Go to top of page

Priority 2: Deliver and improve digital platforms

A digital platform is a system that multiple agencies can use to deliver services. By reusing and sharing digital platforms, agencies can reduce duplication of effort and assets. This approach will save money, improve the experience of government services and increase familiarity with government digital systems.

Corporate Plan 2017–21

We measure our performance against this priority by assessing progress against:

  • success measures related to new platforms, improved return on investment and improved user experience
  • performance criteria related to the development and integration of whole-of-government platforms.

Success measure 2.1 and performance criteria for priority 2

  • New whole-of-government digital platforms are developed to provide better infrastructure for government agencies

Targets:

  • The discovery and alpha phase for the Notifications, Tell Us Once and Payments In platforms are completed
  • The private and public beta phase for the Digital Identity platform and the Trusted Digital Identity Framework are completed

Source: Corporate Plan 2017–21

  • Support the development and integration of whole-of-government platforms

Target:

  • Develop and/or deliver ICT and digital platforms that are successfully used across government

Source: Portfolio Budget Statement 2017–18

Overall assessment: Achieved

Results

  • Notifications—We delivered the discovery report and alpha prototype and
    report for this platform.
  • Tell Us Once—We delivered the discovery report and alpha prototype and report
    for this platform.
  • Payments In—We delayed this platform in favour of work delivering the discovery
    report and alpha prototype for the Federated Data Exchange. This will lay the
    foundations for future work and at the same time allow Payments In to better align
    with emerging payment capabilities such as that being delivered by the Department
    of Human Services through the Welfare Payments Infrastructure Transformation
    Programme. We intend to begin discovery work for the Payments In platform
    in 2018–19.
  • GovPass digital identity ecosystem and Trusted Digital Identity Framework
    This year we released the first and second versions of the framework for public
    consultation, and worked with several agencies to prepare for beta trials in 2018–19.
  • Other whole-of-government platforms successfully used across government—We are providing better infrastructure for government through other platforms including cloud.gov.au, Google Analytics, data.gov.au and National Map.
    • Google Analytics—This platform attracts more than two billion hits per month across 16 agencies and their websites, mobile apps and services.
    • Data.gov.au and National Map—These platforms aim to make it easy to find, access and reuse public Government datasets, including map-based spatial data. Data.gov.au now hosts 26,927 public government datasets and National Map provides easy access to map-based spatial data from more 10,000 government agency datasets.
    • cloud.gov.au—This secure and resilient cloud platform for hosting government websites and applications sees more than 50 applications deployments daily.
  • Domainname.gov.au—We manage ‘gov.au’ domain names (reserved for Australian, state and territory and local government entities) on behalf of registrants. We provide guidance and services related to applying for, managing, changing and removing gov.au domain names. We are working with the industry policy and self-regulatory body, auDA, as well as the state and territory domain administrators from across Australia. As at 30 June 2018, we had commenced a discovery phase on replacement of the self-service portal for gov.au domain registrants, which is expected to enter beta phase by the end of 2018.
  • Platforms strategy—This year we began work on a whole-of-government Platforms Strategy that considers how to build on and link up existing platforms, and how they could be expanded and reused in the future.

Success measure 2.2

Improve return on investment for Government from digital platforms

Targets: Baseline on the number and cost of existing and planned duplicate ICT and digital capabilities

Source: Corporate Plan 2017–21

Overall assessment: Achieved

Results

  • Return on investment - Several platforms and related strategies are already providing a return on investment by saving agencies time, effort, resources and money. This includes the Secure Cloud Strategy and cloud.gov.au, Google Analytics, data.gov.au and National Map.
  • Baseline work - Wee compiled baseline information related to Tell Us Once and Notifications

Success measure 2.3

Improve the user experience for myGov

Targets: Increased number of Australian Government entities providing services through, or interfacing with, myGov

Develop a performance framework to measure the extent to which myGov is delivering expected outcomes for users and member services

Source: Corporate Plan 2017–21

Overall assessment: Achieved

Results

  • myGov use - myGov is a simple and secure way to access a range of government services. myGov usage has nearly doubled in the past two years, and at 30 June 2018 is had over 13 million accounts. In 2017-18, on average, myGov had almost 300,000 daily logins.
  • Services provided—The focus of myGov is changing as we continue to learn more
    about user needs.
    • We laid the groundwork to connect an additional service to myGov during
      2017–18, the National Redress Scheme.
    • We are working to improve myGov services by making it more accessible with options to authenticate using the myGov Access mobile app, and regain access to an account without having to contact a service centre.
    • We researched how myGov branding might improve user experience on new platforms Tell Us Once and Notifications, and researched how to improve the myGov experience for government agencies.
  • Performance framework—We developed and implemented a myGov performance
    framework, following consultation with the Department of Human Services and
    myGov member services, to more effectively track and report on operational and
    overall performance. The framework will use expected outcomes reporting to
    enable member services to track myGov’s performance.

Further explanation about our work under Priority 2: Deliver and improve digital platforms

Developing a platforms strategy

Whole-of-government digital platforms reduce the need for each agency to build their own capability. Sharing common platforms makes it faster, simpler and more efficient to deliver digital services. It also supports more consistent user experiences and frees up agencies to focus on how they can best meet users’ needs. Implementing whole-of-government platforms will provide substantial ongoing departmental efficiencies.

As we work across agencies to plan and develop platforms, we find opportunities for alignment and improved integration.

This year we began work on a whole-of-government Platforms Strategy that considers how to expand and connect existing platforms, and how to ensure they align with the overarching Digital Transformation Strategy as it is developed.

Building new platforms

During 2017–18 we worked on several new platforms:

  • Tell Us Once—This year we completed the discovery (research) and alpha (prototype) phases for this platform, which will allow people to easily advise government of changes in their personal circumstances.
  • Notifications—We also completed the discovery (research) and alpha (prototype) phases for this platform during 2017–18. This platform will allow government to communicate with people using services in a secure and timely way. It will be configured to users’ needs and give people receiving the communication greater transparency and control over their interactions with government.
  • GovPass digital identity ecosystem and Trusted Digital Identity Framework—This will allow people to set up a digital identity with their chosen provider and reuse, providing simple, safe and secure access to a range of government digital services.
    • We have done extensive research over the last two years to bring this together, working with Commonwealth, state and territory government agencies, privacy groups and financial institutions.
    • During 2017–18 we updated and released the framework for two rounds of public consultation. We worked with eight agencies to prepare to begin public beta trials for the platform in 2018–19 (see Spotlight on... Leveraging digital identity for everyone).
  • Google Analytics—During January 2018 we expanded this whole‐of-government platform. It tracks more than two billion hits per month across 16 agencies and their websites, mobile apps and services. We also started offering monthly training, attracting 119 people from 62 government agencies in the first six months. Analysis of training results demonstrates significant improvement in participant knowledge and confidence.
  • Federated Data Exchange—We completed discovery (research) work for this platform. The objective is to enable agencies to have real-time, direct access to each other’s data through an exchange facility, without needing to build individual data exchanges, and while still complying with privacy and security requirements.
  • Government data initiative—We are working on an initiative that supports finding, accessing and using government data. This initiative relates to developing application programming
    interface (API) standards. APIs are a set of clearly defined methods of communication between various systems.
  • Data discovery tools—We are creating data discovery tools for government, in partnership with CSIRO’s Data61.

Improving public data and spatial mapping platforms

In November 2017, the DTA became accountable for managing the data.gov.au and National Map platforms. We have begun delivering improvements to these platforms and how they are used:

  • Data.gov.au—This platform provides an easy way to find, access and reuse public government datasets. It is part of the commitment to open government. Since we took on the platform, the number of datasets hosted has grown from 25,785 to 26,927, an increase of four per cent. We have also partnered with CSIRO’s Data61 to build a new search and discovery interface that will make it easier for people to search and access the 6,927 datasets discoverable through data.gov.au. By the end of June 2018, a beta site with continuous iterations and improvements had been running for six months.
  • National Map—This platform provides easy access to map-based spatial data from 10,000 Australian Government agency datasets. We assisted CSIRO’s Data61 with new platforms for an open data proposal to improve user experience, ease of use, and agency access to this platform.

Moving to cloud

Using cloud technology can lift productivity, improve agility and allow agencies to focus on delivering better services. We want to make it easier for government to invest in cloud. This year we worked closely across government and industry to develop the Secure Cloud Strategy, and to update the exemplar platform, cloud.gov.au:

  • Secure Cloud Strategy—The strategy focuses on helping government agencies use cloud more easily to help them move to a more agile method of service improvement. It encourages rapid uptake of cloud services across government. It enables agencies to take advantage of the agility, flexibility and speed of delivery while maintaining availability, integrity and confidentiality. Agencies are required to have cloud strategies in place by 30 November 2018, and they are all on track to do this. As at 30 June 2018, of the 58 agencies that responded to our inaugural cloud survey, 16 per cent already had a cloud strategy and 39 per cent were drafting one.
  • cloud.gov.au—Initially established in January 2016, cloud.gov.au is a secure and resilient cloud platform for hosting government websites and applications. The platform focuses on developer productivity and enables government agencies to rapidly prototype new ideas as well as run reliable services for their users. The cloud.gov.au platform uses industry leading open source technology that is comparable to those used in the United Kingdom and the United States. There are more than 200 applications running on cloud.gov.au and a typical workday sees more than 50 application deployments.
  • Assistance to agencies and information sharing—We also continued to assist agencies to adopt cloud strategies and established an online Cloud Forum and monthly Cloud Showcase
    to share best practice and lessons learned across more than 40 agencies. In addition, we created a dashboard to display cloud insights.
  • Hosting Strategy—We started working with government agencies to develop this strategy, which will set a clear direction for hosting. The strategy will balance sufficient oversight and
    guidance to safeguard the security of government systems and data, with the agility and speed to market needed to address policy changes and improve the service experience for individuals and businesses engaging with government. It will cover the wider ecosystem, encompassing data centre facilities, compute, storage and cloud (for classifications of Protected and below). It will also include standards addressing risks related to data
    sovereignty, ownership and control, and set minimum standards (system, legislative, policy) for government, hosting and cloud services suppliers.

Delivering efficiencies through platforms

Platforms that are reused across government can deliver improved efficiencies, value for money and improved return on investment. Several platforms are already providing efficiencies:

  • Google Analytics—To date, with 16 subscribed agencies, this platform is delivering a saving of around $1 million a year (compared with when those agencies ran individual contracts for these services). Further savings are expected through coordinated procurement.
  • data.gov.au—This platform provides free public hosting to share data held by government, removing the need for agencies to operate their own public data catalogues. More than 300 agencies use this platform, spanning Commonwealth, state, territory and local government levels. Savings of up to $150,000 a year each in infrastructure costs have been found. There are also significant economic benefits in sharing government data. Research suggests that ready access to government data or other public information in Australia has the potential to generate up to $25 billion per year, or slightly more than 1.5 per cent of GDP.1
  • National Map—Participating agencies save on the cost of individual software licences, and technical specialists needed to prepare high quality map-based data products. Non-participating agencies also save costs by having access to geospatial specialist advice and guidance via data.gov.au. A single license can cost between $500 and $1200 a year and the salary for a single specialist can be up to $180,000 a year.
  • Secure Cloud Strategy and cloud.gov.au—Agencies, from large to small, are using our Secure Cloud Strategy and associated guidance and education. This means they do not have to investigate their cloud strategies from scratch. It is also helping improve the resilience and agility of their services. We have completed a baseline of the current investment on secure cloud solutions across agencies in order to track the financial benefits of the strategy.

Improving myGov

Our user research consistently shows that people want to interact with government as a whole, not individual agencies. myGov is a simple and secure way to access government online services, allowing users to link up to 10 different services using one system, with one login. Services linked to myGov accounts range from health and taxation to child support and aged care.

The DTA is the owner of myGov. We are responsible for developing myGov policy, strategy, user experience and bringing in new services.

Improving the user experience for myGov will make it even easier for people and businesses to access government services. With this goal in mind, this year we undertook the following activities:

  • Additional service—We laid the groundwork to connect an additional new service to myGov, the National Redress Scheme.
  • Integration with platforms—We developed strategies to integrate myGov with emerging whole-of-government platforms including Tell Us Once, Notifications, Payments In and the GovPass digital identity ecosystem.
  • Common branding—We began discovery projects (research) on whether common myGov branding across new platforms will provide a better user experience. This will be implemented in the alpha prototypes for Tell Us Once and Notifications.
  • Agency experience—We completed discovery (research) on how to improve the experience for government agencies working with myGov and overcome barriers to increasing the number of myGov services.

Spotlight on... Leveraging digital identity for everyone

Accessing government services should be simple, safe and secure. To deliver on this, we need a trusted digital identity solution for secure online transactions.

At the moment, the government uses more than 30 different logins for digital services. Instead, we want people to be able to establish their identity once, and use it multiple times to access multiple government services. Through the GovPass program we are working with government agencies, the private sector and the public to develop the standard for digital identity.

Setting the standard

The first step toward delivering a trusted digital identity solution is to develop the Trusted Digital Identity Framework. This provides the standard—the foundation for consistent, secure and reliable digital identity for everyone. We published the first component of the framework for comment in November 2017 and updated it based on more than 1000 comments from community and industry. The Trusted Digital Identity Framework outlines the standards of online identity services for individuals, including accreditation, authentication, fraud control, identity proofing, privacy, protective security, risk management, useability and accessibility. We invited consultation on the second release of the framework in mid-June 2018.

Building the GovPass digital identity ecosystem

The GovPass digital identity ecosystem has been designed with privacy in mind. It features components to ensure people are in control of how their identity is used.

The Australian Government will have an identity provider called myGovID, which is being built by the Australian Taxation Office. myGovID will connect to a gateway between providers and services, called the Exchange. The Department of Human Services will build the Exchange. This protects user privacy, as service providers will not see any user identity information, and identity providers will not know what services users are accessing. Additional components used in the GovPass digital identity ecosystem will include an authorisation service for individuals acting on behalf of a business and the Facial Verification Service, managed by the Department of Home Affairs.

The first identity provider beta pilot is due to start in October 2018. This pilot will enable up to 100,000 users to apply for a Tax File Number online. The current process requires people to visit a service centre to verify their identity, with processing typically taking up to six weeks. The introduction of the GovPass pilot will reduce this to around 15 minutes, with no need to present at a service centre.

Other pilot services connected to digital identity during 2018–19 will include:

  • AusKey
  • Tax File Number (TFN)
  • Australian Business Register (ABR)
  • Grants Management
  • My Health Record
  • Unique Student Identifier
  • Youth Allowance
  • Newstart Allowance.

We are also encouraging more organisations to become accredited identity providers, including Australia Post, state and territory governments and from the private sector. This will mean more choice for users to establish a secure and reusable digital identity with a provider they trust.

By the end of 2018–19 we expect to roll out pilot services up to 2.1 million people and businesses to move from manual to digital identity verification. This will improve safety and convenience for government service users and improve government efficiency.

We will continue to consult stakeholders during this process to make sure we can create a digital identity solution that meets the Australian community’s expectations and needs.

Footnotes

  1. Bureau of Communications Research, (2016) Open government data and why it matters, Australian Government Department of Communications and the Arts, Australia. Quoting research: Gruen, N. Houghton, J. & Tooth, R. (2014). Open for Business: How Open Data Can Help Achieve the G20 Growth Target, Lateral Economics for Omidyar Network, Australia. www.omidyar.com/sites/default/files/file_archive/insights/ON%20Report_06...