Senior NSW CIOs will become the effective gatekeepers to state IT funding, with new government investment guidelines bolstering the role that the state’s ICT Leadership Group will play in evaluating pitches for budgetary support.
The new policy, approved last December and released today by Finance and Services Minister Andrew Constance, will see the ICT Leadership Group become the first port of review for business cases and investment proposals awaiting approval.
This means agency IT leaders will have to face the scrutiny of their peers before their initiatives are escalated to Cabinet for funding approval.
The Leadership Group is made up of chief information officers representing each of the nine portfolio clusters inside the NSW government, plus senior business managers – often at the deputy secretary level – from across the public service.
Its primary purpose is to act as a brains trust to the state’s peak IT decision making body, the ICT Board.
Under a new three-phase pathway to IT project approval, agencies will have an opportunity to discuss their proposals with the Leadership Group and get their feedback before formalising a plan.
The 20-person panel will then assess whether the plan is in keeping with IT policies already handed down by government, and pass this advice on to the ICT Board before a formal funding submission to the Cabinet’s expenditure review committee is completed.
Constance believes fellow CIOs are in a unique position to assess whether their projects represent opportunities for cloud provisioning, greater standardisation with other products used within the state already, and most importantly to pick out where solutions already in use – possibly within their own agencies – that could be leveraged to satisfy the agency’s needs.
“The framework is designed to minimise duplication and support common approaches that promote efficiencies across government,” the Minister said in a statement.
“It will identify opportunities to deliver more efficient and effective ICT investment through early consideration of different sourcing strategies.”
The move adds an extra layer of accountability the government hopes will see its IT procurement rules made into reality.
It also formalises a number of monitoring powers for the ICT Board itself, including the right to request progress reports on individual projects when it sees fit.