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Gershon Review made public

By sexynotsmart - 16 October 2008 30

Mr Rudd’s review into ICT spend has been made public at http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/ict-review/index.html.

Among the excitement are recommendations to:

— Reduce contractors by 50% and increase number of APS ICT staff
— Agencies spending more than $20m on “business-as-usual” tasks to achieve cuts of 15%
— Reduce the “Canberra-centricity” of government ICT.

If you work in ICT I suggest reading it all.

If you own a house in Canberra, I’d suggest reading http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/ict-review/chapter5.html

    5.4.3 Larger agencies to demonstrate how they will develop/increase their capability to manage ICT work remote from Canberra and develop 5–10 year plans to reduce the Canberra-centricity of existing ICT activities

    To reduce the Canberra-centricity of existing agency ICT activities, I recommend that larger agencies in due course be required to demonstrate in NPPs and internally funded projects requiring approval by the two-pass investment process, their capability to locate significant portions of the work outside Canberra, and the intention to do so.

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    30 Responses to
    Gershon Review made public
    1
    Deano 1:01 am
    17 Oct 08
    #

    And thus the insourcing/outsourcing cycle completes yet another revolution…

    Having read the report, I really don’t understand his dislike of the Canberra-centricity of the ICT workforce – after all isn’t Canberra where the rest of the public servants are located. What, are helpdesks and support staff going to be located in a different city? How are the business analysts going to collect system requirements from user when they are in a different city?

    The report is full of contradictions. One one hand he is suggesting consolidation of data centres and a flexible, mobile ICT workforce but wants it dispersed away from Canberra. He acknowledges the current ICT skills shortage but is proposing to increase the number of ICT staff within two years. He also acknowledges the high overheads imposed by the government’s tendering process but then laments the high cost of contractors.

    Overall I found the report to be very lightweight. It does not provide any breakdown of the roles of ICT staff when suggesting they should be moved out of Canberra. It doesn’t explain how it arrives at the figure of $100m being saved by reducing the number of contractors by 50% – is it based on salary costs; does it take into consideration the cost of training, maintaining a ‘bench’ of staff to cover peaks and troughs, superannuation, office space, HR management. The report was really just a summary of a number of points of view and a few ad-hoc unjustified recommendations. It certainly didn’t provide any vision for the future.

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    2
    deye 1:25 am
    17 Oct 08
    #

    Hmmm I know where I work we have to use contractors for certain types of work because the APS pay scale doesn’t pay enough for someone with those skills.

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    3
    realityskin 9:02 am
    17 Oct 08
    #

    deye said :

    Hmmm I know where I work we have to use contractors for certain types of work because the APS pay scale doesn’t pay enough for someone with those skills.

    i THINK THE PAYSCALE WILL LOWER ALL ROUND AS A RESULT OF THIS REPORT, AND THE CURRENT WORLD ECONOMY.

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    4
    LlamaFrog 9:06 am
    17 Oct 08
    #

    realityskin, please don’t yell.

    I like the idea that each year 15% cut in ict budgets, after the 50% increase to determine where the savings are and a new department to overview the change. Hello yes minister.

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    5
    fffq 9:16 am
    17 Oct 08
    #

    I agree with you Deano. we are again back to insourcing / outsourcing. What are the government going to pay the people that they want to attract into their ranks. It will have to be pretty substantial.

    But what about this quote (Charpetr 2.7).

    “There was a general view that industry finds the private sector easier to do business with. Sixteen submissions indicated that costs of tendering to the Government are too high, and 10 indicated that decision making in terms of defining business needs, evaluating technology solutions, procuring a technology and finalising contracts is too slow.”

    There is a marked difference in doing business with a small government agency and a large one. Decisions are made faster and there is no procrastinating over components and legalese that have little or not impact on the whole project.

    To do business with government you still have to tender – if you don’t want the business then don’t tender – but don’t complain about the cost of producing the tender when the project could benefit your comany with millions of dollars in both revenue and profit.

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    6
    captainwhorebags 9:21 am
    17 Oct 08
    #

    I know of several government agencies that have a very “anti contractor” culture. They’ve resisted engaging contractors for various reasons such as “lowers morale” “they’re not loyal” “too expensive”.

    These same agencies are also complaining that they’re critically understaffed. They’ve tried everything that they can do within the APS framework – bonuses, broadbanding, career progression. Nothing works, and the seats are unfilled.

    Skilled IT workers (note the skilled bit – not simple reboot monkeys) don’t want to work for APS4/5 money. You can’t make everyone an EL2, when the IT section is headed up by a SES 1 or 2.

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    7
    madocci 10:45 am
    17 Oct 08
    #

    I was wondering if it was still going to go ahead. I thought a basic economic principal was that you increase govt spending in an economic downturn, not decrease it.

    Aside from that, these changes affect suppliers of infrastructure more than employment I think. As stated, you still need the management and business analysis work done in canberra even if the build and maintain is done elsewhere…

    Wanting to reduce the percentage of BAU work as opposed to projects (as stated in the report) will also increase demand for contractors.

    I have to agree, I found the report inconsistent and unspecific. After all, Rudd needs someone to implement the outcomes of all the reviews. And really will anyone ever listen to AGIMO for IT governance and strategy advice?!?!

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    8
    harley 10:45 am
    17 Oct 08
    #

    Just a couple of things I picked out – average ICT contractor cost $186K which is apparently $94K more than the average ICT APS member.

    That’s an unfair generalisation. I’m a contractor well above that average, but I’m doing architecture, the people making up the average will be helpdesk and level 2 support staff.

    I also like how the contractor cuts should start now, but fixing the “whole of government ICT career structure” isn’t scheduled to START until March next year.

    Good plan… good plan…

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    9
    captainwhorebags 12:12 pm
    17 Oct 08
    #

    Yeah, I hope they didn’t pay the good Sir too much for his services.

    Does cutting contractors include cutting the import of aristocrats to give us a report with no real substance?

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    10
    tylersmayhem 12:29 pm
    17 Oct 08
    #

    If you own a house in Canberra, I’d suggest reading http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/ict-review/chapter5.html…

    I’m still not sure how this relates to those who own a home here in Canberra?!

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    11
    MadScotty 12:33 pm
    17 Oct 08
    #

    Is this guy joking?
    I left the Public service to go contracting because being told APS6 is the most pay I will see without going into management is a joke.
    Any wonder people leave the APS, we can get better money contracting or in Private without all the stupid rules that are imposed on hiring.
    Half the staff where I’m currently working are contractors and they still can’t find enough skilled people (note I said skilled, not helpdesk monkeys).
    Interesting times ahead at any rate.

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    12
    madocci 1:13 pm
    17 Oct 08
    #

    At least you can get rid of contractors that are crap… Making 50% permanent will make the workforce so much less efficient. I mean why would you work hard for half the $?!

    Does cutting contractors include cutting the import of aristocrats to give us a report with no real substance?
    He has substance alright! I mean what do you call umpteen phone hook ups with department heads? That is the most thorough research I have seen in a while! Especially for a report that will have such huge reprocussions for the future of IT in the country, let alone the APS.

    At a time when IT innovation is going to dive in private, implementation of these recommentations will add to the problem…

    /rant

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    13
    AG Canberra 1:43 pm
    17 Oct 08
    #

    So what’s best – insourced, outsourced or a combination?

    who owns the infrastructure – contractor or the Dept? (because if we go to insourcing then all Dept’s are going to suddenly have to find a S^!t load of capital to buy all that stuff back that we currently lease)

    Does the contractor have a responsibility to “train” the departmental staff?

    And again – how do you award a $3mill contract to an ICT company that goes bust three days later?

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    14
    tylersmayhem 1:55 pm
    17 Oct 08
    #

    who owns the infrastructure – contractor or the Dept? (because if we go to insourcing then all Dept’s are going to suddenly have to find a S^!t load of capital to buy all that stuff back that we currently lease)

    I’m happy to be corrected here, but I think you’ll find in most cases that the Dept. will own all of the kit, and hire contractors to run it.

    Does the contractor have a responsibility to “train” the departmental staff?

    Again, correct me if I’m wrong, but in most contracts, this would be an agreement, or part of the disengagement process.

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    15
    Woody Mann-Caruso 2:05 pm
    17 Oct 08
    #

    people making up the average will be helpdesk and level 2 support staff

    Help desk monkeys are pulling in $186K? Time to chuck this APS management malarkey and go back to IT. I’d ask people “have you tried turning it on and off again” all day for half that much.

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