Hundreds of jobs under threat as Cenitex bites the dust

Some 600 jobs hang in the balance as the Victorian state government looks to get the ball rolling on offloading the troubled shared-services entity.

Some 600 jobs hang in the balance as the Victorian state government outlines plans to spend $6 million to kick off the process to offload the troubled shared-services entity Cenitex.

The funding, part of today’s state budget, will be to facilitate the request-for-proposal process as Cenitex is dismantled.

Victoria’s Technology Minister, Gordon Rich-Phillips, said the cost would cover internal government processes required to run and execute the request- for-proposal process.

“It is quite an extensive process involving a lot of areas within the department to make it work effectively,” he said.

An expressions-of-interest exercise on outsourcing Cenitex’s services had given “some ­insight into market capability”.

The process was the next stage and it was expected the agency would still be in transition come 2015, Mr Rich-Phillips said. Once all contracts were in place, Cenitex as an entity would not exist, but the exact timing would depend on responses to the process.

Mr Rich-Phillips would not be drawn on potential job cuts, but said the functions performed by Cenitex would still exist.

“The work is not going away, the functions are not going away. What’s changing is the way in which it’s done and the structure in which it’s done.

“Inevitably there will be ­opportunities for Cenitex staff within departments, and for Cenitex staff with the private- sector service providers.”

Mr Rich-Phillips said that, as an example, the public sector still required 35,000 desktops to be supported.

The request for proposal or RFP is expected to be ­issued later in the year.

Mr Rich-Phillips said the concept of shared services in terms of aggregated and bulk purchasing was valid, but not if it required creating structures within government to do it.

“In a field (IT) with such a strong marketplace, that is a ­redundant concept,” he said. The ICT marketplace had witnessed a “fundamental shift” since Cenitex was set up in 2008”.