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ICT swap: PM&C now control both policy and procurement

Flagged by Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation Angus Taylor earlier this month, the wholesale transfer of ICT functions to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is now official.

Administrative Arrangement Orders signed and published yesterday confirmed both policy and procurement of ICT will once again reside in the same department — albeit a different one from before. Finance retains most elements of procurement policy except for ICT.

The machinery of government negotiations between the Department of Finance and PM&C begin in a difficult place, with the respective ministers being the first parties to come to blows, The Mandarin has been told. There are parties in PM&C that are strongly opposed to bringing across the officials at Finance currently responsible for ICT matters.

That division, headed by first assistant secretary John Sheridan, was responsible for the co-ordination and framework of the Commonwealth’s $5.6 billion in ICT spend.

A spokesperson for Finance said:

“The Department of Finance is working closely with the Department of [the] Prime Minister and Cabinet on the machinery of government changes necessary to efficiently implement the Government’s policy for the Digital Transformation Agency.

“Further details will be announced in accordance with normal processes at an appropriate [time].”

The ICT swap comes as the Digital Transformation Office becomes an agency inside PM&C’s portfolio with wide-ranging and whole-of-government responsibilities, including a remit for digital service policy, strategic program management, and a mandate to take digitisation anywhere and everywhere in government.

Matters dealt with by Finance

Omit: Whole of government information and communications technology, other than that related to government service delivery

Omit: Government financial accountability, efficiency, governance and financial management frameworks, including grants and procurement policy and services

Add: Government financial accountability, efficiency, governance and, financial management frameworks, including grants and, procurement policy and services (excluding information and communications technology procurement policy and services)

Matters dealt with by PM&C

Add: Whole of government information and communications technology

Add: Information and communications technology procurement policy and services

Author Bio

Harley Dennett

Harley Dennett is editor at The Mandarin based in Canberra. He's held communications roles in the New South Wales public sector and Defence, and been a staff reporter for newspapers in Sydney and Washington DC.