The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has labelled a newspaper report "factually incorrect" that said it had moved to a strategy of centralised IT procurement before the findings of the Gershon Review which will be released next month.
The Australian Financial Review yesterday reported the government was finalising the scope of a new special unit within the Department of Finance and Deregulation that had been set up to police technology pricing.
The newspaper added senior bureaucrats had been warned that centralised purchasing for telecommunications, printers and Microsoft products would begin within weeks.
"The article in the AFR today [26 August 2008] is factually incorrect," a departmental spokesperson told ZDNet.com.au late yesterday.
"There is no coordinated procurement office in the department," the spokesperson said, although they added government has previously looked into coordinated procurement across all products, not just IT.
"Finance is responsible for examining opportunities for coordinated procurement arrangements ... similar arrangements that have existed for a number of years are the government motor vehicle fleet contract and the master media placement contracts for Commonwealth advertising," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson further denied any link with the Gershon Review. "The Gershon Review is not finalised and the report to the Government is yet to be provided," they said.
Sir Peter Gershon
(Credit: Office of the Minister for Finance and Deregulation)
It is not known if centralised procurement will be a feature of the upcoming review into government technology spending by British efficiency expert Sir Peter Gershon. Gershon's previous review of public sector efficiency in the UK lead to substantial job cuts across many government departments, including IT.
Gershon was recruited by Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner in April this year to become part of the Federal Government's budget "Razor Gang". He had previously been able to slash AU$49 billion from the UK's public sector budget.
Current Australian government departments reviewed by Gershon include Centrelink, Medicare Australia, the Australian Tax Office, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, and the Attorney General's Department. Findings from the review are expected to be published in September.