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Priority 3: Oversee and advise on ICT and digital investment

We have oversight of all significant government ICT and digital investments. This gives us the opportunity to consider potential risks, assess whether projects are cost effective and delivering their intended benefits, find opportunities to share platforms, and coordinate procurement so the government can make the most of its buying power. Our oversight helps to make sure investments are delivering value for the users and for the government.

Corporate Plan 2017–21

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

  • success measures related to oversight of significant investments and recommendations to improve the design, prioritisation and delivery of ICT projects
  • performance criteria related to establishing a whole‐of‐government ICT and digital program management office and providing advice and to government on investments.

Success measure 3.1

Oversight of significant ICT and digital investments

Recommendations provided to agencies to improve design, prioritisation and delivery of ICT projects

Targets: DTA advice to government informs proposed delivery approaches and investment decisions

Develop a data collection, analytical and reporting capability that informs and
helps drive both transformation and improved outcomes for government and
the nation

Delivery of the ICT and Digital Portfolio Investment Framework to accelerate
user experience improvements and the delivery of benefits

Source: Corporate Plan 2017–21

Overall assessment: Achieved


  • Digital Investment Review—We engaged with 20 agencies through our review of digital investments, which is designed to help set up major ICT projects for best success.
  • Oversight and advice on projects—As at 30 June 2018, we had oversight of 68 active ICT and digital projects and provided strategic advice to assist decision-makers on proposed new investments. We also provided more targeted oversight of several ‘in flight’ projects due to their complexity, the significant amount of money invested in them, or their strategic importance—equating to 43 per cent of the portfolio by budget.
  • Targeted advice—During the year we provided targeted advice through various governance forums, workshops and drop-in clinics. We advocate for digital transformation through our involvement in senior committees, steering groups and project boards.
  • Data collection and reporting—To inform and drive transformation and improved outcomes, and to inform a baseline for future performance periods, we collected data on the government’s overarching portfolio of ICT and digital investments. e also provided regular advice on the health and trajectory of major investments in this portfolio. In addition, during the year we improved our data collection and analysis of government digital and ICT investments.
  • Principles and guidance—We developed principles to guide agencies on transformation work, to help accelerate user experience improvements and the delivery of benefits. We also developed an initial set of requirements related to data collection, management and interoperability, for agencies to include in investment plans.

Performance criteria for priority 3

Establish a whole-of-government ICT and digital program management office to design and build reporting requirements, improve governance, and risk management standards

Provide analysis and advice to government on ICT and digital investments

Target: Provide increased transparency of the government’s ICT and digital products, their costs, risks and implementation progress

Source: Portfolio Budget Statement, 2017–18

Overall assessment: Achieved


  • Program management office—We established an ICT and digital program management office, called the Digital Investment Management Office.
  • Analysis and advice—Through this office we provide government with strategic advice on proposed new investments to check they align with government direction for digital services, procurement and improved return, and to reduce risk by moving to smaller, more easily managed ICT projects. Our advice also led to agencies considering whole-of-government services rather than extending in-house systems. We also provided regular advice to government on the health of the overall ICT and digital investment portfolio, and targeted advice to agencies through involvement in governance forums, workshops and drop-in clinics (see success measure 3.1).
  • Service delivery improvement—Our Digital Investment Management Office also captures information on service delivery through regular data collections, which identify high value services currently without a significant digital presence and where existing digital services could be improved.

Further explanation about our work under Priority 3: Oversee and advise on ICT and digital investment

Providing advice and assisting decisions

Through our Digital Investment Management Office we oversee and advise on government investment in ICT and digital services to make sure projects are set up and delivered in the right way. This includes:

  • setting priorities in line with the government’s Digital Transformation Agenda
  • shaping new investment proposals to make sure they contribute to the Digital Transformation Agenda, accelerate delivery and eliminate duplication
  • monitoring projects to ensure they are delivering effectively and efficiently
  • actively engaging with high risk projects to ensure they deliver their intended benefits
  • identifying high value or impact services that could potentially be digitised
  • providing regular advice to government on the health of the overall ICT and digital investment portfolio.

Examples of our advisory service helping agencies to establish structures and approaches to support successful outcomes include the:

  • Department of Social Services mapping user experiences in grants administration to better target program benefits
  • Bureau of Meteorology establishing good practice around benefits, risk and procurement
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics planning for Census 2021, looking at ways to deliver using agile techniques, reducing risk and delivering value faster.

Building a picture of the investment portfolio

In 2017–18 non-corporate Commonwealth entities spent $1.2 billion on ICT and digital initiatives.

We are building a clearer picture of the breadth of projects, and helping to improve return on this investment. During the year we engaged with a wide range of agencies through our initial review of digital investments including costs, benefits, risks and status of ICT projects and programs worth more than $10 million. The aim was to see how major ICT projects were tracking and help set them up for success. During the course of the year, our engagement expanded to more than 24 agencies, covering more than 80 initiatives. Through this work we gained insights into where ICT investment is going and how those projects are performing (see Figures 4 and 5 for early insights).

At the same time, we continued to improve the way we collect and use data, and developed new and more strategic approaches to investment analysis, governance, risk management, program management and how to measure benefits.

Figure 4: Early insights into ICT and digital investment portfolio, as at 30 June 2018

Figure 5: Budgets for active major ICT initiatives by Portfolio, as at 30 June 2018