The NSW government has laid to rest speculation about the impending dissolution of shared services agency Businesslink, confirming it will instead be fully merged into the Family and Community Services (FACS) Department.
Businesslink has been under review since the middle of last year, as part of an internal investigation into the best way to source corporate services - including IT - for the FACS cluster of agencies.
Staff were called to meet with managing director Albert Olley yesterday to hear the results of the review, which have been revealed to centre around the organisation becoming a business unit of FACS, under the full authority of the FACS executive.
“This assessment considered both the day-to-day delivery of support services and future support required for a range of significant FACS reforms and concluded that they would benefit from clearer governance and accountability,” a FACS spokesman told iTnews.
“Services currently provided by Businesslink will be brought back into FACS along with all staff, supplier contracts, assets, liabilities, and leases.”
Businesslink currently operates at an arms length to the department as a government-owned corporation, fully funded by fees charged to its public sector clients.
The changes aren’t expected to alter the staffing composition of Businesslink - which has already undergone severe cuts - or the nature of the services it provides.
These “will continue as a priority with emphasis placed on the provision of efficient customer-centred services and commercial practices,” the spokesman confirmed.
Non-FACS clients will continue to be supported, unless they choose to source services elsewhere. The team will continue to be based in Liverpool in Sydney’s western suburbs.
There has been a dark cloud hanging over Businesslink ever since a letter purported to be from Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward requesting Businesslink be dismantled was leaked to The Australian in June last year. Its veracity was never confirmed or denied by the Minister’s office.
In an interview with iTnews earlier this year, Olley acknowledged the subsequent uncertainty about the future of the organisation had placed “a burden” on his 670-odd staff.