New social ministry may not need IT change

Restructuring of IT in the Ministry of Social Policy and the Department of Work and Income as a result of their planned merger is not yet being seriously examined, say spokespeople -- and may not be necessary at all.

Restructuring of IT in the Ministry of Social Policy and the Department of Work and Income as a result of their planned merger is not yet being seriously examined, say spokespeople – and may not be necessary at all.

“The [IT] infrastructure will keep going,” says Ministry of Social Policy communications manager Tom Bridgeman. “There is no reason to believe there will be any significant change. The two departments work closely together as it is,” he says, with largely separate computer systems but an interdepartmental voice and data communication system, including voice over IP.

The shared infrastructure among those two departments and Child Youth and Family (CYF) is nowadays shaped by the MoSP IT boss, currently Neil Miranda, and his team. He was overseas last week and could not be contacted.

CYF is not currently included in the plans for the new Ministry of Social Development.

Any need for reform in IT applications “will only be clear as it emerges what the government has in mind for the restructuring,” Bridgeman says. A number of government and opposition representatives have said the intended result of the reforms is unclear at the moment. Social Services Minister Steve Maharey has written in letters to State Services Minister Trevor Mallard that insufficient thought was given to the social policy and practice impacts of the reforms – the priority seeming to be disestablishment of the position of DWI chief executive Christine Rankin.

“There are plans to do some work around the organisational form [of the new ministry]” before information needs can be established, says Michael Gibbs, spokesman for Maharey. Any decisions on IT re-equipment will be in the hands of the chief executive of the new ministry, who is expected to be on board by October, he says.

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