WA inquiry sees need to boost government CIO’s resources

Recommends potentially establishing Service NSW-like body for government services

The report of an inquiry by the Western Australian Legislative Assembly's Public Accounts Committee has recommended the government boost the resources available to its chief information officer.

The WA government in September appointed Giles Nunis to the role of GCIO, with the mandate of driving more efficient ICT spending. The PAC's report, released today, says the establishment of the WA Office of the GCIO (OGCIO) can already be considered a pivotal moment in improving ICT investment by the government.

However, the report notes that the OGCIO’s 15 permanent staff across four business units does not compare favourably to the office’s counterparts in other jurisdictions.

“While the Committee commends the WAGCIO on its efforts to date, it has concerns regarding the ongoing sustainability of the Office in its current form,” the report states. The WA budget did not earmark funding beyond the 2017-18 financial year, despite the office being tasked with implementing the government’s 2016-2020 Digital WA strategy.

The committee also recommended that the government’s cloud policy be amended to mandate agencies adopt a ‘cloud-first’ approach when contemplating future ICT investments.

In all the committee made 18 recommendations, including establishing a Service NSW-style ‘one stop shop’ for government services, potentially mandating a digital services portal for all agencies, and investigating the potential use of the federal government’s myGov infrastructure for WA.

The committee endorsed plans by the GCIO to establish a more accurate figure for WA government IT expenditure, nothing that “current estimates vary between $1 billion and $2 billion”.

“The WAGCIO should also obtain accurate figures for ICT expenditure at an individual agency level, so that it can identify and work with the agencies having the most difficulty controlling their costs,” the report recommends.

The report endorses the government’s GCIO-led ‘GovNext-ICT’ program, which is intended to save up to $650 million over 10 years, with departments and agencies moving away from operating their own IT infrastructure to consuming commercially provided compute, storage and network services.

Atos, Datacom and NEC have been selected for the $3 billion GovNext program, though the state government’s cabinet is yet to sign off on contracts.

The inquiry’s report recommended that a “properly resourced body” be charged with ensuring “all commercial arrangements relating to the GovNext-ICT Program are properly managed.”

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