Victoria Police is desperate to hire a chief information officer and project managers who aren't going to leave after a short time.
After years of troubled projects and multiple unfavourable audit reports, the police want to move ahead into modern policing. That means having a stable IT infrastructure and a stable IT team.
Unfortunately, neither of those are easy to find without the right incentives, it seems.
All eyes turned to Victoria Police back in 2008 when former Victoria Police CIO Valda Berzins left her role just as her department was facing an investigation. A board of management was put into place to take over the Business and Information Technology Services Division.
Mid-2009 and Victoria Police was on the hunt for a new executive to replace the board. By September it had found its man, appointing Michael Vanderheide, who had been leading up the Australian Capital Territory's shared services operation InTACT.
Unfortunately, he stayed there for less than two years, moving across to become the chief executive of CenITex, Victoria's shared services agency in May 2011. And, according to a report released last week by the Victorian State Services Authority (VSSA), his position hasn't been filled.
So even if the force has managed to get over all the hurdles it has run into in the past, including the procurement issues and making a decision to put a database replacement project on ice until a new business case can be worked out for it, there is still no one at the helm, leaving the door wide open for such problems to occur again.
The VSSA report recognised this, saying that:
Future delivery of major IT cannot be achieved by Victoria Police without a replacement for the former executive director IT and Infrastructure, Mr Vanderheide. His replacement must have a background and experience of the highest quality. The position, which should report to the new position of chief operating officer, is critical.
Perhaps the most illuminating sentences, however, are:
The terms of engagement need to be such that it will be attractive for the candidate to remain with Victoria Police in the long term. As such, Victoria Police should not be constrained by public sector remuneration guidelines in the recruitment of this senior IT executive.
Did you hear that? They're willing to offer lots of money to get someone who is going to remain for the long haul.
But it's not just the CIO who stands to gain.
The inquiry also identified a "systemic problem of constant turnover of project staff, executive sponsors and steering committee members".
There were a number of ways that the report suggested addressing this, but the one that sang out about the money was:
Steps should be taken to avoid high turnover of project staff, in particular the project manager, with a recognition that these projects demand talented, experienced personnel/organisations to drive efficient project management and methodology and thus appropriate remuneration.
So if you're working for Victoria Police's IT division and fancy a pay rise or better conditions, now is the time to ask, pointing at the report to back you up. If you'd like a new job and want great conditions, maybe you should consider working there, as the organisation will probably say yes.