WA launches inquiry into govt IT buying

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WA launches inquiry into govt IT buying

Will look beyond state borders for tips on best practice.

The WA parliament’s public accounts committee has launched an inquiry into how effectively the state government buys IT and wrings value out of its ongoing contracts.

The review was triggered by a 2014 report by state auditor-general Colin Murphy who found WA would continue to pay millions above what it needed to for IT if it didn't tighten its technology procurement. 

Murphy pointed to the state health department's failed identity access management project - and an analysis of public sector cloud contracts that found they lacked any offshore data or infosec provisions - as evidence of a failing framework for IT management.

The committee estimated that WA spends somewhere in the vicinity of $1 billion every year on technology and telecommunications.

“The ongoing procurement of ICT goods and services is critical to the efficient and effective delivery of government services. Yet the process of procuring these goods and services often proves challenging for individual agencies,” the committee wrote.

The group, led by committee chair and Liberal MP Sean L’Estrange, said it would look into solutions deployed elsewhere in Australia and overseas to identify “models of best practice” that could potentially be applied to Western Australia.

It intends for its investigation to work in unison with the pending appointment of WA’s first government chief information officer, who is due to take office on 1 July.

One of the GCIO’s first jobs will be to map out a plan for reducing IT costs across government. In its 2015 state budget, the WA government flagged $110 million worth of agency IT cuts over the next four years.

The public accounts committeewill report in August next year.

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