This blog is totally independent and has only three major objectives.
The first is to inform readers of news and happenings in the e-Health domain, both here in Australia and world-wide.
The second is to provide commentary on e-Health in Australia and to foster improvement where I can.
The third is to encourage discussion of the matters raised in the blog so hopefully readers can get a balanced view of what is really happening and what successes are being achieved.
Friday, November 27, 2015
It Seems It Is Government Policy Not To Actually Let We Mug Punters Know What Is Going On.
Two articles appeared this week to confirm the impression.
Federal government departments have paid external media consultants hundreds of thousands of dollars to train bureaucrats how to "perform" in Senate estimates hearings.
The consultants, who can be paid up to $30,000 a month, insist the training is not aimed at teaching public servants how to spin or avoid scrutiny – but some senators are not so sure.
While a search of government contracts suggests departments have spent about $160,000 on the training in recent years, the true cost is believed to be much higher but concealed through a sometimes opaque tender process.
For example, one major provider of Senate estimates training – Melbourne-based consultancy Media Manoeuvres – has been awarded at least $1.9 million in government contracts in recent years, according to the publicly accessible Austender website.
The contracts are typically for "media training" or "media awareness training". None mention Senate estimates training, even though that is a significant part of Media Manoeuvres' business.
On its website, Media Manoeuvres says it offers two levels of Senate estimates training: "awareness" and "performance skills". The latter involves simulations and role-playing scenarios.
Chief executive Sam Elam said the company regularly provided the training to various agencies. It was aimed at giving public servants the confidence to deal with what could be a very stressful experience when confronted by aggressive senators.
"It's high pressure and that can turn some people to water," she said. "It's about giving people the confidence to actually speak up."
Canberra-based consultant Laurie Wilson has delivered Senate estimates training to the Australian Public Service Commission and a wide variety of government departments over the past decade.
Last year, he was paid about $60,000 to deliver an extensive two-month training course to the Department of Finance.
The Government’s much vaunted Digital Transformation Office (DTO) closed door policy is rankling peak industry bodies that want access to the agency.
Laurie Patton, CEO Internet Australia (IA), the peak body representing Internet users claims a number of civil society and industry groups are apparently finding the door to the DTO firmly shut or are being left out of the loop when it comes to stakeholder engagement.
“We asked for a meeting and were told to come back next year”, Patton said. “They said they were too busy to see us”.
He believes the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), the peak body representing all consumers on communications issues, also had appointments ‘bumped’ to next year because the DTO is “too busy”.
[At the time of writing this ACCAN was unable to be contacted for comment.]
“Expert organisations such as ourselves will be better able to assist if we’re involved from the outset, in the formative stages of the DTO's operations, rather than down the track when their plans and initiatives have been locked in,” Patton said.
“Our concerns were raised when a visiting expert from the UK highlighted the downside from the work of the UK DTO. “The message was that they’ve ended up with a two-class system. It’s fine for people who have access to the Internet and are digitally savvy, but disadvantaged groups and individuals who are not connected are now struggling to get access to essential government services”. “
IA approached the DTO offering to provide advice and assistance to ensure that everyone benefited and nobody was left behind as a result of its work.
So no talkies to anyone who might know something in technology while doing an innovation statement!
This all really just confirms what we are all becoming pretty used to. The bureaucrats etc. simply just roll on and ignore any external advice - while overestimating just how knowledgeable and informed they are.
It really gets very, very tiringto see the same mistakes made over and over again!