WA pledges funds for digital government

The Western Australian government has pledged that the state’s digital transformation efforts will receive ongoing funding, with $34.7 million to be invested in the Office of Digital Government (ODG).

The ODG, which before its shift to the Department of Premier and Cabinet in July last year was named the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO), has previously faced uncertainty about its future. The OGCIO was established under the former Coalition state government in 2015.

The move to DPC was intended to provide “a stronger mandate for the Government’s digital transformation agenda” and ensure that ICT “performance, data sharing and cyber security are strengthened,” according to last year’s state budget.

The transition was recommended by the government’s 2017 Service Priority Review.

“Submissions to the review have pointed to a lack of cross-government ICT leadership that has consequences in a number of areas,” the final report of the review stated.

“The OGCIO’s role and mandate is widely regarded as limited and ICT priorities are accordingly subservient to competing expenditure decisions at agency level. It is also apparent that the administrative and reporting framework in which the OGCIO operates does not support effective administrative oversight and lacks strong accountability and governance.”

WA’s ICT and innovation minister, Dave Kelly, criticised the “short-sighted neglect” of the former government.

“The previous Liberal National government only temporarily funded digital reform at the tail end of their time in government,” he said.

“We have now established an Office of Digital Government and committed ongoing funding for it to ensure the state government is supported by efficient and effective technology, while meeting community expectations for security,” the minister said.

The state government in November appointedGreg Italiano as chief information officer.

The ODG is tasked with overseeing WA’s GovNext-ICT program: An ambitious effort launched by the previous government to slash technology costs and boost the uptake of as-a-service offerings.

An audit of the program released in August found that GovNext would cut ICT costs but not the extent originally expected.

The assumptions that underpinned the program’s business case presented a rosy picture when it came to potential savings, the state’s auditor-general found.

In March, Atos mdash; which along Datacom and NEC in 2017 was appointed as GovNext suppliers mdash; announced it would oversee the migration of the WA Department of Health to Oracle-based cloud services as part of a five-year, $124 million contract.


Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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