[LINK] Australian Government ICT Gershon Progress Report

Tom Worthington Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Mon Nov 22 11:30:49 AEDT 2010

The report of the "Review Independent Review of Implementation of the
ICT Reform Program" by Dr Ian Reinecke, was released 18 November 2010,
by Gary Gray, Special Minister of State. The 47 page report is available
chapter by chapter as web pages, with the Summary, being a good place to

The review looks at how well they government has implemented the
recommendations of the 2008 Gershon Report on Government Use of ICT.
Progress has been made on the easier of the cost savings recommended by
Gershon but the new report finds more is needed to be done to change ICT
governance in the Australian Public Service, particularly for
whole-of-government initiatives.

Dr Reinecke makes some proposals to continue the Gershon reforms, but
more importantly recommends a modified governance structure. In
particular he proposes a dedicated Ministerial ICT Committee. He also
proposes two qualified independent members from outside the APS to
assist. I am available:
<http://au.linkedin.com/in/tomworthington>. ;-)

While it looks at the role of ministers, departmental secretaries and
AGIMO in the way ICT is done for the Australian Government, the report
does not appear to consider the role of the ICT professional. The 
Gershon reforms have now undone some of the damage from the previous 
outsourcing policy. However the APS needs to rebuild a cadre of ICT 
professionals who can revolutionise the way government business is done, 
to help make the APS efficient, effective and online.

Overall the report gives a positive report on how ICT reforms have gone
and provides useful recommendations for improvement. The government is
likely to be pleased with the results. But while the government has had
this report since June 2010, it is still "considering" it, six months
later. This is an indication that while progress has been made on the
mechanics of implementing ICT, the decision making processes it supports
need radical change to bring them up to the standard expected in the
21st Century.

Technology is at hand to build Government 2.0 cloud based, wireless
enabled systems with mobile tablet interfaces, which can provide
executives with instant, accurate information. My course COMP7420:
Electronic Data Management will teach some of this to public servants at ANU in
early 2011: <http://cs.anu.edu.au/courses/COMP7420/>

But advanced ICT systems will be of little value if the executives who are supposed to use them have been trained in paper based, stream age ways of decision making. The Australian Government needs to extend the
scope of the Gershon reforms, to ensure that the decision making which
uses ICT is also efficient and effective.

Tom Worthington FACS CP HLM, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Computer Science, The
Australian National University http://cs.anu.edu.au/courses/COMP7310/
Visiting Scientist, CSIRO ICT Centre: http://bit.ly/csiro_ict_canberra

  Tom Worthington FACS HLM
  PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia

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