Benchmark Awards 2019 Finalist: Fiona Sparks, Department of Health and Human Services Victoria

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Benchmark Awards 2019 Finalist: Fiona Sparks, Department of Health and Human Services Victoria
Fiona Sparks

Mobilising over 100 projects.

Fiona Sparks leads the Strategy & Design team of the Business Technology & Information Management branch at the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Sparks has been in charge of mobilising over 100 projects whose investment portfolio reached $130 million this year as part of her leadership of the department’s IT strategy, planning and budgeting processes.

The key focus of these projects has been to enable application modernisation and multi-agency information sharing - both of which had been stymied by the perceived cost and difficulty of updating systems and procedures.

Among her many successes was the strategy and service design work which created a suite of Integrated Community Services Solutions, leveraging API Gateway technology to replace fax machines for improved information sharing and integration of services responses across Police, Courts, Corrections, DHHS agencies, as well as over 50 community service organisations (CSOs) across the state.

These information sharing systems were iteratively upgraded from 2017 onwards, resulting in the automation of some referrals, including the L17 Family Violence referral.

Compared to sending faxes, the automated processes have proved themselves to be far more efficient and accurate.

On top of improving service response for women and children in domestic violence situations, Sparks’ leadership in developing multi-agency systems has underpinned the development of an entirely new agency called Family Safety Victoria (FSV).

Sparks’ work on these projects has continued garnered increasing interest and support from senior executives and steering committees, leading to a year-on-year increase in DHHS’ IT investment portfolio - from around $20 million in the 2015/16 financial year, to $130 million in FY18.

Additionally, Sparks has delivered several major ICT Strategy projects including:
• The DHHS Business Technology Strategy – to articulate the strategic directions, principles and roadmap for the department’s business applications and infrastructure.
• Housing Systems Strategy – to assess options and proposed a roadmap for the modernisation of the department’s core social housing systems.
• Integrated Client & Case Management System Strategy - to assess options and provide a proposed roadmap for the replacement of the department’s mission-critical child protection case management system.
• Community Services Sector ICT Strategy – to articulate a vision, principles roadmap and governance arrangements for business applications across the ecosystems of the community services sector. This is the first strategy of its type in Victoria. The key goal is to improve collaboration, service integration and information sharing between the department and CSOs, and across the human services sector more generally.

Fiona Sparks has been named a finalist in the Rising Star category of the iTnews Benchmark Awards 2018/19.

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