The NSW government’s portfolio of judicial and emergency services agencies is ready to begin the process of consolidating its back office IT.
The writing has been on the wall for the justice cluster - which includes police, firies and the courts - since 2010, when the government revealed plans to bundle its shared services functions into several coordinated groups. The project included multi-tenanted provider ServiceFirst targeting smaller agencies, and Businesslink focusing on the family and community services cluster.
Health and education agencies have already rationalised their corporate services into a single unit covering HR, procurement, finance and IT, and Transport has commenced the process. The justice cluster, which collectively employs 40,000 full-time equivalent staff and 90,000 volunteers, is now set to follow.
The Department of Attorney General and Justice is leading the initiative and has invited bids from consultancies willing to help it through the transformation.
The task involves “numerous highly specialised, complex works that have not been undertaken on a cluster wide scale in DAGJ”, according to tender documents.
The documents also reveal the cluster is hoping to limit its ERP systems landscape to no more than two instances of SAP out of the “number and variety” its agencies currently maintain.
Rather than building a brand new whole-of-cluster solution, it is looking to expand either of the two ECC6.0 instances currently in use by agencies. The state government’s cloud policy will also oblige it to entertain the option of moving these services to the cloud.
Previous government reports into the process have suggested systems architecture across the cluster will be based on that of Fire and Rescue NSW.
In unison with the software rationalisation, the cluster will attempt the ambitious task of standardising business processes across the diverse and stanchly independent agencies which make it up, including the NSW Police Force, NSW Fire and Rescue, the State Emergency Service and the NSW Crime Commission, among others.
It also plans to use the shared corporate services reforms as an opportunity to consolidate IT infrastructure across the cluster and to implement common mechanisms for reporting, performance monitoring and analysis of this collected data.
In 2011 the NSW Commission of Audit, led by Kerry Schott, criticised the “glacial rate” that the corporate and shared services model was being implemented across the state’s various agency clusters.
Schott also recommended the justice cluster stage its shared services roll-out and leave the amalgamation of NSW Police to the very end, when all the systems and processes are up and running.
The government committed in principle to address the issues the commission identified.