Victoria has cemented its role as the leader of the Gov 2.0 pack, with the release of its Government 2.0 Action Plan which commits the state to 14 initiatives designed to encourage transparency and citizen participation with government.
The plan comes in response to the report of the Economic Development and Infrastructure parliamentary committee, which was tabled in June last year. This report recommended the development of an Information Management Framework and the adoption of the Creative Commons licensing model.
Earlier this year the Victorian Government committed to licensing 85 per cent of its public sector information under Creative Commons arrangements. The Creative Commons system frees up this information so it can be legally reused without the breach of copyright laws.
The Information Management Framework will be developed by the Departments of Premier and Cabinet, Treasury and Finance and Innovation, Industry and Regional Development in accordance with the Gov 2.0 Action Plan.
Other initiatives outlined in the plan include:
- A Gov 2.0 Taskforce which will be made up of representatives from all departments;
- At least one Gov 2.0 project from each department by the end of the financial year;
- A central website, Have Your Say, which will be set up to facilitate discussion between citizens and government via web 2.0 tools;
- A web 2.0 space to be set up by The Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV) where the public can access and interact with state records;
- Citizen –centric services such as FireReady iPhone and Facebook applications which are currently being developed by the Department of Justice;
- User-created content and web 2.0 applications which will be enabled on the popular Better Health Channel website, as well as web and phone apps for organising personal health activities;
- Victorian Public Service (VPS) Hack Days, where designers can collaborate on web and mobile applications, are to be held every 6 months; and
- A full rollout of the data.gov.vic.au website, with an expanded range of datasets to be made available.
The Victorian Government is not new to the Gov 2.0 space. They launched the App My State competition in February this year, where 171 application developers competed for a share in a $100,000 prize pool for the most innovative use of public sector datasets.
Australian Gov 2.0 crusader, Craig Thomler, says on his blog that the state is leading the pack in terms of open government.
“In my view, Victoria's Gov 2.0 Action Plan is an example of best practice in how to prepare to systematically embed Government 2.0 techniques and tools into a government”, Thomler said.
According to the document, the Victorian Department of Justice has been particularly active in its approach to Gov 2.0. Its 7,000 employees have access to internal social networking tools such as Yammer, VPS Hub,and a user generated multimedia news bulletin called Webcasting Inside Report. It has also utilised Gov 2.0 principles in the rollout of community information initiatives such as Cameras Cut Crashes, Enough (a campaign to stop family violence) and Problem Gambling.
All of the initiatives listed above are due to be implemented within the current financial year, with the exception of the Information Management Framework and the PROV web space, which will be due for completion within the following twelve months.