The federal government is to dramatically shake up its internal IT strategy by the end of the year and will implement an ambitious scheme of programs including identity management, tougher contracts for vendors and an IT skills program.
IT strategy minister, Special Minister of State Eric Abetz announced the 10-point plan which is intended to bring public sector IT into line with the government's ambitious fourth term agenda.
Addressing a Canberra conference, Abetz described the new initiative as setting "ambitious goals" for the bureaucracy, adding that "ultimately, e-government is about reforming government to best serve its citizens".
In terms of what the public will see, Abetz said the government will spell out clearly how the government intends to transact with the populous, strengthen authentication procedures and pursue "better, real-time notification of services, for example, through SMS notification of results to students."
On the bureaucrat's side of the fence, identity management is billed as a top priority, followed by "ensuring that government has access to the skills it needs to get the job done". While just how the government intends to attract IT new talent to its ranks remains to be seen; one option both the Australian Taxation Office and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations have exercised is shifting IT development out of the overheated Canberra market to Melbourne and Sydney respectively.
Project management and IT governance also feature heavily with Abetz telling the conference there will be new project management processes and systems to keep IT "on time and on budget", while "new investment frameworks" will ensure IT investment "is money well spent, not just money well accounted for."
However, Abetz was also at pains not to paint himself into a corner on deadlines.
Nimbly adapting AGIMO's vendor wrangling guidelines of avoiding contractual lock-ins, Abetz showed just how interoperable ministerial and departmental guidelines can be by stating that "the goals, which, even if we don't achieve them in full or within our imposed deadlines, will be of significant benefit to all Australians".