Who will be iTnews’ Government CIO of the year?

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Who will be iTnews’ Government CIO of the year?

Police forces battle it out against Treasury.

The field of candidates for the 2013 Government CIO of the year award has been exceptional.

The level of innovation being shown in state government agencies in particular was a very pleasant surprise, and we hope to highlight some of these success stories over the coming months.

In terms of a measurable return on investment tangible right through the business, three candidates rose to the top of our list.

In a year where all of the nation’s police forces worked towards the law enforcement holy grail – keeping officers out of the office and on the beat – two of the strongest efforts were chosen as finalists.

Both the Queensland Police and NSW Police realised that the secret to boosting performance is to improve the systems that they use every day to access and enter incident data into their core databases. The potential benefit to their operations can't be understated.

In a very different line of work – but one that is no less in the public spotlight – the federal Treasury has shored up its disaster recovery to the point where should crisis hit – the hope is that nobody would notice.

Our candidates for Government CIO of the year:


Chris Robson – NSW Police Force

COPS Modernisation + mobile traffic infringement notices

The NSW Police Force conducted two intertwined projects in 2013. The path to becoming a modern and agile force required the replacement of its 15 year-old, mainframe based Computerised Operational Policing System.

The two stages of the replacement now completed have delivered a graphical user interface to replace the MS-DOS green screen of old, search functionality and a modern back-office architecture.

While these changes on their own have made a difference to the working life of the state's frontline police, they have also opened the way for a true grass-roots innovation in the form of a mobile application that allows traffic officers to submit infringement notices from iPads by leveraging the AWS public cloud.

A pilot has been delivered by Superintendent Karen McCarthy and her team at the Botany Local Area Command, a tool made by cops for cops and forecast to recoup a whopping 224,000 patrol hours each year.

The judges noted:

The NSW Police Force has 'bit the bullet' and finally decided to upgrade its ageing COPS system. While the hardest work remains ahead of it, the COPS modernisation project has already kicked some important goals that officers will appreciate well into the future. A mobile device pilot and new app are evidence of what a more modern back-end system can deliver to frontline police. 


David Johnson – Queensland Police Service


The Queensland Police’s own mobile pilot, based on the QLiTE app developed under the guidance of acting Chief Superintendent David Johnson, is going from strength to strength. The 50 iPad-strong pilot has already been expanded to 395 due to demand, with 1200 devices sought before November’s G20 summit.

QLiTE allows officers to conduct police checks online from the road, “avoiding lengthy radio queues, maintaining higher visibility” and generally getting “more work done”, the force says. The business case for a full roll-out argues that it could cut office administration time by 25 percent.

Thinking towards the future, the HTML5-based deployment allows the technology platform to be switched in the future if need be.

The judges noted:

A well overdue mobility drive at Queensland Police is delivering significant back office savings. It has been enthusiastically embraced from the chief down to the feet on the street, and has been architected to take advantage of consumerisation with an eye on avoiding lock-in. A smart, easy win for the Queensland Police Service that is set to reap big rewards.


Peter Alexander – Treasury

Disaster Recovery Improvement Program (DRIP)

Back in 2007, when the Commonwealth Treasury backed up to tape, it took up to six weeks to recover data if something went wrong. This was not acceptable to CIO Peter Alexander.

He embarked on what he describes as “Treasury’s largest ever IT project”, selling the scheme to Treasury officials by giving them nightmares about the threat of a budget-week crash.

With the project now done and dusted – including an active-active data centre configuration – Alexander hopes that nobody will notice in the case of a disaster.

The judges noted:

DRIP delivers active-active operations between Treasury's data centre and peers in the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Other Government CIOs are now lining up to peer in the same way to ensure their own systems remain available. Alexander faced a tough pitch and managed to calculate a return for Treasury stakeholders. The project has delivered additional mobility and maintenance benefits.


Special thanks to our sponsors: The Australian Computer Society, Dimension Data Learning Solutions and Samsung.

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