ICT planning requires the establishment of appropriate governance arrangements to ensure the application, management and review of the pratice's ICT Plan are consistent with the goals and objectives of the practice.
The creation of an ICT Steering Committee or similar governance mechanism can assist practices to comply with this principle. The governance mechanism should consider the following.
Responsibilities and accountabilities
The responsibilities and accountabilities of each member of the ICT Steering Committee should be determined when you set up the steering committee. The overall responsibilities for the ICT Steering Committee should include:
- Ensuring clear scope and Terms of Reference
- Providing necessary resources to achieve desired outcomes
- Conflict resolution
- Risk Management
- Ensuring the committee achieves pre-defined objectives/targets.
The ICT Steering Committee should provide a report to the management body of the practice.
Function of the ICT Steering Committee
The practice should consider including the following functions when establishing the ICT Steering Committee:
- define the mission and goals of ICT resources to align with the strategic direction of the practice;
- authorise and direct the development of the strategic and operational plans for ICT resources;
- ensure that ICT resources strategic and operational plan align with the practice's directions;
- review and approve business cases to ensure that ICT resources are optimised; and
- determine and monitor practice security policies on an ongoing basis to ensure that they continue to remain relevant and complete.
Membership of ICT Steering Committee
The membership of the ICT Steering Committee should be appropriate to the size and complexity of the practice. The practice should consider the individual's level of understanding of both information management and the application of information technology to the practice when determining the membership of the ICT Steering Committee. In addition, it is recommended that the management of the information technology function should be included on the ICT Steering Committee even if only in an ex-officio capacity.
Operation of ICT Steering Committee
The ICT Steering Committee should ideally convene at least every three months. The timing of these meetings should complement both practice planning cycle requirements and ongoing review processes.
Steering Committee Terms of Reference
Having a Terms of Reference for the steering committee will identify the purpose, membership, meetings and reporting required for the committee. This document not only helps to formalise the committee but also makes sure people understand their role and why it exists.
You can download an IT Steering Committee Terms of Reference Template to get started.