ACT told to overhaul systems, hire IT tsar

A review into the Australian Capital Territory Public Service (ACTPS) has recommended that key legacy IT systems and processes be overhauled in line with the state government's move towards consolidating government departments.

A review into the Australian Capital Territory Public Service (ACTPS) has recommended that the service's key legacy IT systems and processes be overhauled in conjunction with the state government's move towards consolidating government departments.

The review (PDF) into the ACT public sector was conducted by Dr Allen Hawke who has previously held senior roles in the public sector, including being secretary of the Federal Veterans Affairs, Transport and Regional Services, as well as Defence Departments. In this review he recommends that all existing administrative units be abolished and rolled into a single super-department, headed-up by a single chief executive.

Submissions to the review, which the review heeded, widely expressed the need to modernise key IT systems before the changes to the public sector department changes are implemented.

Suggested changes include an overhaul of the state's ageing payroll system for public service staff, as well as a revamp of InTACT, the state's shared services provider.

"Unions ACT noted in its submission to the review, for example, that InTACT and the payroll systems employed by the ACT Government are both outdated and often incompatible with other software used by departments," the review said.

"Shared Services are often unable to provide employees with accurate records of leave owing, long service records or other leave information. This is particularly evident when people become redundant or resign from the service," it added.

According to the review, the system was becoming so outdated that some employees have had to calculate their own entitlements and provide their own proof of employment to justify payout entitlements.

"This is very poor for a modern service trying to operate in a competitive labour market and affects the reputation of the ACT public sector," it said.

The review also recommended that a new chief information officer role should be created within the chief executive's office to oversee whole-of-government IT operations as well as data storage for freedom of information requests, record keeping and the development of a stable of business analysts who would assist in business improvement projects.

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