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NSW demonstrates Gov 2.0 not just a Federal undertaking

by Staff Writers •
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As outlined in a previous article, Government 2.0 - aiming to create accessible and usable government data - has strong endorsement from Finance and Deregulation (Finance) Minister, Lindsay Tanner.

However open data initiatives are not restricted to the Federal Government arena.  In early March, the NSW Government announced the completion of their trial of a collaboration portal.

The purpose of the pilot project within GCIO was to explore the value of a cross-NSW Government portal in terms of:

  • How collaboration could improve service delivery;
  • How effective collaboration can be achieved quickly; and
  • The core features required of a collaboration platform.

“Communities” with 182 users from different New South Wales units such as the Guardianship Tribunal, Housing NSW, Enterprise Architecture Community, Cross-Jurisdictional Human Services CIO Network and others were involved in the eight month long project.  It was deemed successful by all parties and the platform has now been moved to a production platform.

Unlike the Federal Government’s Gov 2.0 initiatives, which seek to involve citizens in the policy drafting process, the NSW collaboration portal is confined to dialogue between agency staff.

The contrast is strongest when looking at the collaborative approach of the Advisory Group on Reform of Australian Government Administration, announced by the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, in September 2009.  (Their report was due to be publically released on 29 March 2010, according to the PM&C website, but that date has come and gone with no news of what the reform will constitute). 

Terry Moran, the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet heads the review, and is supported by a committee of nine predominantly serving or ex departmental heads. 

According to the Public Sector Informant ‘the challenge for Moran will be to craft a garment that integrates creative use of the new Web 2.0 world with the reassurance of traditional public service values and Westminster principles.  The Government 2.0 report not only answers one of the key questions of the Moran review’s discussion paper – namely how to make the public service citizen-centred – it sketches a whole new universe that requires radically different attitudes, approaches and capabilities.

PM&C utilized its existing on line forums to obtain feedback regarding the reform agenda – a clear use of a Government 2.0 approach.

Over 800 online comments were received, according to a speech Moran gave on 10 March to the CPSU.  The commentators on the discussion paper appeared overwhelmingly to be public servants, rather than members of the wider community.

In the words of the taskforce’s key points summation ‘Government 2.0 will not be easy for it directly challenges some aspects of established policy and practice within government. Yet the changes to culture, practice and policy we envisage will ultimately advance the traditions of modern democratic government. Hence, there is a requirement for co-ordinated leadership, policy and culture change’.

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