The future of e-government could involve state agencies sharing computers and networks more extensively.
The e-government unit has done a preliminary examination of how efficiently government agencies’ use ICT, with a view to establishing a case for or against shared services.
The exercise was a small-scale “preliminary study”, says unit head Bethia Gibson, and at this stage she will only say that “there are indications that it’s worth going further” with the exercise.
The study involved only a small number of agencies, Gibson says. She wouldn't detail which or how many agencies were involved. It was designed to deliver a first-cut answer to the question: “Is there a better way of delivering ICT throughout government?”
Agencies work essentially alone at present, making their own ICT decisions, Gibson notes. Limited sharing arrangements exist, such as the voice-and-data network embracing the social service agencies, though in that case they were substantially brought together as the Ministry of Social Development.
Computerworld understands that the preliminary survey uncovered some wide differences in the cost-effectiveness of the various agencies’ use of ICT. Gibson declines to comment on this point. When asked about one agency that according to rumours showed up particularly badly, she denied it had been part of the survey.
Gibson estimates a final report will be ready by about March next year.