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Victoria readies for 2016 ICT strategy release

by Justin Hendry •
Free resource

The Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) has given a rough timeframe for the release of its new Whole-of-Government (WofG) ICT Strategy. 

The Strategy will be the first update since March 2014 and follows a series of unfavourable ICT project findings from the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office over the past 12 months. The update will also be the first of the Andrews Labor Government.

A spokesperson from the department told Intermedium that the update would be released in mid-2016, however Intermedium understands that the update release date could be even sooner.

DPC has already given some indication as to what is likely to feature in the new strategy, following the release of its Strategic Review of Business Support Services (BSSSR) in March 2015, funding for the development of Service Victoria – Victoria’s new WofG digital shopfront – and ministerial comments about supporting start-ups.

The Strategy will be joined by the reintroduction of a public-facing ICT project dashboard to increase the level of transparency and accountability around ICT expenditure and project status.

The previous dashboard, which provided a limited view of six high-value high-risk ICT projects, was removed from the DPC’s Digital Government branch (now Enterprise Solutions branch) website in 2015 following machinery-of-government changes, according to the Digital Dashboard: Status Review of ICT Projects and Initiatives report by the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office.

The Enterprise Solutions branch oversees Victoria’s WofG ICT Strategy, e-Government, ICT Procurement and ICT Innovation, having assumed responsibility from the former Department of State Development, Business and Innovation.

In addition to preparing for the release of its new ICT strategy, Victoria has updated its September 2013 ICT Governance Framework which takes into account the BSSSR. The new framework recommends that “DPC establish a federated governance framework and work with existing shared service providers” through a decentralised delivery model. According to the spokesperson, the update addresses the ICT project governance concerns of the VAGO in recent audits.

The BSSSR set out to “provide a governance model which utilises the framework and guiding principles to ensure an aligned position is maintained and applied to the assessment and scoping of process improvement and ICT initiatives which emerge within individual departments across agencies or, as Whole of Government undertakings.”

In addition to the ICT Project Dashboard, the updated structure includes a CIO Leadership Group, which allows DPC “to consult with department and agency CIOs on operational level ICT matters, standards and policies, and trends in the ICT market”, according to the spokesperson.

An audit by the VAGO in June 2015, Delivering Services to Citizens and Consumers via Devices of Personal Choice Phase 1 – Interim Report, found the status of the two committees established to drive ICT governance – the Chief Information Officer (CIO) Council and CIO Executive – were unknown.

The government is also taking steps to better manage ICT project risk through its ICT Governance Education Program, which according to the spokesperson, is “being strengthened to take into account recent VAGO findings regarding the management of ICT-enabled projects.”

The DPC run Program aims to consolidate the project management skills of senior executives (either project sponsors or project board members) who are responsible for managing ICT-enabled projects.

The spokesperson also said that the role of the WofG Chief Enterprise Solutions Officer (CESO), formerly held by Grahame Coles until his departure in December 2015, “is being reviewed in light of the upcoming ICT Strategy and other emerging opportunities.”

Victoria is the only jurisdiction to give responsibility for leading the government’s digital, ICT and shared services agenda to a position titled CESO, with other states opting for either CIO (Queensland, New South Wales, and Western Australia), Chief Digital Officer (Australian Capital Territory), or Director of Digital Government (South Australia).

NSW recently began looking for a candidate to fill the new position of WofG Chief Information and Digital Officer.

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Victoria’s 2014-15 ICT Strategy puts focus on cloud and mobility

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