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Digital Government Readiness Indicator: June 2017 update

by Poppy Johnston •
Free resource

The content of this free article has been adapted from a comprehensive report by Intermedium on the DGRI available exclusively to subscribers, which contains a full breakdown of how your jurisdiction scored in each category and why.

Governments around Australia are increasingly designing digital services around the needs of the citizen, rather than their internal functions. For citizens, this means government services that are available “anytime, anywhere”, and are as easy to navigate as digital interactions with the private sector.

Before governments can fully commit themselves to delivering these citizen-driven services, however, there are a number of key enablers that must be put in place by governments to ready themselves for digital transformation. Intermedium has identified six of these enablers, and scored each jurisdiction according to the degree to which they have made progress towards putting them in place.

Weighted scores in eleven key criteria across six categories have been allocated to each jurisdiction. The six categories are:

  • ICT strategy;
  • ICT policy;
  • ICT governance;
  • the existence of a nominated whole of government (WofG) service delivery agency;
  • procurement policy; and
  • cross-jurisdictional cooperation.

The result of Intermedium’s evaluation is published as Intermedium’s Digital Government Readiness Indicator. The Indicator is currently in its fourth iteration.

Steady growth at the top

Instead of the dramatic growth seen in the July 2016 Digital Government Readiness Indicator due to a wave of ICT strategy updates, 2016-17 saw incremental refinements in policy development and on-the-ground implementation of existing policy in most jurisdictions – particularly in the areas of cybersecurity and data analytics.

The only jurisdiction regarded by Intermedium as being “Digital Government Ready”, New South Wales remains the leader due to its consistent focus on best-in-class ICT strategy (including its latest digital.nsw), its now-mature work in the areas of citizen-centric service delivery and procurement reform, and its strides forward in integrating data analytics and evidence-driven government through the Data Analytics Centre.

Historically a high scorer, Queensland retained a high degree of digital readiness. Advances in key areas like cybersecurity were enough to keep the state in equal-second spot, which it now shares with the Federal Government.

Of the leading jurisdictions, the Federal Government has made the largest improvement to its score in the past 11 months. The biggest shake-up in 2016-17 was the October revamping of the Digital Transformation Office to the new Digital Transformation Agency, driving changes to the government’s internal ICT governance and ICT procurement mechanisms.

At the time of the previous report’s publication, Victoria appeared poised to make strides in the areas of service delivery and internal digital transformation. While there have been some advances in these areas, including progress in the development of Service Victoria, the state’s acceleration has been somewhat slower than anticipated and visible activity has been relatively subdued.

South Australia is likely to make significant digital transformation advances in the near future following the recent reorganisation at the newly re-named Office for Customer, ICT and Digital Transformation (previously the Office for Digital Government) within the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Despite the recent changes, actual progress was sluggish in 2016-17, allowing Victoria and the Commonwealth to score better than SA.

After a flurry of activity that made Western Australia the fastest-growing jurisdiction in terms of digital readiness improvements at the time of the previous report, there has been a deceleration as available low-hanging-fruit reforms are exhausted. Further developments have most likely been hindered by the state’s revenue constraints, state election, and the change of government in March 2017.

The biggest leap forward

The Australian Capital Territory has increased its score by over 20 per cent in the last twelve months, primarily thanks to the publication of its Whole-of-Government ICT strategy in September 2016. This improvement allowed the ACT to pull ahead of Western Australia by a modest margin. There have also been indications of progress towards strengthening the territory’s historically lacklustre internal ICT governance arrangements.

Room for improvement

Tasmania’s score remains unchanged since the previous Indicator, as no visible progress has been achieved in the areas of (particularly) ICT Strategy and Policy. As with South Australia, however, it is possible that the island state will make noticeable advances in the upcoming quarter once key ICT staff are in place (including a Government Chief Information Officer and a WofG Chief Information Security Officer, both currently under recruitment) and the long-delayed WofG ICT Strategy is completed and published.

Similarly, the Northern Territory has made only minimal improvements to its score for the second consecutive edition of this report. While there had been some reported progress towards the publication of a WofG strategy, this was presumably put on hold pending the recent territory election (in August 2016) and subsequent change of government.

The content of this article has been adapted from a comprehensive report by Intermedium on the DGRI, which contains a full breakdown of how your jurisdiction scored in each category and why.

The full report is only available to Intermedium subscribers. If you would like to view more of our paid content and find out more about subscription services from Intermedium, please email us, phone (02) 9955 9896, or visit

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