Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 25 June 2009) . . Page.. 2957 ..
with others. We will no doubt continue to argue and agitate about those as we go forward. Mr Speaker, I thank all members for their contribution.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure—Part 1.6—Shared Services Centre, $5,814,000 (net cost of outputs) and $5,742,000 (capital injection), totalling $11,556,000.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (12.07): Mr Speaker, the estimates committee this year was intent on determining whether, after a couple years of operation, the Shared Services Centre was achieving its objectives of delivering efficiencies and savings. The Chief Minister, the Minister for TAMS, took a question on notice where he quoted back to me the budget papers as justification that the savings have been achieved. You can read these numbers and add them up and, yes, that appears to be what was said. The evidence to the estimates committee this year appears to indicate that reasonable savings have been achieved. Whether or not they have been, I guess, will always be subject to conjecture.
I placed a number of other questions on notice about the process of review and benchmarking. It was interesting to see the variety of answers that came back. For instance, when you check whether InTACT is reviewed, this is the answer that came back: “As indicated above, a peer assessment takes place on an informal basis with other jurisdictional shared service organisations and more formally as an element of benchmarking exercises.”
I am not sure how many other jurisdictions have put in the shared services model. We know that Western Australia certainly has. I would be intrigued if the minister, when he rises to respond, can tell us what “an informal basis” of peer review is. Peer review normally has a process that it follows so that those with the knowledge of what it is you do and the working area that you are in—based on their knowledge—can tell you how well you are doing. I am not sure whether “an informal basis” means a beer at a conference, a phone call with a latte at hand or some other format. Perhaps the minister, when he responds, can tell us what “an informal basis” is and how acceptable that is. There are others where they use user groups. There are some annual reviews, some are biannual and others are even less defined. The answers to the questions do not provide any of the results of those reviews. There are some reviews done, but we do not know what the reviews say. Perhaps the minister can take it on notice and come back and tell us exactly what all these reviews lead to. He may well have knowledge of it with him now.
The next step in the process was to try and quantify the savings that are being achieved and the efficiencies that have been gained. I note there is a process for comparing performance across jurisdictions in Australia. Again, some of these are formal processes, as with the Human Resource Services, and others are described as informal processes—as I have already said—with the InTACT services. I have some concerns about informal processes as a way of determining how you are performing both in the savings and the efficiencies. Again, perhaps the minister can tell us what that process has led to.