Australia’s peak information industry body has urged the Western Australian government to introduce a series of new measures modelled on NSW to drive major improvements to digital services delivery.
The AIIA will today release an ICT industry position paper that calls for the state to better leverage "ICT and digital to drive efficiencies, deliver cost savings and underpin regional growth", ahead of the release of the government's service priority review in October.
The review aims to reform the functions, operations and culture of the WA public sector, with one of the terms of reference focused on whether government services, programs and projects can be delivered more efficiently or effectively, including through a whole-of-government digital strategy.
"With WA starting at the lowest national position in public sector ICT delivery, we have the opportunity to leapfrog and deliver the world’s best digital services and lower cost to the taxpayer," the report states.
The position paper points to the NSW government’s experience during the 2008 global financial crisis and how ICT and digital transformation initiatives were used to make "many difficult decisions and enact painful structural reforms".
"Since making these reforms, NSW has gone from being one of the worst performing states to now being clear leader in public sector ICT delivery nationally," the AIIA said.
In NSW, the priorities include having 70 percent of government transactions conducted digitally by 2019, which the government is well on track to meet.
"These initiatives have demonstrated the strong value in putting forward clearly defined results that focus on a clear and measurable outcome," the AIIA report states.
The industry body also recommends creating a digital council focused on driving improvements to digital government, analytics, and cybersecurity, to add to the state’s existing governance mechanisms, including the directors general ICT council and the ICT advisory committee.
"Ideally this would be chaired by the minister for ICT and would have broad stakeholder representation across industry, business and government," the report states.
A similar digital council was established in NSW in 2015, but has since been replaced.
The report also recommends prioritising innovative procurement reforms, and using data analytics to "implement, measure and monitor whole-of-government KPIs".
The state's first innovation and ICT minister Dave Kelly told iTnews the report provided “valuable industry perspective on how we can improve our economy and better deliver services”.
“For example, the proposed ‘WA priorities program’ is very similar to the whole-of-sector key performance indicators government has commissioned the service priority review to consider," he said.
The McGowan government has previously acknowledged that WA is "woefully behind the other states when it comes to government IT policy".
The government is waiting until the outcome of the service review before defining its new IT strategy.