Department of Finance, Services and Innovation Circular

DFSI-2016-02- NSW Government Operational Communications Strategy


Advice on the NSW Government Operational Communications Strategy, including a number of measures for agencies that will facilitate key initiatives under the Strategy.

Detailed Outline

The NSW Government Operational Communications Strategy (the Strategy) positions government to optimise operational communications technology for our frontline emergency services and agency personnel. The Strategy will enable seamless communication across agencies, leading to more agile and responsive service delivery through better access to critical information.

In order to eliminate unnecessary duplication and promote greater private sector participation and competition, the NSW Government will move away from having individual agencies building, owning and operating their own networks to an arrangement where agencies have access to the right services by the right provider, with a competitive industry playing a key role in service delivery.

Four key initiatives will drive this reform agenda:

  • One Integrated Portfolio – remove duplication and fragmentation by managing assets, resources and services as a single integrated portfolio.

  • Shape a Competitive Market – drive an effective, mature and competitive service market that meets sector requirements.

  • Evolved Critical Communications Capability – develop a resilient and secure communications capability for the sector that supports existing mission-critical voice and new video- and data-based services.

  • Information-Enabled – create a shared intelligence capability that enables agencies to access targeted, timely and relevant information from a variety of sources.

Role of NSW Telco Authority

The NSW Telco Authority (the Authority) has commenced the Critical Communications Enhancement Program to create a single shared radio network across NSW.

The Authority will work closely with agencies to ensure that service delivery priorities are met as it progressively oversees the rationalisation or decommissioning of operational communications assets and infrastructure, leading to managed service arrangements. All agencies must actively collaborate, as needed, with the Telco Authority to facilitate execution of the Program.

As the transition proceeds, agencies are required to provide the Authority and its industry partners with access to relevant sites and information to allow planning, design, construction and de-commissioning to be carried out.

Agencies are also required to use the NSW Procurement Board’s Standardised Site Licence Agreement Framework (Board Direction 2015-03) when entering into new site licence arrangements with other agencies. This will simplify any changes to site ownership, leasing and management arrangements, if required as part of the rationalisation process.

Rationalisation period

As the rationalised network is established in each region, agencies are required to progressively migrate off their individual networks and use available shared Government radio services and facilities. In order to meet Strategy objectives of a single integrated portfolio and shared intelligence capability, the Authority will approve all proposals to develop new or additional operational communications infrastructure or services.

Investment process

The role of the Authority will include approval of any proposal to be considered by Expenditure Review Committee. The Authority’s approval is also required for:

  • any significant expenditure (over $500,000) on new radio communications assets and commercial services, and/or

  • for new sites or new towers on a site, regardless of cost,

unless exempted or where the expenditure relates to immediate requirements that would impede the execution of a current or imminent operation by law enforcement and emergency services agencies.

The Authority may also grant an exemption if the agency can sufficiently demonstrate that existing services and facilities do not meet business requirements, or are not cost efficient at a whole of Government level.

As with broader information technology investments, proposals will need to be consistent with the investment principles of the NSW Government ICT Investment Policy and Guidelines, particularly by:

  • complying with whole-of-government procurement policies and directions

  • considering a service orientation, including ‘as a service’ sourcing models

  • demonstrating standardisation and interoperability of technologies and solutions

  • demonstrating better value to government and citizens over the life of the investment.

The evaluation process can be found at https://www.telco.nsw.gov.au/content/operational-communications-investment-and-approval

In order to ensure investments are consistent with Strategy objectives:

  • agencies must procure goods and services from any product catalogue established by the Authority under Panel Contract ITS 2573 – Operational Telecommunications Services, Equipment and Infrastructure unless exempted

  • agencies are required to comply with any technical standards, guidelines or policies issued by the Authority for the procurement and use of operational communications infrastructure, equipment, services and spectrum unless exempted. The Authority will consult with agencies prior to the release any such standard, guideline or policy.

Spectrum management

To ensure appropriate allocation of spectrum, all negotiations with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in relation to radio frequency allocation on behalf of any NSW Government agency will be carried out by the Authority, in consultation with the relevant agencies as appropriate. Agencies are not to approach ACMA directly on spectrum and related matters.

The Spectrum Management Office of the Authority can be contacted by email at [email protected]

Reference documents

http://www.procurepoint.nsw.gov.au/direction-2015-03 [SITE LICENCE AGREEMENT FRAMEWORK]


Which agencies does this Circular apply to?

The shared network is available to all government related entities. The requirements of this Circular apply to all
NSW Government agencies
Other Service Agencies
Separate Agencies
Statutory Bodies
For State Owned Corporations, compliance is required to the extent that it is consistent with sound commercial practice.


Who needs to know and/or comply with this?

Executive agencies related to Departments
Advisory Entities (including Boards and Committees)
Separate agencies
State Owned Corporations
Statutory Authorities/Bodies
Subsidiaries of the NSW Government established under the Corporations Act




Publishing Entity
Department of Finance, Services and Innovation
Issuing Entity
Department of Finance, Services and Innovation