Senate to investigate management of public sector contracts

Poor management of IT outsourcing contracts by Federal Goverment agencies will be at the centre of hearings before the Finance and Public Administration References Committee in coming months.

The Senate inquiry will examine public sector training and determine whether current qualifications are robust enough to manage contracts and ensure public sector agencies are informed buyers when purchasing.

IT opposition spokeswoman Senator Kate Lundy said as part of the move away from the controversial whole of government IT Outsourcing program the public sector needs to ensure it has the skills base necessary to implement "strategic IT outsourcing" over the next 12 months.

"Now is the time for selective outsourcing; it is a buyer's market and it is being led by some of the largest government agencies such as Centrelink and the CSIRO," Lundy said.

The inquiry will examine the skills gap that contributed to contract management issues bought to light following reviews of the Government's outsourcing program.

Lundy said the terms of reference for the inquiry will examine what skills are required for commonwealth employees to improve software purchasing as well as identify a broad range of other training needs. The committee will table the report in December.

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