news The NSW State Government has released a draft ICT strategic framework, which it hopes will help it become a leader in technology across Australia.
“Today we move to the next stage in delivering better ICT in NSW,” said Greg Pearce, Minister for Finance and Services, upon the release of the draft framework last week. The document is available online in PDF format on a dedicated website the state has set up to take feedback on the report. “The draft Framework outlines the Government’s goals and direction for ICT in NSW, driven by the overarching goal of making NSW the Leader in ICT,” the Minister added.
This week’s move is a follow up to the newly elected NSW Coalition Government’s statement earlier this year making it clear that it wanted to become “the nation’s leader in information communications and technology”. To launch the initiative, a Strategic IT Forum attended by over 80 government and industry leaders had been held at NSW Parliament House in June – an event that Pearce described as marking a “new era” of ICT investment and opportunity in NSW.
NSW’s drive to dislodge Victoria as the country’s technology capital comes on the heels of the Victoria Ombudsman’s report portraying the abysmal state of its ICT projects, which were attributed to the Labor government’s gross mismanagement.
Pearce, a part of NSW’s new Coalition Government, said: “For 16 years under [the previous NSW Labor Government], NSW suffered from a lack of direction and whole of Government coordination leading to disjointed investment, duplication, waste and poorer services for citizens. In contrast, the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government is committed to making it easier for NSW citizens to interact with Government, to harnessing the opportunities provided by ICT to improve Government operations and to developing the ICT industry in NSW.”
In March 2011, as the NSW Opposition Financial Management Spokesman, Pearce had promised that following the upcoming election a central CIO group would be created comprising key ministers and government executives that provided long-term strategy oversight and monitoring of delivery of major ICT projects, in consultation with IT players. With the new framework released, he said, “Today we lay on the table the core principles that will steer NSW Government ICT policy and investment into the future. It has been developed by key stakeholders within Government and industry through the new ICT Governance structure”.
Pearce said that the Strategic Framework focuses on improved service delivery across government, increased productivity and more efficient investment in ICT. It focuses on five core capabilities that the NSW Government needs to drive these outcomes:
- Citizen-focused services
- Better information sharing
- Services anytime anywhere
- Community and industry collaboration
- Managing performance
With a view to getting public input on NSW’s ICT policy, Pearce said, “It is now time for residents to have their say and we have launched a new website to make it easier and simpler to provide input. I strongly urge all interested people to visit the site and provide input as we together make NSW the leader in ICT.”
I am sure that anyone who has actually read the NSW Government’s draft strategic ICT framework will agree that it is about as useful as tits on a bull.
Frankly, the document is chock-full to the brim of motherhood statements, but contains no actual detail — at all — about how NSW plans to get itself out of the hole of technology obsolescence in which it has sunk itself (hello, Tcard), and into the modern age. It’s exactly the sort of grand vision which new state governments quickly publish after they come into office; put together, no doubt, by a bunch of public servants who don’t want to rock the boat too hard with a new set of political masters, and rubber-stamped by a neophyte minister.
If NSW really wants to get serious about ICT, I suggest it go some way towards answering the following questions:
- Can the state clarify what its intentions are for IT shared services across government?
- Why is the state pursuing a policy of IT shared services, given the failure of similar policies in Queensland and Western Australia?
- Can the state clarify what accountability and governance measures it is putting in place for major IT projects to prevent the levels of cost over-runs, delays and abject project failure documented in Victoria last week by the state’s ombudsman?
- What specific IT projects does NSW plan to invest in, to driver service delivery outcomes?
- What are the state’s plans to deal with the encroaching cloud computing and mobility themes within its IT operations?
I would certainly like to see some leadership on ICT from the NSW Government, and I’ve witnessed a huge turnaround in the state’s interest in the ICT industry since the Coalition took charge of NSW, it’s true. Credit must be given where credit is due, and Greg Pearce and Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner are driving that turnaround. But let’s call a spade a spade; this ICT strategic framework is a piece of bureaucratic nonsense.