Highly paid Shared Services staff with nothing to do
Tuesday, 3 January 2012
The latest saga in the Labor Government’s Shared Services debacle has resulted in many highly paid staff being left with nothing to do.
“Sadly Labor’s handling of Shared Services has become so laughable it almost resembles a script for an episode of Yes Minister,” Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said.
“In the Mid-Year Budget Review Labor announced the cancellation of Tranche 4 of the Shared Services Reform Project, which was the transfer of all agencies’ Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services to Shared Services SA.
“The Mid-Year Budget Review stated this cancellation would mean that projected savings of $1 million in 2013/14, $3 million in 2014/15 and $6 million per year from 2015/16 would not be achieved.
“However, there are also additional costs to the budget related to the salaries of highly paid staff brought in to manage the project since March this year.
“For example, Mr Damian Bourke, Executive Director of Shared Services SA, advised all staff in March that 10 new people had been recruited to join the ‘Tranche 4 ICT Transition Program’. Some of the 10 people were recruited from outside government to new highly-paid roles as ‘ICT Principal Consultants’.
“Mr Bourke also advised staff in March there were further positions which would be filled ‘over the coming weeks’.
“Shared Services also has a Director of ICT Services Reform position and the role and workload of this Director will obviously be impacted by the Government’s policy reversal.
“It is estimated that the annual salaries of these staff total at least $1.5 million. Treasury sources have confirmed that the Government’s decision means whilst some staff might be able to fill other vacancies, many of them have nothing to do and will not be able to be given other positions.
“The Liberal Opposition is lodging Freedom of Information applications to obtain details on the future for these staff and the additional costs to taxpayers.”
In relation to Shared Services, the Mid-Year Budget Review also reported:
• another increased cost of $2 million in 2011/12 due to a further delay in the deployment of the Shared Services e-procurement initiative to the Department for Health and Ageing;
• the whole Shared Services initiative had been removed from Treasury and transferred to the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
“The Shared Services project has now turned into an unmitigated disaster for the Labor Government,” Mr Lucas said.
“The Auditor-General has reported a savings shortfall of $93 million over the forward estimates. However, the Liberal Opposition believes the shortfall is even larger as there is considerable doubt about the accuracy of some of the Government’s claimed savings figures.
“Treasury has also advised the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee that costs of implementation have blown out from $60 million to $114.4 million even before the latest debacle.
“It should also be noted that in August this year Mr Bourke told the Budget and Finance Committee that he couldn’t confirm Shared Services was now delivering payroll services more cheaply than under the previous system.
“There can be no more damning indictment of Shared Services than that frank admission.”