Queensland details action plan to execute new IT strategy

A strategy is no good without firm actions, and the Queensland government has now provided 78 of them to steer it toward its goal of reforming its IT stance.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

The Queensland government has launched its IT action plan (PDF), aimed at achieving the goals set out in its overarching ICT Strategy.

The action plan covers three broad areas of providing digital services for clients and government, and transforming the local government workforce to better provide these capabilities. Each of these three focuses has three sub-focus areas, further broken down into a total of 78 actions.

Image: State of Queensland — Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts, CC BY 3.0

The actions themselves have been influenced by the recommendations of the Queensland Commission of Audit, ICT Audit, and Queensland Health Payroll System Commission of Inquiry.

The action plan has six key objectives to address providing digital services for clients. They examine improving the customer experience of government services, enhancing the digital economy, better managing information, facilitating the use of open government data, improving the security and privacy of individuals' data, and addressing digital archiving needs.

Some of the actions in this area include developing a new Digital Economy Strategy by the end of the year, creating a government-wide social networking platform, releasing more open government data via a single portal, developing security and privacy assessment tools, and developing and implementing a business case to ensure that digital public records are looked after.

On the digital services for government front, the action plan outlays four objectives around improving departments' contestability and IT strategic sourcing processes, moving toward IT as a service, enhancing innovation in IT, and better managing the risk of IT projects and assets.

Actions to improve digital services for the government include creating a new IT sourcing policy for the state, creating and leveraging a new innovation portal, and creating business continuity and disaster recovery plans for all of its significant IT systems.

In particular, the government appears to be accelerating its move to the cloud. It has highlighted that come October, it will establish better electronic communications, including email, across the state government, similar to how New South Wales is implementing messaging as a service. In November, it will launch its state cloud strategy and implement its own internal policies for the use of as-a-service technologies.

December will also mark work for an overhaul of its commercial terms and conditions, bringing them in line to support as-a-service options and helping any lagging departments transition to the new approach to IT.

The action plan's final area of developing a capable and competent workforce has two main sections, first focusing on the skills its people have, and then organising how its workforce portfolio, programs, and projects are managed.

Actions to achieve this improved workforce include creating an online IT training platform across government, better engagement with universities and other professional institutions to grow graduates, reforming IT project management policies to better stipulate costs and schedules, and launching an IT dashboard to provide complete visibility of the status of all major IT projects.

Although there was a large number of recommendations, state IT Minister Ian Walker took particular focus on the latter IT dashboard, promoting it as an Australian first and suggesting that it could have prevented the Queensland Health Payroll fiasco.

"Queenslanders can now see the names of ICT initiatives, along with their investment objectives, time frames, and costs.

"Had this level of openness and accountability been implemented under the previous Labor Government, Queenslanders would not be facing an AU$1.2 billion bill for the Health payroll disaster," Walker said in a statement.

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