Government begins search for smart card 'advisors'

The government today kicked off its search for individuals and organisations that will help ensure its AU$1 billion smart card project is built on relevant technology and delivered to budget.On Thursday, the Minister for Human Services, Joe Hockey put out two tender notices; one for a lead advisor to help with the overall delivery of the health and welfare services smart card and the second for an organisation to monitor and audit the card's progress from conception to delivery.

The government today kicked off its search for individuals and organisations that will help ensure its AU$1 billion smart card project is built on relevant technology and delivered to budget.

On Thursday, the Minister for Human Services, Joe Hockey put out two tender notices; one for a lead advisor to help with the overall delivery of the health and welfare services smart card and the second for an organisation to monitor and audit the card's progress from conception to delivery.

"The two key advisory roles will ensure that the initiative receives the best independent expert advice -- in terms of both overall strategy and audit and assurance, said the Minister in a statement. "These appointments signal that the implementation of the access card is very much ontrack and progressing according to plan".

Full details of the tenders will be posted on the AusTender Web site on May 15.

In addition, Hockey is also looking to recruit a Deputy Secretary to head up the project within the Office of Access Card, which is being established within the Department of Human Services: "I am also looking for a highly experienced senior manager to lead the implementation of the project and ensure it is delivered on time and on budget".

Hockey said there were no restrictions on whom can apply for the job as long as they are suitably qualified.

"I am looking forward to getting applications from a broad range of qualified people, from both the public and private sector," he said.

Adverts for the Deputy Secretary position will appear nationally but potential applicants will have to show an interest by May 25.

The government is also expected to advertise for the position of chief technology architect in coming weeks.

The lead advisor is expected to provide independent input to the government on issues such as the best way of delivering the access card within cost and schedule constraints and quality requirements and the risk framework for the program.

The access card is expected to replace 17 health and social services cards and vouchers, including the Medicare card.

Registration for the card is expected to kick off in 2008 with all members of the public who wish to access health and social services benefits required to use one from 2010. The government expects the cards will be replaced every seven to 10 years.

The card is expected to cost AU$1.09 billion over four years while generating savings of AU$3 billion over 10 years, according to KPMG.

According to government documents, the registration system underpinning the card will be established separately from Medicare Australia, Centrelink and the Department of Veterans Affairs information systems "and will not hold any sensitive or agency-specific information".

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