The New South Wales government chief information officer Paul Edgecumbe has outlined how much of the state's ageing IT infrastructure will be consolidated as part of a four year plan to reap AU$565 million in savings, including the potential loss of IT jobs.
Speaking at the launch of the state government's People First technology plan in Sydney today, Edgecumbe said back-office applications like e-mail and payroll systems
would be consolidated over the next four years and the savings
generated directed to 'front line' technologies such as
e-learning, patient care and emergency services.
"Our core agency systems were put in many many years ago and
require serious new investment. So that's patient management,
student managment, police management, licensing systems ... all
require replacement," said Edgecumbe.
"One of the primary strategies is to replace those systems,
increase investment in front-line services, and stay within
existing ICT expenditure levels."
The NSW government's back-end systems accounted for about 70
percent of its IT spend, according to Edgecumbe.
"We need to change that ratio," he said.
Back-end system spend would be lowered by agencies agreeing on
single standards and sharing systems.
An example was a recent decision by the government's CIO
executive council on a standard hardware environment, according
"One of the things that came out of the CIO executive council
recently, which is probably a first, is that all the agencies
agreed to a single specification for all PCs. So when we go out
to the market for 100,000 PCs per annum it is the same spec."
Savings on infrastructure like this would be redirected to
e-government and information management technologies.
"It also removes the amount of time any one agency or any one
CIO spends on things like e-mail and Web access and content
management," said Edgecumbe.
He said e-government plans would see residents deal with
the NSW government as a single entity, as opposed to having to
deal with several agencies.
For example, someone registering their car with the roads and
traffic authority could at the same time ask how to enrol their
child at school. While the call centre operator might not know
the answer, he/she could query the system and provide a response
later by phone, e-mail, post etc.
The People First plan will be implemented by 17 working groups
throughout government agencies. Each of these will be led by an
Over 90 government staff have been working on the plan since
the beginning of the year, according to Edgecumbe.
The NSW government CIO office has also been restructured so
that each working group has at least two representatives -- from
Edgecumbe's office -- on a full-time basis.
However, the number of NSW goverment IT staff would also be
restructured, Edgecumbe later revealed.
"There will be a reduction in IT personnel and IT contractors
"Ultimately it will be by about AU$20 million a year," he
He refused to say how many jobs would go over the next four