A detailed “organisational design and implementation plan” for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will be developed by the end of September.
This will include “some preliminary thinking about future requirements and opportunities to consolidate ICT services during the implementation of the design,” says a response from MBIE through communications staffer Janice Rodenburg to Computerworld questions on ICT plans for the new super-ministry.
Savings on ICT rationalisation are included in the item “consolidation of corporate services [expected to save] of the order of $5 million to $6 million per annum” in the government’s report on the MBIE due diligence study. Expected ICT savings are not broken out as a separate figure in the public document, many parts of which are redacted under the Official Information Act.
“ICT services are an enabler of internal and external services and therefore very much part of the solution to integrating agencies and realising savings,” says MBIE’s emailed response.
MBIE is currently running a bare-bones public website, www.mbie.govt.nz with links to the rebadged sites of constituent agencies – the Ministry of Economic Development (MED), the Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI), the Department of Labour (DoL), and the Department of Building and Housing (DBH).
“The external web presence of MBIE will evolve to support its external communications and service delivery,” says MBIE. “Any plans to unify or redevelop websites as part of this evolution will be formulated after the MBIE organisational design is implemented from 1 October 2012.”
The ministry has declined Computerworld’s request for an interview with a senior staff member involved in the ICT consolidation plans “because this area is still under consideration it’s too soon to be conducting interviews,” Rodenburg says.
Labour Party economic development spokesman David Cunliffe says a rationalised online presence for MBIE’s constituent agencies would by itself make possible “the good stuff that people want and that we would like too, like allowing you to transact most of your business online. That occurs virtually and we don’t need to put these very disparate government agencies [physically] together,” he says.
This view of virtual integration as an alternative to physical restructuring echoes views expressed as far back as 2000 by the government ICT unit’s first head, Brendan Boyle.