ACS pushes for ethics-based recruiting in Government

The Australian Computer Society wants the Federal Government to acknowledge and strive to improve the level of professionalism within its IT staff.

The ACS called for improved emphasis on professionalism amongst IT staff in the public sector as part of a submission the Senate Finance and Public Administration committee's inquiry into Australian Public Service recruitment and training.

In the submission, the ACS called for the Government to establish recruitment guidelines for IT professionals detailing appropriate qualifications, working experience and undertakings.

ACS chief executive Dennis Furini said the submission allowed ACS to stress the increasingly strategic role that IT professionals are playing in Government, particularly in the delivery of products and services.

"In recognition of their important role, we believe recruitment guidelines for IT professionals should include the ACS Core Body of Knowledge and Code of Ethics as well as our Code of Professional Conduct and Professional Practice," Furini said.

"A commitment to a code of ethics and code of professional conduct is essential in terms of ensuring that IT-related work is always carried out to the highest possible standard, bearing in mind any potential impact on the organisation and the wider community."

Brian Kealey, operations manager in the information services branch at Queensland Transport, said, "IT professionals [in the public sector] are at least as good as the private sector.

"It would be unfair or unjust to question the level of professionalism in the public sector, given the information and scale of ICT infrastructure that they are involved in and service delivery they are caught up in, in a non-commercial environment," Kealey said.

Kealey cited the Government's push to deliver services via electronic means to illustrate the role of the IT professional as a strategic player in government agencies.

"A lot of the public sector is moving ahead with electronic service delivery; IT professionals are in the driving seat of [these] projects," he said, adding that there is limited competition driving the level of electronic service delivery that the government provides.

In August the Community and Public Sector Union made its submission to the Senate Finance and Public Administration committee, raising concerns about insufficient training budgets leading to a haemorrhaging of skilled staff from the public sector, not just from IT.

Furini encouraged the committee to consider using the annual ACS Remuneration Survey as a way of tracking industry wage levels and to provide regular professional development for its IT staff to enable them to maintain the currency of their skills.

"We also see a significant opportunity for the Commonwealth to provide valuable work experience placements for young IT students and graduates, helping to ease the transition between study and full-time work while taking advantage of their training and enthusiasm," he said.

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