Budget 2015: Government pursues digital transformation

Over a quarter of a billion dollars has been allocated over the next four years by the government to push forward with the initial stage of a ‘Digital Transformation Agenda’.

The $254.7 million package includes $95.4 million for the new Digital Transformation Office (DTO).

The DTO will be an executive agency that sits within the Department of Communications. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced in January the creation of the DTO.

The funding includes $120 million worth of savings over five years that will be directed from other areas: “This measure includes financial contributions from agencies within portfolios that are involved in the digital delivery of services, and transfers of functions from the Department of Finance and the Department of Communications to the Digital Transformation Office,” budget documents state.

The initial government announcement of the DTO said it would operate more like a startup than a traditional agency and be made up of a “small team of developers, designers, researchers and content specialists working across government to develop and coordinate the delivery of digital services.”

“The DTO will redesign services to be digital by default,” a statement issued tonight by the communications minister said.

“However, the government recognises there are some people who will need assistance to transition to digital and we will support them to continue to receive the services they need.

“Protecting personal information will remain a high priority and security and privacy mechanisms will be put in place to build public confidence in digital services.”

The funding to establish the DTO includes work on the development of a mandatory digital service standard to make digital services consistent and easy to use.

Earlier this year the nascent DTO unveiled a draft version of the standard.

Projects that are part of the Digital Transformation Agenda include $106.8 million to streamline the administration of government grants through a common ICT platform and single portal to search and apply for grants and $33.3 million for the development of a trusted digital identity framework, which the government had previously earmarked as a major project for the DTO.

In addition the budget earmarks $11.5 million improving the ‘tell us once’ capabilities for government services.

There is also $7.1 million for developing a “whole-of-government digital mailbox solution to enable individuals and businesses to receive and transact with digital messages and documents from government in a seamless, secure environment.”

The government has previously indicated that the DTO would work on opportunities for the state and territory governments to use the federal ‘myGov’ service launched in 2013.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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