Human Services restructures CIO group

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Human Services restructures CIO group

Exclusive: CTO function separated.

The Department of Human Services has restructured its chief information officer group in preparation for the development of its next-generation technology strategy.

The shake-up, which occurred last month, has replaced the CIOG’s chief technology office with two separate divisions focused on strategy and implementation and architecture and innovation.

It follows former ANZ architecture executive Michael McNamara joining the government’s largest IT operation as its permanent chief information officer in January.

McNamara replaced former chief technology officer Charles McHardie, who had been acting in the CIO role since the departure of long-time tech chief Gary Sterrenberg in January 2018 and has also since left the department.  

A DHS spokesperson confirmed the restructure, which established the two new divisions last month to increase CIOG’s focus on forward planning.

CIOG, which is halfway through its seven-year Centrelink payments overhaul known affectionately as the welfare payments infrastructure transformation (WPIT) program, has annual budget of $1 billion and contains around 3000 staff.

“The restructure allows for an increased focus on forward planning as the department’s Technology Plan 2016-20 wraps up and the next generation strategy takes shape,” the spokesperson said.

“Restructures are a regular part of managing such a large organisation to ensure capabilities are aligned with operational needs.”

In the process, however, the functions previously performed by the chief technology officer have been “absorbed under the restructured divisions”.

Mike Brett, who was interim chief technology officer while McHardie was acting in the CIO role and ICT infrastructure general manager before that, recently left the department to become the CIO at Australian Hearing.

CIOG's new IT strategy and implementation division, as its name suggests, is charged with developing and implementing DHS’ technology strategy and planning and monitoring ICT investment.

It assumes the majority of the functions previously held by the chief technology office, including project management and business relationship management and vendor management, as well as a new dedicated ICT shared services branch.

Last week the department began searching for senior executive at the SES level two rank to head up the division, including “overseeing special projects/programmes” such as “rationalising and decommissioning ICT products and applications”.

The architecture and innovation division, on the other hand, has assumed responsibility for the enterprise architecture and ICT product architecture branches.

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