Tax office goes on $650,000 hiring spree

People tendered for when skill sets are needed

Only one week after announcing it will hire a quality improvement officer, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is calling for a team of people to work in its IT outsourcing management (ITOM) in order to perform ICT services.

According to tender documents released this week, the ATO is seeking "multiple personnel" from a budget of about $650,000 over one year.

An ATO spokesperson told Computerworld there is no definitive number of people that will be hired as there are different levels, and hence remuneration rates, of appointments to be filled.

The tender approach to hiring is similar to that taken by the Australian Federal Police which is also feeling Canberra's skills shortage pinch.

The spokesperson said tenders are preferred, as opposed to regular recruitment advertising, when the ATO is looking for people with skill sets rather than individual roles.

"We are looking for people and this is the best way to evaluate skill sets," the spokesperson said. "The driver for this is large projects like the change program and superannuation that are taking staff away from particular projects in the ICT line. So we need skills in short and long term."

When asked if it is also indicative of a wider skills shortage in Canberra, the spokesperson said there is a skills crisis because there are a lot of large departments with large IT projects on at the moment.

The ATO ICT service line operates a branch structure and employs approximately 2000 staff.

The ITOM branch reports to CIO Bill Gibson and has responsibility for managing infrastructure outsourcing contracts like vendor management and strategy, outsourcing strategy, commercial and risk management, contract administration and management, performance management, and governance and engagement management.

During 2005 and 2006 the ATO "revised and strengthened" its contractual arrangements with its infrastructure outsourcer to improve the quality of service for desktop, WAN, mid-range technologies and mainframe technologies. It also adopted ITIL-based processes for service management, improved governance related to outsourcing arrangements, and established a more flexible performance management regime.

The first wave of change, which addresses the mid-range technologies and ITIL processes, is largely complete, a second wave of change commenced in October 2006 and will continue through until 2008.

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