All Public Bodies, while having widely diverse responsibilities, employ similar technologies and systems for delivery of day to day activities. These include networks, telephony, email, servers and storage. All major Government Departments employ systems to manage common business processes like parliamentary questions, submissions and records management as well as websites for internal and external facing communication. All of the above can be seen as infrastructure that is generally similar across Public Bodies. Currently this infrastructure is largely delivered on a standalone basis with each Public Body developing and managing its own infrastructure from separate locations. Moving to a more integrated and shared infrastructure model will deliver efficiencies across the Public Service.
The implementation of this component of the Strategy will require a full detailed analysis of the associated ICT costs and headcount across the relevant Public Bodies. Any potential efficiency gains referred to as the Reform Dividend3 could be used to part fund investment in new digital services, innovation and supporting data infrastructure. Moving to a shared services model of shared ICT infrastructure would support integration and sharing of resources across the wider Public Service while driving efficiency and controlling cost. It is also in many ways a prerequisite for implementation of wider collaboration, data sharing, cross-government digital services and ultimately a unified Civil Service as per the Civil Service Renewal Plan.
This objective is underpinned by several key focus areas including:
Creating shared centres of excellence for the delivery and management of common technology infrastructure as a set of services to the wider Public Service. These would be internally and/or externally hosted and delivered via a secure Government Cloud network. Services include hosting, email, web monitoring, servers and storage. These services would be delivered and operated from a number of centres and where applicable, will leverage existing infrastructure and the Government Cloud Services Catalogue to maximise existing investment and reduce delivery times.
While taking account of existing investments and different solutions that may already be in place, when applicable (e.g. upon scheduled replacement of existing applications), use a shared capability for the delivery of applications that are common across Public Bodies to address common business challenges and implement these on a government wide basis.
This will require the creation of a central applications delivery and development hub to deliver common applications across Public Bodies. These will be a mixture of packaged off-the-shelf applications and internally developed software. This strategy aims to deliver and centrally support such applications as a shared service rather than enforce a common technical solution in each Public Body.
Build on existing Government Networks to drive integration across data and telecommunications networks on a Public Service wide basis. Currently a central Government Networks exists to provide connectivity across a range of Public Bodies. Outside of this each Public Body manages its own local network and telecommunications needs. Centralisation of these services into a common Government Telecommunications group will be progressed. This will deliver further efficiencies, reduction in costs and improved standardisation and service levels on a whole-of-government basis.
Currently there are a number of insourced and outsourced ICT support models in place delivering a variety of first and second line desktop and general ICT support services. However, most first and second level support is delivered on standalone basis within Public Bodies. In some cases this is done using a mixture of internal Public Service and contract staff. Where applicable, consolidation of desktop and general ICT support services into more centralised groups supported by external managed services providers (MSPs) will release ICT resources for other services or more strategic ICT activities while providing a more flexible and standardised service.
In parallel with the above focus areas, the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) will deliver the commercial implementation of the Public Service ICT Strategy through the development and delivery of sourcing strategies aimed to reduce the current fixed ICT cost base. These strategies will leverage the considerable buying power of the Public Service and will include, where possible, aggregation of spend, standardisation of specifications and on-going analysis/renegotiation of current ICT contracts. The Office of the Government CIO (OGCIO) and CIO Council will work closely with the OGP and the ICT Category Council to deliver on these strategies.