The past year has been challenging. COVID-19 created unprecedented demand for digital information, services and support. It has driven us to think and work differently as the world changed around us.
More Australians than ever have turned to government for information, services and support during the last year. Demand on existing platforms like myGov increased significantly, with monthly logins more than doubling in March and April respectively. Throughout the year, we continued to improve government digital services for people and business across Australians. For example, we delivered an enhanced myGov Beta site to provide more personalised services tailored to peoples’ needs. We progressed the digital identity program to provide easier and more secure access to a range of government services. We initiated a whole-of-government architecture project to drive the re-use and development of common platforms and services. We worked on projects to strengthen our cyber security posture.
COVID-19 reinforced the importance of digital in enabling access to services for all Australians. The DTA responded swiftly. We worked across the Australian Public Service (APS) and with states and territories to deliver the Government’s coronavirus information hub, australia.gov.au. This was developed in just over a day and has had more than 29 million visits. We developed the Government’s WhatsApp channel in just under a week. This has more than a million users. And we built the Coronavirus Australia information app and the COVIDSafe tracing app in just 3 weeks, with 4 million downloads and 6.5 million users respectively. By the end of June 2020, there were also 18.7 million myGov user accounts and 1.4 million users of digital identity accessing 70 government services.
What we’ve experienced over the past year has also reminded us of the importance of digital skills. We continued to build digital capability through our Emerging Talent and Women in IT Executive Mentoring Programs. In April, we launched the APS Digital Professional Stream to strengthen the digital expertise of the APS workforce. As part of this, we mapped nearly 150 digital careers to help digital professionals navigate their career pathways.
We released the updated digital edition of the Style Manual in private Beta for user feedback in November 2019. It includes new content on accessibility, inclusive language and content formats.
Our work to improve digital and ICT sourcing arrangements helped government agencies access more cost-effective, contemporary solutions. It also created new opportunities for Australian businesses, particularly small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and Australian businesses.
To further improve sourcing of government digital services and products, we established new whole-of-government agreements, and maintained and updated digital and ICT panels, marketplaces and networks.
In addition, we worked to improve the performance of APS digital and ICT projects. We engaged with 36 agencies on 50 digital and ICT-enabled initiatives and with 26 agencies on 48 in-flight projects. In all, the value of the Government’s active IT projects was $7.4 billion (as at January 2020) and the value of new proposals was $1.5 billion.
This year, we clearly demonstrated the power of true user-focused collaboration. Our cooperation across all levels of government has made us more efficient and effective. There is better information sharing, less duplication, and a greater whole-of-government focus.
In the year ahead, we will build on these successes. We will maintain our focus on better understanding, and improving, user experiences. We will continue to invest in scalable and reusable platforms and capabilities such as digital identity and myGov. We will strengthen our collaboration, both nationally and internationally, and we will continue sharing leading digital practice. We will build on our development of whole-of-government hosting arrangements and the Protected Utility Blueprint. This is delivering a secure, cloud-based whole-of-government collaboration and desktop capability, which is helping to improve our cyber posture. Our work on digital and ICT strategy, policy and advice will continue to ensure government services are well designed and user-focused and aligned with the Digital Transformation Strategy.
While digital provides enormous opportunities for service delivery improvement, it is more than just technology. Our capacity to consider cultures, business models and processes will allow us to continue to make public services simpler, smarter and more user-focused. There has never been a more important time to be leading digital in government.
Chief Executive Officer
Digital Transformation Agency