Immigration department's new IT contract raises questions

Immigration department's new IT contract raises questions

Taypayers to foot premature PC refresh bill

More than six months after the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) announced it had appointed Unisys to replace CSC for a $140 million outsourcing contract, questions have surfaced over the timing of the services.

Unisys was seen by DIAC to offer the best value for money "at this stage" for the range of IT services required, and would become a "one stop shop" for service and help with IT "issues" including a service desk, Internet and e-mail security, and desktop services.

Formerly the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA), the department's name was changed to DIAC in January.

A spokesperson for the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Kevin Andrews said DIAC's existing contract with CSC, to expire on June 30, is for IT Infrastructure Services including desktop and laptop provisioning, support and maintenance services (including desktop software management), remote access, peripheral support, the service desk, secure gateway services, cross platform services, mainframe and midrange management, LAN application server support and maintenance, and software management.

The desktop services part of the new contract hasn't gone unnoticed by some in the public service who feel Unisys' new directive to replace PCs is unnecessary.

A reader of the political gossip Web site wrote in anonymously with a rumour the department will undergo a change of over 6000 PCs at taxpayers' expense.

"The PCs were only changed less than two years ago," the reader wrote, noting correctly the department intended to change suppliers of IT services from CSC to Unisys.

The spokesperson did not have any additional information on the specifics of the two contracts but said the government is achieving an "on time and on budget" major IT systems overhaul and that desktop and laptop computers are upgraded on a "regular, ongoing basis".

"The System for People project is a major project that will deliver outstanding IT services for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship that will benefit all Australians through enhanced client service delivery," the spokesperson said. "The government is delivering a major IT system that will provide innovative, reliable IT that is current now and into the future."

Unisys' "key priority" for the contract was the establishment of a single point of contact service desk by April this year to enable coordination and management of all IT enquiries, issues and incidents from beginning to end.

This system will also support the Systems for People program which will provide a single view of the client in real time, transforming the way the department does business.

From July 2007, CSC will extend its midrange and mainframe services contract for two years.

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