WA looks to create govt CIO

The Western Australian Government is currently considering forming new chief information officer and chief technology officer roles to guide the government through service modernisation.

The Western Australian Government is currently considering forming new chief information officer and chief technology officer roles to guide the government through service modernisation.

Tuesday saw the government release a report on service delivery by the Economic Audit Committee. The report recognised that technology allowed the government to build relationships with the people of the state in a cost-effective manner and enabled networking. It also recognised that IT had not always been handled well in the state.

"Governments and businesses around the world have often struggled with the implementation of ICT infrastructure. Western Australia is no different," the report said. There had been successes, but also times where the government had fallen behind its contemporaries, it said.

"Too often, agencies have demanded that ICT solutions be retro-fitted to create updated versions of existing systems and processes, rather than fundamentally reforming their systems and processes. This approach reduces the effectiveness and increases the cost and time frames of ICT projects."

The committee felt that to make sure the government used technology in a strategic manner it needed a "well resourced" chief information officer to decide on how goals could be met via IT and also a chief technology officer who would be in charge of procurement, standards and system consolidation.

The committee recommended that the roles be created and filled by December 2010.

The report also recommended that the way people dealt with the government be streamlined, using the discussions being held by the Federal Government's Government 2.0 Taskforce as a building block.

"At a minimum, the government's online presence should be easy to navigate, and provide citizens with up-to-date information about services and regulations organised around their needs rather than the administrative structures of government," the committee's report said.

The committee recommended that the community's interaction be simplified by consolidating processing and administration to a single point in government. Payments and concessions could be made easier via new systems, to be developed by 2011. The committee also recommended trialling a smart card for the purpose (on a voluntary basis) by December 2011.

The recommendations will be considered over the next few months.

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