16th Dec 2016
Sensitive personal information in health and child protection could be put at risk if the supply of South Australian Government computers is outsourced, the public sector union has warned.
The Government is looking at outsourcing so-called “end user computing”, which means it would no longer own or manage its desktops, laptops, tablets and software.
Public Service Association (PSA) assistant general secretary Natasha Brown said it would be opposed to any such privatisation, with fears sensitive information would be less secure.
“We have genuine concerns about the security of personal information,” Ms Brown said.
“We have IT members who work in departments such as health, child protection, education.
“This is very sensitive highly confidential data that some of these people are protecting.”
The union was also concerned about potential job losses, and said the Government had provided little information about how many IT staff would be affected by the outsourcing.
It has urgently written to Premier Jay Weatherill and Public Sector Minister John Rau seeking further information, but said it was yet to hear back.
“The PSA notes that we have been advised that little detail can be provided on the basis both of commercial confidentiality and the absence of a Cabinet decision on this matter,” the union’s letter stated.
“This lack of information has created an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty within the ICT community.”
Affected staff to be redeployed: SA Government
A Government spokesman said a decision on whether it would use a private provider would be made early next year.
It said any staff affected would be redeployed.
“The aim is to ensure the Government is getting the highest quality EUC [end user computer] and the taxpayer is getting the best value for money,” the spokesman said.
“The Government has been in regular dialogue with the Public Service Association throughout this process.”
The union’s letter also accused the Government of breaching previous assurances not to privatise public sector assets and services.
“Your government process is not a rigorous or competitive process that will protect public sector services, protect the privacy of the SA public, or provide value for money to the SA public now or into the future,” the letter said.
Other government assets earmarked for privatisation include the functions of the Lands Titles Office.