DTO to be reborn as a full-grown agency

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DTO to be reborn as a full-grown agency

New leadership to placate the Canberra crowd.

The federal government’s Digital Transformation Office will get a new name, a new structure, and a new boss to reflect its expanded remit as it sucks up the last IT functions held by the Department of Finance since the Coalition disassembled AGIMO.

Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation Angus Taylor will unveil the post-election changes to the Prime Minister’s pet office - which will now be known as the Digital Transformation Agency - at an AIIA industry briefing in Canberra today.

In what he is calling “phase two” of the government’s digital transformation agenda, Taylor has paired a peace offering to the Australian public service with the announcement that an expanded digital agency will now spend more of its time looking into agencies' IT operations.

He has re-jigged the leadership of the DTA, giving DTO boss Paul Shetler a plum gig as government chief digital officer in exchange for handing control of the agency back to a seasoned Canberra public servant.

Department of Communications deputy secretary Nerida O'Loughlin has agreed to take on the role of DTA CEO for an interim period of three months, bringing an insider’s understanding of the APS to the role, according to Taylor.

One of the re-badged agency’s first jobs will be to review and refresh the government’s IT strategy, with Taylor making it clear he is looking for a new framework with a distinct outsourcing flavour.

The restructure will also end the confusing divide in IT functions between the Department of Finance - which has staunchly held on to back-office technology and IT procurement as a relic of the old AGIMO days - and the customer-facing remit of the DTO.

These last functions will now be bundled into the expanded DTA.

iTnews has contacted Finance for comment on how the switch will impact its staffing and structure, particularly the technology and procurement unit currently led by John Sheridan.

Taylor said he would release more details of structural changes in the coming weeks.

In an addition that could prove less palatable to the line agencies, however, the reborn DTA will boast a new program management office set to ‘enable and monitor’ IT projects all way from inception to completion, first hinted at with the appointment of Peter Alexander as COO.

The advisory team will keep an eye on whether projects are realising their stated goals, and will step in to troubleshoot when they go off the rails.

The DTA will also get a new advisory board comprised of senior public servants and private sector executives to help direct the minister and the agency in setting the government’s digital agenda.

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