The Department

4.1 Australian Diplomatic Communications Network (ADCNET)

Table 30: Resources Summary for Sub-program 4.1

Figure 38: Australian Diplomatic Communications Network (ADCNET) Program and Organisational Structure as at 30 June 1998

Sub-program Objectives

In 1997-98, the objective of sub-program 4.1 was to:

  • maintain communications to and from Australian missions overseas and improve the service through the implementation of the Australian Diplomatic Communications Network (ADCNET).

Description

The Information Management Branch of the Passports, Services and Security Division administers the sub-program. All Australian overseas posts contribute to the sub-program.

The sub-program pursues strategies designed to help achieve two of the Department’s corporate goals: to enhance Australia’s security; and to provide clients with highly professional, efficient and effective services through managing the secure communications network, ADCNET. Strategies include involving users in the strategic planning process to improve information management throughout the Department’s operations.

Performance Information

In 1997-98, the Department indicated that it would evaluate its performance using:

  • completion of the installation of ADCNET in state and territory offices
  • installation of ADCNET in other government organisations
  • continued development of the ADCNET central message switching system and related software (Release 3)
  • continued provision of effective training to departmental staff to maximise productivity benefits from the ADCNET systems
  • progress on the year 2000 compliance program.

Performance Outcomes

The Department launched an Information Management Strategic Planning Project in July. This project led to significant changes in the delivery of information management and technology, including consolidating information management and technology services into a single branch; emphasising client needs; developing service-level agreements with all clients; and overhauling the priority setting and funds allocation process to ensure the most needed projects receive funding and improve transparency.

The strategic planning project is based on the use, where possible, of commercial products, thereby maximising the Department’s flexibility and ability to access technology improvements while keeping costs low. It also seeks convergence of as many elements of the Department’s diverse information technology systems as possible to minimise costs, enhance user access and maximise user efficiency.

During the review period, the Department installed ADCNET in the New South Wales and Victorian state offices. It decided however, to delay the deployment of ADCNET in small posts and other state and territory offices to develop a system that is easier to run and maintain for offices staffed by a small number of people. The installation is now scheduled for the next review period. The Department did not receive any requests from other government organisations for ADCNET installation in the review period.

Photo: IT software specialist, Barbara Jones, works on the Department's secure communications network, ADCNET. (photo: Michael Jensen)

ADCNET Release 3 is currently the subject of litigation; this has led to the delay of its installation. The Department and the prime contractor are cooperating effectively to ensure that the effects of the delay are minimised.

The Department actively addressed year 2000 compliance issues, both in its Australian and overseas operations. Not only will the Department’s internal information technology systems be fully compliant, but the Department is considering ways it might use its experience and expertise to assist others.

The Department continued to provide effective training to departmental staff to maximise productivity benefits from ADCNET systems, holding 129 introductory courses, 14 intermediate courses and 39 post systems administrator courses. Some 416 staff members attended these courses.

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