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Why is AGIMO implementing Gershon word-by-word when the ‘world has changed’?

By 8 March 2009 17

Should the Gershon Report recommendations be taken word-by-word by the Australian Government in light of the unpredicted environment in which we are now living?

Is AGIMO just implementing the recommendations, ignoring how times have changed since the report was handed down, and the situation in which the world finds itself?

It seems no analysis is being done as to the different environment in which we are now working.

The Gershon Report was written for a different world (hard to believe that it was only 6 months ago ) — governments everywhere are having to rethink their plans and forecasts, not just in IT, and yet AGIMO has not articulated to anyone whether Gershon recommendations may be modified or translated into the current environment in which we find ourselves.  

What should Minister Tanner do? 

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17 Responses to
Why is AGIMO implementing Gershon word-by-word when the ‘world has changed’?
Tanktrax 6:58 pm
08 Mar 09
#1

The Gershon Report was nothing more than a review that stated exactly what the government wanted to hear – and that was to slash and burn. There are so many holes in the report you could drive a truck through them – eg the BAU (Business as Usual) cuts of up to 15% – but what BAU actually covers isn’t actually defined. And as to the number of government data centres? I know that some of those “data centres” are nothing more than small rooms with a server rack in it.

And, as to what Minister Tanner should do? Get a clue would be a good start! – but I’m not holding my breath.

Olwen 7:12 pm
08 Mar 09
#2

Totally agree greenit. They were just ‘recommendations’ anyway?! And yes, written six months ago and modelled on what he did for the UK – in the ‘fat days’. Things have changed – most IT budgets are already very tight without this as well.

astrojax 8:39 pm
08 Mar 09
#3

why is the assumption that the report’s recommendations, while written in times that were different in some respects, are necessarily thus rendered obsolete?

which particular recommendations are now passe and why? would they not now be useful recommendations to accept and implement any way? perhaps they would have different effects to those the report may have anticipated and outlined, but that’s not to say the effects they would have, if implemented now, wouldn’t be efficacious, is it?

jvb 7:55 am
09 Mar 09
#4

If the gov was serious about saving money in IT they might start by looking at the three different departments that support Parliament house They all have different HR and finance systems. SAP and Oracle FI don’t come cheap.

captainwhorebags 9:13 am
09 Mar 09
#5

astrojax: some of the recommendations make sense in any financial climate, but it is a kick in the teeth to the large IT workforce in Canberra that RuddCo are shouting “stimulus! stimulus! save jobs! protect workers!” at the top of their lungs but are happy to slash and burn those “fat cats in Canberra” workers.

One of the cited concerns was the single power grid in Canberra, yet unlike Melbourne we have not had any city wide power issues in a long time. The only one that affected my place of work was the 2003 bushfires and as designed the diesel gensets covered that with aplomb.

gomer 11:07 am
09 Mar 09
#6

Greenit, you wouldn’t happen to be living off the massive government IT slush fund would you? Parts of the Gershon Review that I have read are no brainers for example getting permanent staff instead of expensive contractors for BAU work.

Tanktrax 4:00 pm
09 Mar 09
#7

gomer said :

… for example getting permanent staff instead of expensive contractors for BAU work.

Interesting view…. Sack some contractor doing the job and in most cases re-employ those same people as “permanents” at a lower pay rate. What does that remind me of… Oh that’s right, the Howard government’s “Workchoices”.

Some of the smaller departments had to dismiss all their contractors just to cover the extra efficiency dividend imposed by this government. And now have to put up with a 15% cut to BAU to top it all off.

IT is commonly used to make people more efficient and productive, but this government wants to cut IT spending – Doesn’t make much sense to me.

jvb 4:25 pm
09 Mar 09
#8

gomer said :

…Parts of the Gershon Review that I have read are no brainers for example getting permanent staff instead of expensive contractors for BAU work.

Don’t you think that IT managers would already have done this if it were possible? This stuff has been talked about for the last 25-30 years that contracting has been popular.

Skilled permanent employees doing BAU work tend to want more money the longer they stay in the job, same as in every other vocation. If they can’t get it, they move on. If they can get it, they end up getting paid about the same as a contractor. Then some hotshot manager type with some accounting quals wants to make his bones, so he gets the bright idea of cutting AWAs, overtime (which BAU people do a *LOT* of), and oncall restriction allowances. Result is a lot of disaffected, highly skilled and valuable BAU people, who then move on.

Getting permanents to replace contractors is easily said, and there are consultants and managers who make a very good living out of saying it. But it’s very hard to do, because it is still a sellers market for very skilled IT people.

nathan 5:49 am
10 Mar 09
#9

My understanding is that quite a few contractors were put on in order to circumvent the lengthy (9-12 months + clearance) recruitment process for APS. I know several who, in the current climate, are dying for the security of permanent roles, but have had to find alternate employment pending the outcome of the selection process.

DawnDrifter 10:15 am
10 Mar 09
#10

getting rid of contractors may save you dollars but leaves the work to the utterly useless deadwood left in the public service. those that have been around for 20 years yet dont know a dam thing about the technology they are supposed to develop or support
so sooner or later, the contractors come back, at a higher rate, and finish the job that was left for the pubes to finish(which will never be completed)

imo if you got rid of the 12 or so retards i work with and got 4 contractors at around my rate(which isnt exorbitant) your cost base would be the same but you would actually get results

/runs away from eggs been thrown from brain dead pubes

eyeLikeCarrots 11:06 am
10 Mar 09
#11

Some of the reccomendations need to be examined. Being someone who has come to Canberra to give the APS a go, the distinct lack of a defined career path is telling me I should have stayed in the higher education IT sector.

The report has some stuff about this but I am not holding my breath that it will change anything.

realityskin 12:08 pm
10 Mar 09
#12

The whole mindset of contracting will change in the next two years, it will be a tough gig. They are bringing in a Gov wide policy of project work only, and once the project is over you are finished, you can’t move to another project, you will have to reapply.

ant 12:14 pm
10 Mar 09
#13

The crazy long recruitment processes for ongoing APS jobs is so un-necessary. They could do it in a few weeks if they wanted to. For some reason they let it drag on, while the file rots in someone’s in tray, and they never seem to grasp that this costs them people. Many don’t bother applying from outside becauase the long difficult process is too much of a barrier. And I’m sad to see many Dep’ts still cleaving to the pointless “address the selection criteria” ritual.

captainwhorebags 12:41 pm
10 Mar 09
#14

realityskin: yes, because govt projects never run late or suffer scope creep.

This contractor vs permanent vs consultant merry go round tends to do a revolution every three or four years. Contractors become permanent employees of outsourcers or integrators who then place the contractors in projects for a year or five. When individual contracts become popular again (and they will), people leave companies to become contractors. APS go from APS to companies, and occasionally (although not often) to contracts.

Every freshly minted band 1 SES thinks they can break the cycle and save money, but it never seems to stick.

jvb 1:23 pm
10 Mar 09
#15

eyeLikeCarrots said :

Some of the reccomendations need to be examined. Being someone who has come to Canberra to give the APS a go, the distinct lack of a defined career path is telling me I should have stayed in the higher education IT sector.

The report has some stuff about this but I am not holding my breath that it will change anything.

What sort of career path were you hoping to find?

In APS IT it tends to be techy–>manager if you want to make more money and stay permanent. Very few highly paid permanent tech jobs around.

I doubt that the Gershon report will achieve much either.

peterh 1:59 pm
10 Mar 09
#16

there were several clangers that the report highlighted as good ideas.

the one thing that I saw as the ultimate was the reintroduction of panel period contracts.

the last time this was implemented, the labor party was in power. didn’t work then, won’t work now.

but lets waste money trying, hey?

jvb 8:23 am
11 Mar 09
#17

peterh said :

there were several clangers that the report highlighted as good ideas.

the one thing that I saw as the ultimate was the reintroduction of panel period contracts.

the last time this was implemented, the labor party was in power. didn’t work then, won’t work now.

but lets waste money trying, hey?

It gives the impression of progress.

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