CASS hasn't used the most effective framework for understanding ICT maturity: Auditor General

The Central Agencies Shared Services (CASS) has not used the most effective framework for understanding the current state of ICT maturity of the central government agencies, according to the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) in its overview of CASS.

The central agencies – the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC), the State Services Commission (SSC) and the Treasury – launched CASS in March 2012. CASS provides human resources, financial, information management and information technology support to the agencies.

Auditor General Lynn Provost says in the overview that it is not yet clear whether CASS provides a useful model for the public sector to follow.

ICT effectiveness was strained at first due to weak systems but it is now improving, the overview says. The lack of effective planning had contributed to increased demand for ICT services and help-desk requests in the months after CASS was set up.

It became clear that the central agencies had underestimated the work needed to allow them to operate with common or compatible ICT systems and processes.

A comprehensive analysis commissioned from Davanti Consulting showed that the DPMC and SSC required greater investment and resources for ICT. Based on the review, a development programme was put in place – a series of projects for improving ICT maturity.

CASS had now completed a draft overall strategy for ICT that aligns projects and activities with strategic objectives. However, the OAG says, it was unclear how the development programme projects matched strategic priorities.

“In some instances, the lack of an overall strategy has allowed less urgent projects to be prioritised over basic functional needs,” the OAG says.

It notes that CASS has used the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) to deliver and improve its operational services. “A more comprehesive framework – for example, the COBIT standard – would ensure a sound alignment of the ICT strategy with CASS's objectives and goals,” the OAG says.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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