NSW Govt turns strict on ICT procurement

The state government is taking the advice of a Commission of Audit report to rein in ICT spending.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

The NSW Government will be making changes to its ICT procurement process, following recommendations from the Commission of Audit.

In a report released last week, the Commission looked at NSW's overall spending, making 132 recommendations, of which a handful were ICT-related.

The NSW Government spends over $2 billion a year on ICT. The report noted that overall government expenditure outweighs its revenue significantly, and desperately needs to be reined in. A number of remedies were outlined in the report, including making better use of volume discounts, collaboration between agencies and possible outsourcing of ICT services.

"For many years, financial management in NSW has been confusing, lacking in transparency and below the standards expected of efficient and effective government," the report said.

Setting clear business and cost expectations to IT service providers before a project commences, was one of the recommendations made by the report. IT projects should be driven by business outcomes, not technical specifications, according to the Commission.

The report also noted that IT projects should be "carefully scoped, and that no budget be set until a firm costing can be made after the design phase".

NSW Government fully supported those recommendations, which are aligned with its ICT Strategy 2012, and state government will be applying these changes to all its agencies.

The Commission recommended that the Department of Finance and Services (DFS) should partner up with the Public Service Commission to improve the overall procurement capabilities of the NSW public sector.

The DFS is already looking into that, and is in talks with the Public Service Commission.

"Improving the procurement capabilities of the NSW public sector is the next major component of the Minister for Finance and Service's Review of Government Procurement, to be overseen by the proposed NSW Procurement Board," the NSW Government said in its response to the Commission's report.

The outcome of the review should encompass construction and ICT procurement capabilities as well, according to the NSW Government.

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