The Australian Public Service has slashed its army of private sector IT contractors by more than half, taking its tech operations nearly all in-house, according to a new Finance Department report.
Departments have cut the numbers of contracters and seconded private sector techies from 3600 in 2008-09 to just 1400 in 2013-14, slashing the proportion of "externals" from 82 per cent of IT full-timers to 77 per cent.
The report shows the service making progress implementing the findings of the 2008 Gershon review, which found Commonwealth government IT efforts in a mess, neither "effective or efficient" and costing the taxpayer too much money.
One of the key recommendations was to save $100 million each year by slashing 50 per cent of the expensive contracters and replacing them with public servants.
Finance has also identified the growing influence of IT on federal departments, despite the service enjoying some success in reining in its tech costs, as recommonded by Gershon in 2008.
Elsewhere department's report finds the public service's IT crowd getting bigger, better paid, and controlling larger chunks of their departmental budgets.
Australian Public Servants get better tech support, on paper at least, than bureaucrat anywhere else in the developed world with one IT worker for every nine public servants.
There were 13,300 full-timers working in information technology departments and projects in 2013-14, according to the latest report on Australian Government ICT trends, and three quarters of them were at the well-paid APS 6 pay scale or above.
The numbers are down from their peak of 14,200 two years previously but the ranks of techies are growing as a proportion of the workforce, and as a long term-trend with just 12,500 IT professionals on the public service's books in 2008-09.
The department's report shows Australian public servants get better tech support, on paper at least, than bureaucrats anywhere else in the developed world, with one IT worker for every nine Australian public servants.
The international norm is 1 techie supporting between 11 and 15 rank-and-file public servants.
Although both IT and overall departmental spending has been slashed since 2008-09, ICT expenditure has grown as a proportion of total reported agency expenditure from 8.4 per cent to 9.6 per cent over the same time period.
The public service spent $5.2 billion on ICT in 2014-15, according to Finance.
The techs are moving up the pay scales too, with more than 75 per cent of them at APS 6 or above, compared to 50.5 per cent of regular public servants, and nearly half the IT crowd are commanding EL1, EL2 or SES pay classifications.
"In 2013-14, the profile of Executive Level 1 and 2 and APS6 in ICT differs to that of the APS more broadly, with stronger representation of staff at these levels working in ICT," the Finance Department report explains.
"Conversely, ICT FTE at APS1-4 are disproportionally less represented when compared to the general APS.
"This may be an indication of the specialised skills required in ICT roles."