Appendix 2: The Government Chief Information Officer's role and the strategic context

Infrastructure as a Service: Are the benefits being achieved?

The Government Chief Information Officer is the "functional leader" for public sector ICT. The role is based on the principle of ICT work being centrally led (mostly by the GCIO) and collaboratively delivered (with organisations and ICT providers).

In June 2013, the Government's ICT Strategy and Action Plan to 2017 was approved. The GCIO worked with organisations and the Government to revise the strategy in 2015 to ensure that, in a changing technology environment, it could achieve the Government's aim of ICT-enabled transformation of public services. The strategy's aims include:

  • getting better results from existing spending (such as organisation modernisation initiatives) for the benefit of the wider public sector;
  • adopting shared ICT services where possible (including Infrastructure as a Service);
  • giving organisations easy access to innovations from the ICT industry;
  • sharing policies, standards, and business models throughout the wider public sector; and
  • organisations' ICT teams working with other business units to encourage innovation.

The GCIO is expected to work with organisations to help them understand the benefits of shared ICT services, accelerate organisations' use of shared ICT services, and report on organisational uptake and the benefits delivered by shared ICT services.

Organisations that must send Four Year Plans to the Treasury must include their plans to use shared ICT services.22 The GCIO reviews organisations' ICT investment cases. In performing its reviews, the GCIO looks at whether organisations are using or planning to use shared ICT services. If organisations apply, the GCIO can exempt organisations required to use certain shared ICT services from using them.

The GCIO is responsible for giving Cabinet assurance that organisations and the wider public sector are identifying ICT risks and managing them well and that the benefits of ICT investments are being delivered.

More information about the GCIO's assurance role is on its website, The GCIO's role is explained in more detail in a Cabinet paper titled Implementing the functional leadership of Government ICT, SEC (12) 81, which is available on the State Services Commission's website,

The Government's expectations of the GCIO align with Cabinet Circular CO (15) 5, Investment Management and Asset Performance in the State Services, which took effect from 1 July 2015. Over time, the Government wanted to encourage the expected benefits of an investment to be achieved. It also wanted:

  • assets to be operated near their optimal levels of performance; and
  • organisations to use any lessons from investments' performance to inform and improve the development of future investment activity; and
  • lessons to be identified at the individual organisation level and for the wider public sector.

22: The State Services Commission gives more information about Four Year Plans on its website,