WA seeks smarter $1 billion ICT procurement


The Western Australian government is moving to streamline its ICT procurement reforms — with the state’s $1 billion spending program under scrutiny by the Public Accounts Committee.

The Western Australian government has moved to streamline its annual $1 billion ICT procurement program – with a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) inquiry due to hand down its findings to Parliament in 2016.  Industry submissions to the latest inquiry follow on from concerns raised in earlier reports by the Office of the Auditor-General. The AG notes that WA departments and agencies are paying more than needed for ICT procurement. There are calls to tighten the overall procurement strategy.

The latest inquiry coincides with the appointment of WA’s first government chief information officer, Giles Nunis who was confirmed as permanent CIO in April 2015. This appointment, under the auspices of the Department of Finance, mirrors a closer scrutiny of ICT spend, and ways to consolidate technology platforms and services.

The state’s May budget seeks to shave $100 million from the ICT budget of individual departments and agencies. It explores cost-savings from platforms including cloud computing and data centre consolidation.

The PAC warns that over 10 years, governments have struggled to ensure that significant ICT investments deliver the best possible outcomes.

The public sector spends nearly $1 billion each year on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) goods and services. “The ongoing procurement of ICT goods and services is critical to the efficient and effective delivery of government services. Yet the process of procuring these goods and services often proves challenging for individual agencies.”

Recent concerns are echoed in reports from the Auditor General during previous years. These raised red flags around agencies’ ability to successfully deliver on ICT projects. 

Common problems have included “passive rather than active executive governance,” changes to scope and requirements, technical complexity, inadequate costing and over-optimistic scheduling.

The committee’s inquiry will identify models of best practice. These are ideally ones that demonstrate a marked improvement in procurement outcomes over an extended period. 

Inquiry details are available at this dedicated site.