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Government

WA rejigs shared services timetable

The Western Australian Government has made a decision to defer the second wave of the awards development portion of its shared services project.
Written by Suzanne Tindal, Contributor on

Western Australia's non-education and health shared services unit within the Department of Treasury and Finance has re-jigged its roll-out program to agencies to take advantage of the simplification of staff award schemes.

Further analysis of the opportunities to simplify awards and elements within awards have resulted in an ability to bring forward larger agencies in the roll-in schedule

WA Govt spokesperson

The unit (formerly the Office of Shared Services) was set up in 2003 with expected costs of $91 million, to be offset by $50 million a year savings on the government's $315 million back office budget. The project was set to be completed by December 2006, with around 90 agencies to be using the services.

However by December 2007, the budget had blown out to $435 million. A new plan was created, which scheduled project completion for 2013.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the unit last week confirmed it had decided to defer the second wave of the awards development portion of its shared services project.

Yet the decision to move Wave 2 back six months was not a simple deferment, according to the department, but instead a step which entailed the combination of the second and third waves of development — made possible by awards simplification.

Oracle had been required to design, build and test a human resources system which provided payroll functions for 30 out of the 70 different employment awards and agreements operating in the Western Australian public service. Difficulty in carrying out this feat led to awards simplification opportunities being investigated.

"Further analysis of the opportunities to simplify awards and elements within awards have resulted in an ability to bring forward larger agencies in the roll-in schedule," the statement said.

"This provides a window of opportunity to focus on short to medium term agency roll-ins without the need to build awards — it is therefore possible to combine the future award 'waves' without losing momentum on agency roll-ins.

"The combination of award waves reduces the cost of two major projects back to a single project (combining wave 2 and 3) and increases the quality of design over a larger group of awards, thereby avoiding duplication and the potential for ambiguity in the gathering of requirements and their interpretation as functional software.

"To summarise, it has therefore been possible to advance the capture of benefits and reduce risk and cost of multiple award waves without delaying the roll-in schedule of agencies, although it will result in the roll-ins of some smaller agencies being deferred to accommodate the 'bringing forward' of larger agencies that represent a greater benefit capture to government."

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