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Coalition’s ICT manifesto to shake up procurement, expand DTO remit

by Justin Hendry •
Free resource

Topics: IT Services; Digital Transformation; Procurement; ICT Strategy; Shared Services; Cloud; Fed.

A re-elected Coalition Government will overhaul current government ICT procurement policies and hand over more responsibility to the Digital Transformation Office to drive home its digital transformation agenda, according to its new Policy for Better and More Accessible Digital Services.

Markedly shorter than the 30-page Policy for E-Government and the Digital Economy released prior to the 2013 federal election, the new policy aims to “accelerate the digitisation of government services and drive innovation” through a number of new initiatives centred on digital transformation.

A taskforce will be established within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to “identify existing procurement barriers and opportunities to streamline ICT procurement”, as well as “opportunities to make it easier for startups and small and medium businesses to compete for government ICT contracts”.

It will be supported by the Digital Transformation Office (DTO), and complement the $15 million Digital Marketplace that will enable agencies to procure ICT services from small to medium enterprises through an online directory.

The Coalition will also expedite the digitisation of government services by delivering a digital transformation roadmap for government services by November.

The DTO will be tasked with identifying and prioritising “the highest value services” for transformation, such as childcare attendance/registration and international passenger cards, and work with agencies to publish agency-level roadmaps despite having already requested that all departments with a high volume of transactional services submit a Digital Transformation Plan.

“Roadmaps will include clear milestones, including delivery timelines and key performance indicators such as cost per transaction, user satisfaction and completion rates”, states the policy.

One service already slated for reform is myGov, which the Coalition has pledged to modernise through $50.5 million allocated in the 2016-17 Federal Budget.

Working with the Department of Human Services, the Department of Treasury, and other staff from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the DTO will look to improve the service by enabling users to select their own unique username, simplifying the sign-in experience, making it possible to sign in to participating agencies’ services without having to go through the myGov portal, and improving the usability and design of myGov (particularly on mobile devices).

The Coalition will also establish an Experts in Residence programme to provide agencies with access to digital experts from the private sector “on three, six or 12 month secondments”, starting with the DTO.

“Secondments will help increase the level of collaboration between government and the private sector, making it easier for government agencies to access specialised digital skills.”

The new policy also re-states a number of commitments in the Coalition’s 2013 policy, many of which have not yet been met.

It re-commits the Coalition to “refresh current shared services arrangements and trial cloud services for common non-sensitive desktop infrastructure and administration applications”, but hands the task of leading the initiative to the DTO rather than the Department of Finance.

Until now reform through the Shared and Common Services Programme has focused on core transactional services, including accounts payable/receivable and payroll administration, but the Department of Finance has indicated that ICT services would be considered for consolidation under a second phase

The Coalition will also develop a Secure Services Strategy in consultation with industry bodies and the private sector to “prioritise the security of Australians’ private information and set guidelines for the hosting of public services”.

The Coalition also intends to:

  • Expand the use of a public dashboard, which so far has only been released as a prototype by the DTO;
  • build on its commitment to ‘tell us once’ government services, giving users control over which agencies and linked private sector services personal information is shared with;
  • make government services compatible with third party platforms by default, allowing “schools, hospitals and community groups to provide their website users with up to date information and access to government services”;
  • accelerate the release of high value government datasets; and
  • create opportunities for startups by expanding the Data Start Programme.

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