Gershon ICT review to be implemented ‘in full’

By Adam Coleman

Today the Rudd Government announced that it will implement “in full” the recommendations of Sir Peter Gershon’s review of the Commonwealth’s use of information and communications technology (ICT).

The Gershon review recommends a major program of both administrative reform and cultural change within the Australian Public Service.

Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner said the decision further illustrates the Government’s commitment to a “Razor Gang process” designed to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and coordination of government expenditure.

 “This decision represents the most significant change in the use and management of ICT in the Australian Government to date. We will act decisively in applying Sir Peter’s recommendations.”

Sir Peter Gershon had previously stated that he was confident that the review’s recommendations can be successfully implemented over the next two to three years, and that they “will deliver substantial benefits to the Australian Government”.

Minister Tanner said the Federal Government’s goal is to return efficiencies to the Budget and to reduce expenditure on ICT business-as-usual while freeing up money for service delivery capability.

“The Review’s recommendations provide a new model for the effective and efficient use of ICT within the Australian Government. This is a turning point, rebalancing the highly-decentralised ICT administration in government and focusing on efficient and effective ICT expenditure and management.”

Minister Tanner also announced that the Government will reduce the number of ICT contractors by 50 per cent phased in over 2009, 2010 and 2011. He said that ICT Review Teams will work with agencies to deliver reductions to agency “business as usual” ICT budgets, saving around $400M annually once fully implemented.

Around $200 million of these saved funds will be reinvested to improve agency ICT capability.

“This savings exercise will be done in a way that does not impede service delivery to citizens and businesses. Reductions averaging 15 per cent for larger agencies and 7.5 per cent for mid-sized agencies are expected and achievable.”

The staged roll out of the Review’s recommendation will commence immediately in line with the implementation strategy proposed in the review. 

Sir Peter Gershon is the former chief executive of the UK treasury.

To download the review (pdf) click here.

More detail on the Review’s recommendations can be found here.

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