The government has appointed Land Information News Zealand (LINZ) employee Brendan Boyle to head the State Services Commission’s e-government unit.
Boyle was a senior corporate manager at LINZ and has also worked in policy development and implementation.
The e-government unit (SSC to investigate e-government) has been formed to “provide leadership and co-ordination” in the development and application of e-government initiatives within New Zealand government departments, says the SSC.
“This will include advice to ministers, departments and other agencies on management and policy.”
The unit has four staff, with more expected to be recruited. A budget of $16m over four years has been allocated for the SSC’s work on e-government.
Boyle was a member of LINZ's senior management body, which has overall strategic control of the department. In that role, he has had experience in corporate strategy and decision-making, including evaluation of major investment decisions.
State Services commissioner Michael Wintringham says Boyle “understands the complexities of public management and public policy, and the special problems that complexity will pose in e-government.
"He also recognises that the biggest impact of e-government will be on the quality and nature of the relationship between the state and citizens. The bulk of our effort, in the state sector, will have to go into addressing the questions that are emerging in that area.
"Boyle's experience in relationship management, on behalf of LINZ, will be crucial. The commission's e-government unit will work closely and constructively alongside ministers, departments, crown entities, and private sector interests," Wintringham says.
While studying for an MBA at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boyle completed a thesis on e-government in the New Zealand context.
In his thesis, he suggests the main challenges of e-government are not technological, but cultural and social.
“It is not an IT issue but an economic, structural adjustment and business strategy issue.”
His thesis recommends the appointment of an “e-minister” in New Zealand, as well as an e-government unit under an “e-director”, a position like the one he now occupies.
The size of investment in government IT means it is a concern of senior management, and should not be left to the “techies” in an IT department, “or worse, to an outsourcer with its own business objectives and profit motives,” Boyle's thesis says.