The NSW Department of Education and Training has dodged questions on how the state government's review of IT spending is progressing.
The department was selected to be one of the first agencies to
be put under the microscope to find savings from various areas including information
technology. ZDNet.com.au asked the department how the review was
progressing, how much the department considered could be saved and
when the "line-by-line" review was due to finish.
"The NSW Government's review of ICT services has begun with the
Department of Education and Training the first agency to begin this
process. The department is currently in preliminary discussions
with NSW Treasury," the department said in a statement.
The review, to be conducted by the "Better Services and Value
announced in the state's budget in June. The government hoped
to make savings so as to keep expenditure growth at 4 per cent per annum.
The taskforce was to be formed of an independent chair, the NSW
Treasury Secretary Michael Schur, the Director General of the
Department of Premier and Cabinet John Lee and an independent
member from the private sector.
In August, economist Stephen
Sedgwick was appointed chair for the taskforce. Sedgwick has been hired as a consultant. He
is currently a director of the Melbourne Institute of Applied
Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne and a
director of the Asian Development Bank in Manila. He has over 30
years of experience in the Australian public service and once
served as the secretary for the Commonwealth Department of Finance.
Sedgwick is supported by Deputy Secretary of Treasury Stephen
Brady who was appointed to head the new Expenditure Review
Directorate in NSW Treasury. Temporary independent members with
specialist knowledge in IT would also be appointed.
The taskforce was meant to meet on a monthly basis, according to
an answer in July to Liberal MP Peter Debnam's questions in the legislative assembly.
According to the answer to another Debnam question from 13
October, the taskforce had at least met in September but no
independent member had yet been appointed to join its ranks.
"The taskforce met in September 2009 in NSW Treasury offices and
discussed a range of matters, including the terms of reference of
the taskforce, performance efficiency issues and agency
amalgamations. A process is underway to select an independent
member," the answer from Premier Nathan Rees' office read.
On 20 October Debnam asked again if an independent member had
been appointed, but has yet not been given an answer.