NSW govt digital merit review disappears as DaPCo disbanded

A Cabinet sub-committee established with a mandate to review the digital and data merits of new NSW government projects has been disbanded, with only some of its former responsibilities assumed by a new committee.

The Delivery and Performance Committee of Cabinet (DaPCo) was introduced alongside the Department of Customer Service following the 2019 NSW election to replace several other committees covering infrastructure, advertising, and social policy.

It comprised of five of the government’s most senior members, including the then Premier Gladys Berejiklian and then Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, and was chaired by Digital and Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello.

The committee, which sat alongside the powerful Expenditure Review Committees (ERC), assessed the digital or data components of every new policy proposal before they could move forward to ERC and Cabinet.

NSW digital government minister Victor Dominello

It was also tasked with allocating funding of up to $5 million from the $2.2 billion Digital Restart Fund, which is aimed at building consistent, reusable platforms across government and improving digital services in the process.

Minister Dominello previously described the committee as “another sun” within the political solar system aimed at weighing up customer-focused project, with questions asked of data architecture, digital design and whether the customer was adequately considered.

But with the Machinery of Government changes that followed Premier Perrottet’s ascension to the top job in December 2021, the government revealed plans to replace DaPCo with a new committee to be chaired by Cities and Infrastructure Minister Rob Stokes.

The committee, called the Cabinet Infrastructure Committee (CIC), is responsible for overseeing the state’s multibillion-dollar infrastructure pipeline. It is unclear when the CIC replaced DaPCo, but the digital.nsw website references the now-disbanded committee as recently as March 2022.

A spokesperson for Minister Dominello told InnovationAus.com that “many of the previous functions carried out by DaPCo are now overseen by the Infrastructure Committee”, of which the minister is a member, without elaborating.

The spokesperson would not directly say whether questions of data architecture or digital design are still asked of projects but stressed that the government “remains committed to ensuring projects are fit-for-purpose in the digital age”.

Publicly available information only points to the committee overseeing “the state’s customer and digital infrastructure strategies, programs and policies including consideration of any risks as well as coordination between digital and physical infrastructure programs”.

The committee also “monitors portfolio health of ICT and digital projects through regular ICT assurance reporting”, but there is no longer any reference to the committee assessing the digital or data components of every new policy proposal.

It also appears that DRP projects valued at up to $5 million are now endorsed by the Digital Transformation Board, which replaced the DRF Steering Committee last month, and signed off by the ERC.

In the most recent DRF intake, from August 22, 14 projects were funded to the tune of $65.77 million, including funding for the government’s latest attempt to consolidate enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

The project, dubbed the Process and Technology Harmonisation (PaTH) program, will standardise ERP systems across the clusters of Treasury, Customer Services, Planning, Premier and Cabinet and Stronger Communities.

Accenture has already won a $163.7 million deal to deliver the SAP-based platform under ‘horizon one’ – the first of three planned ‘horizons’ for the program – that up to 40 agencies will eventually use.

The DRF – which has $242 million remaining for a pipeline of projects over the next two years – received no new funding in this year’s budget due to Treasury concerns over labour market constraints, Minister Dominello revealed during Budget Estimates late last month.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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