CPSU states outsourcing is resulting in a ‘substandard’ APS IT capability

The Community and Public Field Partnership (CPSU) feels that will years from it “under investment” and freelancing has resulted in substandard IT ability on 1 authorities company, whilst shared solutions agreements from portions others have caused ripple effects on staff in addition to clients.

Making six submissions towards the Finance and Public Administration References Committee as well as its inquiry into the current capacity of the Australian Public Service (APS), the CPSU designated Services Australia, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).

Based on the union, Services Australia “engaged” 2, 277 APS employees within its Technology Services branch, which represents approximately 7. 3% of Services Australia’s APS workforce, including one IT apprentice and 11 IT cadets, as of October 2020.

It said [PDF] 50% of 700-800 IT staff are contractors in the Brisbane delivery centre, 50% of just one, 300 IT staff are contractors within the Canberra delivery centre, and 45% of 700 IT staff are contractors within the Adelaide delivery centre.

Additionally , most IT project managers are contractors in the delivery centres and “scrum masters” are mostly contractors, with CPSU noting there are several teams which are nearly 100% contractors.

CPSU said its IT workers report that outsourcing IT results in limited knowledge of internal systems and sometimes long turnarounds to correct customer/staff issues.

“The agency appears to have lost sight from the advantages of in-house ICT development. There is a lack of career paths for skilled ICT professionals which is hamstrung by an APS wide bargaining policy that limits enhancing APS conditions to attract the best and brightest to the APS, along with the staffing cap, ” CPSU declared.

“Members also advise that skilled APS ICT staff are leaving because they have zero career anymore in Services Australia. This method by agency has meant that many staff are trying to find jobs elsewhere, including in other APS agencies. ”

The NDIA, CPSU said [PDF], until late 2020 relied on Services Australia because of its IT support. It has since stood up an internal IT team. CPSU said the current internal service rollout for that NDIA remains in transition, and frequently acts as an intermediary between your NDIA and Services Australia.

The NDIA in December 2019 went to tender for a  cloud platform   to assist with the delivery from the National Disability Insurance Scheme moving from the Services Australia-run Salesforce CRM to its new ACE system. The CPSU said the NDIA is still reliant on the CRM as well as the CRM is very reliant on Services Australia infrastructure.

“Such delays add extra burden for an already under-resourced service delivery framework, ” CPSU said.

Additionally, it called out the impacts of a lacking technology capability as hindering workers using a disability.

“The agency aims to have a minimum of 15% from the workforce pinpointing with having a disability. Regrettably, NDIA workers using a disability feel that the agency’s ICT services is one of many areas where the organisation continues to fail them, ” it said.

CPSU said the exorbitant utilization of labour hire within the NDIA has additionally caused hardship and impacted  negatively on organisational capability.

The outsourcing of IT infrastructure and pc software to some shared services arrangement with all the Department of Human Services and today Services Australia has also negatively affected veteran services, CPSU said [PDF].

It has asked the government to review the shared services arrangement and bring DVA’s IT functions back in-house.

In 2019-2020, DVA spent AU$36. 6 million on its shared services arrangement and AU$9. 2 million on information technology and communication. CPSU said despite changing the way veterans can make a claim, processing staff are still by hand extracting data through the backend.

“This is adding to the delays in processing veterans’ claims, ” it declared.

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