• Catch issues early, fix them fast – Free trial


    [ad] With GFI Cloud you can easily manage and secure your remote workforce – wherever they are, from wherever you are! The simple IT management platform includes patch management, antivirus, web protection, monitoring and remote control. Get the benefit of endpoint protection with the ease of central management. Start a free trial now.


  • Great articles on other sites
  • RSS Great articles on other sites

  • News - Written by on Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:09 - 0 Comments

    Oracle is child’s play for NSW Dept

    As part of the NSW Government’s Keep Them Safe program, the state’s Department of Community Services recently implemented Oracle’s Policy Automation software to replace an unwieldy 108 page child risk assessment guide with a new online system dubbed the Mandatory Reporter Guide.

    The Mandatory Reporter Guide asks the user a series of questions to help determine the child’s level of harm and whether they are a significant risk case.

    The move came as the NSW Government last year rolled a number of government agencies into thirteen super departments. The NSW Department for Human Services was one of these super departments. Formally CIO for Community Services, Kerry Holling is now five weeks into his new role of CIO for the Human Services.

    In an interview last week, Holling provided background on why Oracle’s Policy Automation software was required. In 2008, a special commission of inquiry into child protection was conducted by Justice James Wood, with all recommendations except for a minority being accepted by the state government. One of those recommendations was to change the system of child risk assessment that professionals who work with children use, from risk in harm to significant risk in harm.

    The challenge was the risk in harm threshold was low — in effect everybody who had a concern would call Community Services. The new test was higher and tried to focus Community Services on the more serious high risk cases and redirect the cases that fell below the threshold to newly established child wellbeing units.

    The problem is the mandatory reporters — professionals who work with children on a regular basis, did not have any easy means to identify if they had a significant harm risk case on their hands or not. With the old system, there were many situations for a child to be in, with 18 different decision trees. The compulsory 108 page document was too intensive for professionals such as teachers, policeman and other professionals.

    The key to develop the process was to base the online guidelines on sound research. The process initially involved four to six months of non-IT work — a process of workshops and hard copy planning before the software was taken into account.

    The IT department could not program the system until later in the project, when they could identify the tools that would support the mandatory guideline form.

    “One of things Oracle’s Policy Automation system is good at is allowing you take decision trees and rules that are obviously written in English and code them up using very much a natural language approach,” said Holling. “So it was quite a short process to translate the final set of rules that were written on paper into business rules that were actually embedded in the system.”

    The CIO noted that one of the reasons it chose Oracle software for the project was that the software giant is a strategic partner of the NSW Government, with the state already using Siebel for client management.

    “Another reason why we chose Oracles Automation tool is because with future versions of Siebel it comes very tightly integrated with that. It allows us to then to basically take the results of the Policy Automation survey and actually populate our client management system database with that information,” said Holling.

    When Holling was asked what lessons he would pass on to people implementing a similar system, the CIO suggested they should implement a solution with flexibility — a system that allowed the final rules to be changed, especially when there is a short roll-out time.

    “One of the key lessons that we learnt through the process is that even if you have 108 pages of rules (in our case) it still doesn’t necessarily tell you everything,” said Holling.

    “Certainly once you get into a process whereby you are automating those rules, you soon uncover the areas where you might actually have some outstanding questions that still need to be answered. You still need a little bit more time even after the final set of rules to go back and get those unknown things resolved.”

    “The ability to make those changes pretty effectively and cost effectively and quickly is important to us.”

    The Policy Automation System was not the only project the department has had in the pipeline.

    The other system, which Holling referred to as “joined-up service delivery”, was required to give the child wellbeing units around NSW a “common view of the children and clients that we were dealing with”. This would help minimise the risk of children coming in contact with different government agencies, where Community Services wouldn’t know what was happening in relation to each encounter.

    The Siebel platform already in place with Community Services was used as the platform that each of the six government agencies could utlise. A single platform for multiple agencies hasn’t been implemented in NSW Government before.

    Image credit: Jason Nelson, royalty free

    submit to reddit

    Comments are closed.


    Get our 'Best of the Week' newsletter on Fridays

    Just the most important stories, one email a week.

    Email address:


  • Most Popular Content

  • Enterprise IT stories

    • Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp facepalm2

      If you have even a skin deep awareness of the structure of Australia’s superannuation industry, you’ll be aware that much of the underlying infrastructure used by many of the nation’s major funds — AustralianSuper, CBus, HESTA and more — is provided by a centralised group, Superpartners. One of the group’s main projects in recent years has been to dramatically update and modernise its IT platform — its version of a core banking platform overhaul. Unfortunately, as was revealed in November, the $250 million project has not precisely been going well, and the Financial Review last week reported that Superpartners is actually close to turfing it altogether and going back to the drawing board.

    • Qld’s Grant joins analyst firm IBRS peter-grant

      This week it emerged that Peter Grant, the two-time former Queensland Whole of Government CIO (pictured), has joined well-regarded analyst firm Intelligent Business Research Services (IBRS). We’ve long had a high regard for IBRS, and so it’s fantastic to see such an experienced executive join its ranks.

    • Westpac dumps desk phones for Samsung Android mobiles samsung-galaxy-ace-3

      The era of troublesome desk phones tied to physical locations is gradually coming to an end in many workplaces, with mobile phones becoming increasingly popular as organisations’ main method of voice telecommunications. But some groups are more advanced than others when it comes to adoption of the trend. One of those is Westpac.

    • Ministers’ cloud approval lasted just a year reverse

      Remember how twelve months ago, the Federal Government released a new cloud computing security and privacy directive which required departments and agencies to explicitly acquire the approval of the Attorney-General and the relevant portfolio minister before government data containing private information could be stored in offshore facilities? Remember how the policy was strongly criticised by Microsoft, Government CIOs and Delimiter? Well, it looks like the policy is about to be reversed.

    • WA Govt can’t fund school IT upgrades oops key

      In news from The Department of Disturbing Facts, iTNews revealed late last week that Western Australia’s Department of Education has run out of money halfway through the deployment of new fundamental IT infrastructure to the state’s schools.

    • Turnbull outlines Govt ICT vision turnbull-5

      Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has published an extensive article arguing that the Federal Government needed to do a better job of connecting with Australians via digital channels and that public sector IT projects needn’t cost the huge amounts that some have in the past.

    • NZ Govt pushes hard into cloud zealand

      New Zealand’s national Government announced a whole of government contract this morning for what it terms ‘Office Productivity as a Service’ services. This includes email and calendaring services, as well as file-sharing, mobility, instant messaging and collaboration services. The contract complements two existing contracts — Desktop as a Service and Enterprise Content Management as a Service.

    • CommBank reveals Harte’s replacement whiteing

      The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has promoted an internal executive who joined the bank in September after a lengthy career at petroleum giant VP and IT services group Accenture to replace its outgoing chief information officer Michael Harte, who announced in early May that he would leave the bank.

    • Jeff Smith quits Suncorp for IBM jeffsmith4

      Second-tier Australian bank and financial services group Suncorp today announced that its long-serving top technology executive Jeff Smith would leave to take up a senior role with IBM in the United States, in an announcement which marks the end of an era for the nation’s banking IT sector.

    • Small business missing the mobile, social, cloud revolution iphone-stock

      Most companies that live and breathe the online revolution are not tech startups, but smart smaller firms that use online tools to run their core business better: to cut costs, reach customers and suppliers, innovate and get more control. Many others, however, are falling behind, according to a new Grattan Institute discussion paper.

  • Blog, Enterprise IT - Jul 5, 2014 13:53 - 0 Comments

    Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp

    More In Enterprise IT


    Blog, Telecommunications - Jul 5, 2014 12:12 - 0 Comments

    What should the ACCC’s role be in guiding infrastructure spending?

    More In Telecommunications


    Analysis, Industry, Internet - Jun 23, 2014 10:33 - 0 Comments

    ‘Google Schmoogle’ – how Yellow Pages got it so wrong

    More In Industry


    Blog, Digital Rights - Jun 30, 2014 22:24 - 0 Comments

    Will Netflix launch in Australia, or not?

    More In Digital Rights