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About Us

Purpose

Our purpose is to accelerate the transformation of government by:

  • encouraging investment in digital services
  • helping to transform the user experience for people and business
  • improving the return on ICT and digital investment.

Approach

In 2017–18 we worked with stakeholders across government and industry to deliver simple, clear and fast digital government services, to build capability and to improve return on digital investment across government.

People are at the centre of everything we do and we work with agencies to create digital government services that improve their experience of dealing with government.

Functions

We provide strategic and policy leadership on whole-of-government and shared ICT and digital services, including digital and ICT procurement policy.

We deliver policies, standards and platforms for whole‐of‐government and shared ICT and digital services.

We build Australian Public Service ICT and digital capability through programs that support the introduction of new talent and reskilling of current staff.

We also coordinate funding for whole-of-government and shared ICT and digital service delivery platforms, oversee significant ICT and digital investments through a whole-of-government ICT program management office and advise on whole-of-government and shared ICT and digital service delivery proposals.

Our functions are formally set out in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Amendment (Digital Transformation Agency) Rule 2016.

Priorities

During 2017-18 we focused on five priorities to help achieve our purpose:

  1. Develop a digital transformation roadmap to allow the government to identify and fund the digital transformation initiatives that will have the greatest impact on user experiences.
  2. Deliver and improve digital platforms to save money, improve the experience of government services and increase familiarity with government digital systems.
  3. Oversee and advise on ICT and digital investment to make sure investments are delivering value for users and for the government.
  4. Transform ICT procurement to support best practice, inclusive markets, good working relationships between buyers and sellers, and modern, streamlined ways of doing business.
  5. Build Australian Public Service ICT and digital capability by partnering with agencies to raise the level of digital skills across the public service, reduce design and delivery risk, and encourage innovative thinking.

Agency

We are a small agency originally established in 2015 with the enthusiasm of a start-up. We were tasked with extra oversight responsibilities in 2016. We aim to promote innovation and targeted disruption while at the same time operating effectively within government.

We support all Australian Public Service staff to build their capabilities and encourage them to work towards their career goals. This allows us to improve the capability of the public service and support the government both now and into the future.

During 2017-18, we had six groups covering digital services, ICT investment, ICT procurement, finance, people and communications.

Figure 1: Organisation structure as at 30 June 2018

Details about our organisation and our senior executive are included under Corporate governance in Chapter 3.

Stakeholders

We work with stakeholders across government, industry, academia and the general public to challenge and change the way services are traditionally delivered. We do this to keep pace with user expectations and improve their experiences, and to maximise opportunities in the rapidly evolving digital environment.

Our partnerships help us lead and guide change across government agencies towards a common goal, and embed digital thinking at all levels of the Australian Public Service.

Our partnerships range from providing short-term specialist skills, support and training to long-term partnerships to deliver major new digital services.

We also lead communities of practice, manage in-house product delivery teams, and build agile delivery teams inside other agencies. As we are committed to improving people’s experience of government services, we regularly do research with the people who will use these services, and user testing through both private and public trials with users.

Establishment, portfolio and minister

The Digital Transformation Agency was established on 27 October 2016, expanding the role of the former Digital Transformation Office. This change strengthened our role and broadened our functions to include oversight of major ICT and digital investment as well as the original mandate to lead the transformation of government digital services.

We are an executive agency within the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio.

For the first half of 2017-18, we were accountable to the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, the Hon Angus Taylor MP.

From 20 December 2017, we were accountable to the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation, the Hon Michael Keenan MP.

Operating environment in 2017-18

Digital transformation is a global phenomenon. Australians are more mobile and connected than ever. New markets and jobs are emerging that did not exist just a few years ago.

The Australian Public Service needs to adapt and the DTA has been tasked with digital transformation across government. Change is happening quickly and we need to position ourselves to respond.

Environmental factors that influence how we work and how successful we are include:

  • User expectations—People expect government services to be as easy to access, simple to use and as reliable as those in the private sector. They want to interact with government as a whole, using channels that suit them. These expectations are increasing, and the gap between government and non-government services is widening. We are working with agencies to reduce this gap.
  • Return on investment—The government makes a significant investment in ICT goods and services every year. A more coordinated and collaborative approach can deliver efficiencies and value for money, including platforms that can be reused across government. By overseeing ICT investment, and working with agencies on procurement reforms, we are helping to reduce risk and deliver products that deliver real benefits to users.
  • Innovation in service design and delivery—The complexity of policy and regulation can affect service delivery and innovation. However, it is important to work in innovative ways, design services that reflect user needs and apply smart, efficient technologies. This can help address previously unsolvable problems and reduce the gap between government and non-government services. We are supporting collaboration between agencies and with industry to focus services around real life events, rather than government structures, to better meet the needs of users. Improved data collection and analytics will also help to improve services.
  • Australian public service capability—To keep up with user expectations, government agencies need to attract, retain and develop staff with specialist digital skills, improve digital literacy among senior leaders, and give people the tools and resources they need to deliver better digital services. We are helping to build an innovative, curious and digitally savvy public service.
  • Design and delivery process—We support agencies to use the Digital Service Standard that applies to all public-facing government digital products and services. This includes a four‐stage process that helps teams to learn fast and create services that efficiently meet user needs. The four stages are discovery (research), alpha (testing hypotheses and building prototypes), beta (trialling prototypes) and live (making platforms available and continually improving).