Storm brews over outsourcing

Software support at Australia's Bureau of Meteorology could drop by more than 50 per cent if it is outsourced to private industry, according to a consultancy review prepared for the forecasting body.

The findings show outsourcing could have a "serious impact on operations" the Bureau of Meteorology's acting deputy director, Dr Geoff Love, told a Senate estimate committee hearing last week.

He said the bureau develops its own software and most faults come from its own systems, enabling 90 per cent of faults to be fixed within an hour of a complaint. "We had a consultancy review of our software in terms of the potential for outsourcing and they came back saying we were unusual because our response to faults is very high; there is an 80 to 90 per cent first-tier correction of problems," Love said.

"In an outsourced call centre environment that figure typically drops to about 15 per cent; which could have a serious impact on us."

Recognising the special needs of science bodies in the Group 9 CSIRO tender, the Office of Asset Sales and IT Outsourcing (OASITO) commissioned a scoping study.

The study has identified five possible outsourcing models, one of which proposes the bureau's systems remain in-house.

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