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Summary

The Australian government has announced an important step forward in the delivery of digital government services. The Digital Transformation Office (DTO) will ensure that “government services can be delivered digitally from start to finish.” This announcement is a significant step forward in delivering whole-of-government leadership, but it is by no means the beginning of Australia’s digital journey. Significant outcomes have already been delivered.

An important step in a long journey

The DTO will develop and coordinate the delivery of digital services and have a very hands-on role, given its proposed staff profile. One of its first areas of focus will be to create a cross-agency digital identity to ensure that people no longer have to log on separately for each government process.

This announcement will be welcomed by both industry and departments. It is a clear and concrete policy announcement that breaks the coalition’s relative silence on IT policy since winning government in late 2013. At the time of the election, hopes were raised following the release of a well-considered and detailed policy platform for e-government and the digital economy. However, since the election, there has been a deafening silence on IT policy and whole-of-government leadership.

In spite of these challenges, Australia has achieved significant progress in its push for digital government. Many state governments have already released detailed strategy documents and chalked up significant wins. Individual federal government departments have also made significant progress with internal reform and the delivery of digital services.

Many of the government’s problems have been caused by ongoing confusion about ministerial responsibility and accountability. Three government departments, (Finance, Communications, and Prime Minister & Cabinet) have responsibility for IT policy. The DTO will be located in the Communications Department, and it will benefit from the obvious technology talents of its minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

Appendix

Further reading

“Dealing with the digital enterprise landgrab,” IT0007-000785 (November 2014)

Reinventing Government, IT0007-000780 (October 2014)

“Fad-surfing the wave of digital government,” IT0007-000775 (October 2014)

A CFO's Guide to Cloud Services and Opex-based IT, IT0007-000755 (July 2014)

“Small agencies can trump big government departments in IT projects,” IT007-000740 (December 2013)

“Well-managed innovation agenda becomes key part of IT manager's toolkit,” IT007-000721 (September 2013)

Supporting the Next Generation of Information Workers, IT007-000712 (August 2013)

Author

Kevin Noonan, Research Director, Public Sector

Kevin.noonan@ovum.com

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