Federal Government orders $16 billion ICT review

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Federal Government orders $16 billion ICT review

Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner has appointed the former head of Britain’s Treasury to spearhead an independent review of the Federal Government’s $16 billion ICT bill and curb spending where necessary.

Headed by former UK Government Treasury Office CEO, Sir Peter Gershon, the review will aim to identify ways in which the Government can strengthen its ICT procurement process and how its agencies manage ICT investments, including maintenance, intra-agency links, development and staffing.

“The Australian Government has approximately $10 billion in ICT assets and spends around $6 billion per annum on ICT encompassing procurement, maintenance, development and staff costs. Under the Howard Government, this spending was completely uncoordinated leading to serious inefficiencies and cost blowouts,” Tanner said.

The review, which marks part of a broader ongoing reform agenda, will also examine how to maximise the benefits gained from ICT in driving greater efficiency and better services.

"There are clear opportunities for efficiency gains in information and communication technology. But we also want to use this review to ensure Australians can access convenient and high quality government services,” Tanner said.

Gershon comes into the role with a strong track record in pruning excessive government expenditure. As a leading expert on government procurement, he has overseen two major reviews on behalf of the Blair Government which focused on the areas of ICT and public sector efficiency. The success of these reviews witnessed savings for the British Government of more than $44.4 billion ($23 billion pounds) over three years.

"Sir Peter’s track record at the most senior levels of both industry and government in the UK speaks for itself," Tanner said. “His expertise as an industry leader, strategist and highly effective reviewer of public administration makes him a compelling candidate to review the way in which the Australian Government manages its use of ICT."

Gershon is expected to submit his Australian review to the minister in September.

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