework and the Workforce in ICT Plan for 2015–16;
- Upgrade the internet gateway infrastructure to significantly reduce operational support costs, as well as integrate cloud based computing services into StateNet to leverage the benefits of scalability, agility and lower costs;
- Continue the awareness program in cyber security and services resilience; and
- Ongoing strategic sourcing of ICT services to support SA Connected and cross-government efficiencies.”
Some significant SA projects with existing ICT funding include:
- $17.5 million estimated total cost on “implementation of the new StateNet Core Network and consolidation of the Central Data Network and supporting facilities including transmission and hosting assets”;
- $4.5 million estimated total cost for SA Police for “purchase of hand-held computers, a portable fingerprint system and an automated number plate recognition system”;
- $39 million estimated total cost for SA Police records management systems upgrade, expected to be completed by 2020;
- $22.3 million to complete, by the end of this year, the Attorney General Department’s Computer Aided Dispatch System for emergency response management;
- $3 million is allocated to the Attorney General Department’s fine recovery, liquor licencing, gambling and liquor systems, as well as operational support for the SA Civil and Administration Tribunal. The estimated completion time is 2015.
- 4.5 million for SA Police’s upgrade of high tech crime fighting equipment which is expected to be completed in 2015 .