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In April 2008, the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner, engaged Sir Peter Gershon to lead an independent Review of the Australian Government's Use of Information and Communication Technology.
In November 2008 the Government endorsed the recommendations of Sir Peter’s review in full and initiated the ICT Reform Program.
In March 2010, the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner, appointed Dr Ian Reinecke to undertake an independent assessment of work done on the ICT Reform Program (Terms of Reference).
In his review, Dr Reinecke examined the effectiveness of the Government’s implementation of the seven key areas of the ICT reform program and identified areas for improvement. The review also examined and made recommendations about the future role of the Australian Government Information Management Office.
Dr Reinecke delivered his report to the Minister for Finance and Deregulation on 24 June 2010.
On 18 November 2010, the Special Minister of State, the Hon Gary Gray AO MP released the report of Dr Reinecke’s review. The Government is considering the report.
The Hon. Lindsay Tanner
Minister for Finance and Deregulation
Parliament House Canberra
In the terms of reference for an independent review of progress in implementation of the Gershon report on the Australian Government’s use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) you asked for advice on the effectiveness of its recommendations in seven key areas. You also requested advice on any corrective action that was necessary and for recommendations on the future role of the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO).
My report was informed by an examination of the relevant documentation generated during the first two years of the implementation of the Gershon recommendations and by extensive interviews with Ministers, senior Government officials and ICT industry leaders; in all more than 40 interviews were conducted involving more than 100 stakeholders in government and industry.
As the review demonstrates, the recommendations of the Gershon report have now largely been implemented although the full effect of the program of ICT reform it constituted will take some time to work its way through Government. What is clear is that the very substantial implementation effort has positioned the Government for the next phase in the evolution of ICT policy and practice.
For the full promise of technology to be realised some changes are necessary, principally in ensuring simple and effective governance arrangements are in place and that Government marshals its human and financial resources effectively for the challenges ahead. This review makes a set of recommendations that are directed at facilitating the transition to what is being described as the post-Gershon era. They should not detract from the necessity for continuing attention to the task of implementing the Gershon recommendations to make them permanent features of how Government manages its information and communications technology.
There has been very substantial effort invested across Government in putting the recommendations of the Gershon Report into practice. The result is a much better information base and greater guidance for agencies through the development and adoption of whole-of-Government ICT policies. The shift of focus from tactical to strategic investment in ICT enables Government to consider the opportunities for creative and innovative use of technology in everything it does. That outcome alone justifies the intensive level of activity sparked by the Gershon Report. The challenge now is to leverage that effort to enable Government to deliver different and better services and to engage more closely with its citizens.
Some of the big issues associated with ICT have emerged over the last two years, a period dominated above all else by the global financial crisis. At a national level, the development of the NBN presents great opportunities for government to deliver services and to conduct its general business using a broadband platform. Similarly, the rapid increase in the use of social media can be put to use in transforming the nature of communications between citizens and government. And the publication earlier this year of a Blueprint for Public Sector Reform details priorities such as service delivery that require ICT to play a central enabling role.
These are exciting developments and the Government in the wake of the Gershon Report is well positioned to step up to the challenges involved. In the process of conducting this review it became very apparent that there was a heightened interest among senior public servants and ICT industry leaders about the extent to which the Government was able to build on the work of the last two years. It has been seen as a period in which the Government has addressed some of the fundamentals of better management of technology. The question of how best to move to the next stage is a matter of intense interest and my hope is that this review assists that process.
Dr Ian Reinecke
June 16 2010
© Commonwealth of Australia 2010
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