The Western Australian Government has called for submissions for an inquiry it announced last month into information and communications technology procurement and contract management in the state. The WA public sector spends at least $1 billion per year on ICT goods and services.
Explaining the need for an inquiry, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has issued a statement saying: “Over the last ten years, consecutive governments have struggled to ensure that the significant expenditure on ICT is achieving the best possible outcomes.
“The WA Government has been criticised by industry, the media and the Auditor General for its lack of capacity in delivering ICT projects and achieving positive ICT outcomes more generally.”
The inquiry is the result of a 2014 report by Auditor-General Colin Murphy, which found the state was paying much more than it needed to for ICT and should tighten its technology procurement practices.
The WA Government announced in its May state budget that it would cut more than $100 million from the ICT budgets of individual departments and agencies, establish instead a central ‘ICT Renewal and Reform’ fund, and appoint a state Chief Information Officer, who will sit within the Department of Finance and develop a whole of government ICT plan.
The PAC says submissions should address any of the following questions:
- What are the common problems witnessed in public sector delivery of ICT goods and services?
- What elements represent best practice in ICT delivery?
- How do we best measure or define success in ICT delivery?
- What are the latest developments (domestic or international), in the area of government ICT systems?
- What jurisdictions (domestic or international) have adopted the latest developments in government ICT systems that have demonstrably reduced the cost, and improved the delivery, of government services?
- Could such systems be incorporated into Western Australia? If so, what factors need to be taken into account to ensure successful implementation?
The PAC says the inquiry may also show how new technologies and service delivery models might “present new ways for governments to deliver services, engage with the community and save costs.” It lists these as:
- Implementing policies that drive and guide government adoption of new service delivery models and technologies, such as cloud computing.
- Stimulating and developing local industry through universities, start-ups and small to medium enterprises.
- Creating online ‘one stop shop’ portals to rationalise and simplify government services.
- Centralisation and consolidation strategies to reduce costs such as purpose built government data centres.
- Revisiting and redeveloping ICT procurement strategies and frameworks.
Submissions close on 11 September 2015 and the PAC intends reporting to Parliament by 28 August 2016.
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