Human Services advertises top CIO role

He might have successfully attracted hundreds of millions of dollars for ICT infrastructure from this year’s Federal Budget, but it appears as if Department of Human Services technology chief John Wadeson (pictured) won’t be around to see the projects delivered that the money will fund.

The department has advertised for a new chief information officer (the news was first broken by iTNews) to take overarching control of its technology operations and guide what is expected to become one of Australia’s largest technology change projects over the next five years — the integration of the infrastructure belonging to a number of previously independent agencies including Centrelink and Medicare.

Wadeson was appointed to lead the ICT integration effort in late 2009 as deputy secretary of IT infrastructure at the department; a post he took up after many years of experience leading Centrelink’s operations as its chief information officer. However, in February this year the executive confirmed he was considering retiring — although the timing of his departure was still up in the air.

The new DHS CIO will, according to the job advertisement, be responsible for the integration project, driving implementation of a new ICT strategy, focusing ICT development “around the customer”, developing the department’s service-oriented architecture and developing strong business partnerships.

The role is one of the most high-level technology positions in Australia; it will oversee some 55,000 desktop PCs, for example, as well as 2,650 ICT staff. Centrelink has relationships with dozens of suppliers, and Wadeson leaves an extensive ICT leadership team behind him.

The news comes just a few weeks after the Federal Government handed hundreds of millions of dollars to DHS to complete its ICT integration. The jewel in the crown of the funding was a $373.6 million investment which will be directly used to integrate the technology platforms of the agencies. In budget documents, the Government stressed that most of the funding — $295.4 million, including $205.3 million in capital funding — would be allocated from within DHS’ existing resources.

Projects to fall under the wider integration effort include the creation of a single shared ICT gateway, a single integrated security management system to protect sensitive information across the department’s many payment systems, a new data recovery centre and a single consolidated data management system. In addition, common staff portals, desktop and email systems will be created as the department’s various wings are tied together.

The Government will also allocate some $297.1 million to facilitate the administrative and physical integration of the agencies into DHS – in a move which will likely touch the department’s financial and human resources systems.

Online automation systems and forms will be developed to improve customer interactions between Australians and the various DHS ‘brands’, in an effort to reduce paper from the equation and enhance “data exchange” with third-party organisations. And $157.6 million will be provided over four years to allow those interacting with DHS to do so through a single and secure logon facility – with information to be communicated to the various brands through a single transaction.

A further $38.7 million will be provided to complete the transition to a single website and telephone number for the entire DHS portfolio, as well as the implementation of an automated voice regognition system. And money will also be allocated to facilitate Medicare claims being filed online.

Image credit: Centrelink