NSW govt consolidates shared services

The New South Wales state government has quietly created a new shared services agency that will, among other things, provide centralised IT services to a large number of departments and agencies.

The New South Wales state government has quietly created a new shared services agency that will, among other things, provide centralised IT services to a large number of departments and agencies.

Dubbed 'ServiceFirst', the agency's web site states it has about 540 staff providing services to about 80 agencies with approximately 8,800 staff. It was created over the past few months from the previous CCSU, CSS and Department of Commerce Shared Services branches.

The services listed on the site include a range of IT offerings including desktop support and service centre, web hosting, application management, security and risk management and datacentre services.

The creation of the department, first heralded by ICT consultancy Intermedium in its regular newsletter, has also seen a number of senior technology staff within the state government shunted into supporting roles.

For example, the consultancy wrote today, former Department of Commerce information management and technology general manager Geoff Tye has taken the role of general manager, strategic IT within the agency.

Wayne Houston, formerly with the state's Department of Primary Industry and Natural Resources and the Department of Education and Training, will be the agency's chief information officer.

The news comes as the Department of Commerce has repeatedly declined to make whole of government chief information officer Emmanuel Rodriguez available to comment on the progress of the state's wide-ranging People First technology consolidation program.

Rodriguez has declined to comment publicly in detail on the plan since he took up the position in November 2007.

A Department of Commerce spokesman tonight said the ServiceFirst initiative was not part of People First, and there was no ulterior motive to the Department of Commerce's failure to announce the creation of the shared services agency. The spokesman said the turmoil which had seen NSW Premier Morris Iemma exit this month, to be replaced with Nathan Rees, had interfered with government plans to disclose the progress of IT initiatives.

The spokesman said NSW was very happy with the progress of People First.

Intermedium said the creation of the agency raised questions about the fate of BusinessLink, an agency within Commerce which it said fulfilled a similar role to ServiceFirst.