Agencies spend big on ICT, accountability falls short in Victoria

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A typically frank report from Victorian auditor-general John Doyle rams home the importance of accountability around ICT projects, given the staggering amount taxpayers fork out for them. Some of the state’s public servants seem to think it’s no big deal.

To satisfy the ever-increasing technological needs of Australia’s state and federal bureaucracies, torrents of money flow from the pockets of taxpayers into the ICT industry every year. A stinging audit out of Victoria today demonstrates that with such big cheques being written, the community needs to know it’s getting a good return on that investment, which is about $3 billion a year in the garden state.

In a statement accompanying a service-wide review of ICT that revealed a serious lack of accountability around ICT spending, Victorian auditor-general John Doyle said today:

“Victorian agencies and entities are currently not in a position to assure Parliament and the Victorian community that their ICT investments have resulted in sufficient public value to justify the significant expenditure of taxpayers’ money. Not only are agencies and entities unable to demonstrate the achievement of expected benefits from ICT investments, they are also, in general, unable to comprehensively report on actual ICT expenditure nor the status of projects.”

The gap in accountability must be urgently addressed, he said. He also pointed out an interesting inconsistency in the Victorian system:

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