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
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
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
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
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
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.