Victoria Police hires long-time health CIO

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Victoria Police hires long-time health CIO
Steve Hodgkinson

As new digital chief.

Victorian Department of Health chief information officer Steve Hodgkinson will call time on a seven-year career to move to Victoria Police.

Hodgkinson took to LinkedIn on Thursday to announce he would join the force on April 11 as its new chief digital officer.

He replaces former Victoria Police CDO Bret Giles, who left Australia’s second largest police force after five years in late 2021.

“After seven years as CIO in Victoria's health and human services departments I am moving on to become the CDO at Victoria Police,” Hodgkinson said.

Having remained CIO through three iterations of the state’s health and human services portfolio, Hodgkinson has considerable public sector experience.

He joined the then Department of Health and Human Services in December 2014 after eight years as global chief analyst for public sector research at analyst firm Ovum.

Last year, following a restructure that resulted in the creation of the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, he became the CIO of the Department of Health.

Hodgkinson told iTnews that his time leading the business technology and management branch has been a “wonderful privilege”, despite the changes brough by successive restructures.

But he said that “seven years is a long time in the CIO game, so I think it is time for me to take what I have learned and pursue the next challenge and let somebody else lead the way forward in health”.

In that time, Hodgkinson said there had been some “great successes”, not least of which was the department’s shift to a NET framework and microservices architecture on Microsoft Azure approach.

“We are one of the few large public sector agencies that can say that over a half of our applications are built in modern, secure, public cloud service platforms,” he said.

Dubbed ‘platform+agile’, the approach allowed the department to move into the “cloud services, agile and devops era”, and has been a springboard for a large number of new systems.

Systems include the Victorian health incident management system, the client incident management system and the L17 Family Violence Triage Portal.

“[These] enabled critical policy reforms and transformed service delivery for the better – without creating the project dramas and cost/time blowouts that are accepted as normal in the public sector,” Hodgkinson said.

Platform+agile also allowed the department to the respond to pandemic, forming the basis of the state's Covid test tracker and contact tracing systems.

“Covid test tracker was the best example of how the platform+agile approach really enabled the in-house team to deliver awesome outcomes,” he said.

“The agile approach enabled a working system to be launched in weeks and then to adapt flexibly as the pandemic evolved.

“We shared the IP at no cost with SA, WA and Canberra Health. This was public sector IT at its best I think – affordable, adaptive, highly secure, sustainable and capacity building.”

Hodgkinson said he was looking forward to joining Victoria Police, a “large and complex frontline service delivery organisation with a clear public purpose”.

“There is an exciting digitisation agenda ahead in policing, so I’m looking forward to playing a part in leading this journey,” he said.

“I’ll be responsible for digital innovation and working with the in-house IT team to develop productive and sustainable ways of delivering and supporting modern digital solutions.

“This will be a great opportunity to apply everything that I have learned at DHHS to evolve the platform+agile thinking to the next level.”

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