Qld Budget to reform shared services

 

Police, CITEC, Health and Education win funding.

The Queensland Government will revamp back-office IT functions such as email, payroll and HR systems under the 2012-13 State Budget, announced yesterday.

The Budget included $3.1 million for a Corporate Solutions program of work, including technical upgrades to payroll systems applications and infrastructure provided by Queensland Shared Services.

An additional $3 million would be spent over two years on GovNet, a whole-of-Government portal for Queensland agencies, supporting service delivery, inter-agency access and connectivity.

Queensland IT Minister Ros Bates hinted at a more competitive approach to providing shared services, as discussed by Queensland Government Chief Information Officer Peter Grant last month.

“Our reform agenda will be a boon for the Queensland IT industry, starting with the outsourcing of payroll functions for the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts," she said.

CITEC's future

Budget papers revealed a new program called ICT Strategic Procurement may eventually replace CITEC, the State Government’s primary technology service provider for its agencies.

CITEC’s operating revenue grew by approximately 5.5 percent over the past year, driven by an increased uptake of CITEC services by Queensland Government agencies.

Operating expenses were affected by an increase in depreciation associated with the Identity, Directory and Email Service (IDES) and ICT Consolidation (ICTC) programs of work resulting in a significant deficit in 2011-12.

The Government’s decision to cancel IDES was a major reason for returning CITEC to profitability in 2012-13, along with reviews of ICTC and other products to identify additional opportunities to gain efficiencies, reduce waste and ensure better value for money.

Budget papers indicated that CITEC would continue developing managed services in partnership with the ICT industry to deliver cost effective products to support frontline services.

CITEC would focus on “low cost solutions” through consolidation, standardisation and economies of scale, budget papers noted.

Its “immediate imperative” was to use Government spending in core ICT infrastructure services and capability and exploit the whole-of-Government infrastructure services platform.

An upcoming Government IT Audit was also expected to clarify whole-of-Government ICT and CITEC’s role in delivering those services along with further investigations into “opportunities for cloud and managed services” with industry.

Queensland allocated a further $17.2 million in funds to CITEC to maintain and improve information and communication technology across the Queensland Government, including the consolidation of data centres, networks and infrastructure.

Highlights and lowlights

In confirming that some 14,000 public service jobs will go in the Budget, Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls observed that IT changes would provide opportunities for “former [public sector] employees”.

“We need a public sector that works with, not competes against, the private sector,” he said.

Queensland Health bore the brunt of the State Government's staff cuts, expecting to shed 2754 full-time jobs -- including 140 IT jobs -- in the next six months.

The Budget allocated $66.3 million in capital spend to replacement and upgrade of Health IT equipment, and $99.4 million for locally managed, minor capital projects and equipment in Health's Hospital and Health Services arm.

A further $4 million was allocated to other Health ICT programs including e-Health Clinical Systems and other software developments.

This week's Budget provided $27.1 million to the Queensland Police Service for a range of ICT initiatives, including:

  • $10.8 million as part of an ongoing technology refresh and improvement program that underpins frontline policing services across Queensland by maintaining critical ICT infrastructure;
  • $3.7 million for the $22 million digital Integrated Traffic Camera System project;
  • $3.6 million to complete the rollout of the $13.9 million QPS Computer Aided Dispatch system, QCAD, expected to improve public and officer safety in Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton and Toowoomba by enabling more efficient responses to calls for service and management of frontline resources;
  • $2 million for the completion of stage 2 of the new $11.2 million Weapons Licensing Management System, including an online applications capability.

But the Government also sought to save $6.9 million over four years by halting the development of a Discipline and Complaints Management System for the Police Service.

In education, the Government pledged $3.5 million to a “Tablet Technology for Special Needs students” initiative that would provide 20 tablets to every Queensland State Special school, and 10 tablets to schools with special education programs for use by students with special needs.

Some $24 million over four years would be invested into a new property titles scheme, funded in part by a $15 increase in lodgement fees for titles. The scheme would upgrade Queensland’s Automated Titles System, the Digital Cadastral Database and the state's Valuations and Sales Database.

Queensland's Budget provided $6.78 million to upgrade Queensland Treasury's Revenue Management System (RMS), including $3.45 million for RMS enhancements and $1.3 million to replace the electronic documents and records management system.

The State's Fire and Rescue Service won a further $6.7 million for operational and communications equipment and a further $2.8 million for information systems enhancements.

Bates said the Government would also develop a “One Stop Shop” to provide Queenslanders with easy and convenient access to Government information online, over the phone and face-to-face.

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