Is the NSW Government so loathe to divulge the public details of its IT review for worry of being held to a promise?
The whole-of-government review to find areas to shave costs (keeping the government's cost growth to 4 per cent per annum) was announced last year when the budget was released in June. It was expected to be completed for perusal by the government in three months.
I would have expected, given that information, that a grand announcement would have been made about the review's findings, if not in three months, then perhaps at the end of last year.
However, a new year has dawned and little information has been aired. The Department of Education said in November only that it was in preliminary discussions with Treasury as the first to undergo the ICT reviews, although Treasury says Education has not been singled out, with all departments being considered.
When asked how it was coming along, a spokesperson for the Treasury said that the review had established a savings target of 5 per cent in 2010/2011 and one of 10 per cent in 2011/2012. Reminiscent of the Federal Government's similar process spawned from the Gershon review, 50 per cent of the savings will be put in a reinvestment pool.
I would like to know how the government reached those targets, and some of the areas it considered that departments could cut down their spending. Which departments would be asked to make the biggest savings? Are big departments being treated the same way as smaller departments?
When I asked if the report was completed and if so if excerpts were available for viewing, I was told that "data collection and validation processes are ongoing".
So we have a savings target before a report has been delivered? I find that exceedingly strange. It also would mean that the report is months later than originally expected.
Certainly the process seems to be a long one, and one which the powers that be don't want to shed light on, spawning PR responses such as —
The primary objective of the ICT Review is to make sustainable improvements in the efficiency of the government's ICT expenditure, leading to ongoing cost savings to the budget.
— to the question of what the value of savings were to be and how.
Certainly, I think a little more transparency could be borne.