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 pointed out 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.
"Once you go to an outsourced call centre environment that figure typically drops to about 15 per cent; we might find the 80 per cent first-in correction rate drop to 15 per cent which could have a serious impact on us."
Recognising the special needs of science body in the Group 9 outsourcing 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 bureau's systems remain in-house.
While the government's $5 billion outsourcing initiative -- which covers 50 federal agencies -- has been stalled by a review announced last month the Minister for Finance John Fahey said the program will continue.
The closing date for tenders for Group 11 has been delayed until January 31, 2001.
Group 11 covers the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, the Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business, the Department of Treasury, the National Library of Australia and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.