Tanner: Gershon recommendations to be implemented in full

Minister for Finance and Deregulation says government will take on all of Gershon's recommendations to improve ICT procurement and service delivery

The Federal Government has declared it will implement the recommendations of the recent Gershon review into its ICT procurement strategy in full.

In a media statement, Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner, said the recommendations provided a new model for the effective and efficient use of ICT in government. The staged rollout of Gershon’s recommendations will start immediately.

“This is a turning point, rebalancing he highly-decentralised ICT administration in government and focusing on efficient and effective ICT expenditure and management,” Tanner said in the statement.

Among the recommendations to be adopted is reducing the use of ICT contractors by 50 per cent over the next three years, as well as creating a new Ministerial ICT Committee to provide a broader ICT vision for ICT in government policies and programs. The committee will sit underneath the government’s Expenditure Review Committee (ERC).

The government’s ICT review teams will also work with agencies to reduce “business as usual” budgets by $400 million annually, as recommended in the Gershon report. Tanner stressed it would achieve this objective without impeding service delivery.

“Reductions averaging 15 per cent for larger agencies and 7.5 per cent for mid-sized agencies are expected and achievable,” he said in the statement. “The goal is to return efficiencies to the budget and to reduce expenditure on ICT business-as-usual while feeing up money for service delivery capability.”

The decision to abide by the review’s recommendations was part of its broader Razor Gang process designed to reduce government expenditure, Tanner said.

The Gershon Review, which was publicly released in October, slammed the Federal Government’s use and management of ICT as both ineffective and inefficient and blamed the lack of whole-of-government approach as a key sticking point.

Consulting head for research group Intermedium, Kevin Noonan, was encouraged to see the ICT Ministerial Committee supported by the ERC. He added he had expected Tanner to support most of the recommendations.

“It’s pleasing to see the ICT Ministerial Committee fall under such a high-powered committee, which is known for it’s good solid decision making,” Noonan said. “It’s also extremely encouraging to see the Gershon report getting such strong support.

“Our caution is that ERC takes a strong financial management focus, but there are other governance issues that need to be addressed.”

The review was compiled by Sir Peter Gershon, a former adviser to the UK Government.

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