The Australian Government should facilitate the sharing of data between agencies, according to a draft “Vision” document issued by the Secretary of the Department of Finance and Deregulation, David Tune.
The 32-page document offered a wordy aspirational perspective of the strategic priorities of Government ICT over the next five years.
Among its more controversial recommendations, it proposed that Australian citizens consent to Government agencies to share data - within undefined security and privacy constraints - to enable a “tell us once” approach.
More ambitiously, it suggested this could involve “seamless service delivery across Australian, State and Territory, and Local government jurisdictions, over time…”
Government services should be available through “fewer websites”, the paper said, with australia.gov.au strengthened as the primary online entry point, providing a common look and feel for all Government sites from 2013.
Ideally, people would be able to access services across agencies through a single logon should they wish to link their dealings with various government agencies.
Australian businesses would also have online access to a range of government transactions using published standards and protocols to simplify their dealings with Government.
Focus on productivity gains, not just costs.
The Australian Government’s use of information and communication technology (ICT) should play a role in boosting public sector productivity rather than focus on cutting costs, the paper said.
ICT should be used to deliver better government services, engage openly with stakeholders and improve government operations. the document said.
In contrast to disturbing trends overseas, the paper re-affirmed the move to open Government, open engagement, access to datasets on data.gov.au and use of Web 2.0 tools and a greater use of location-based data.
More coordinated procurement
The paper's “action program” also promised “new areas” (otherwise undefined) for coordinated ICT procurement to reduce costs and duplication, alongside existing efforts for a whole-of-Government approach to data centres, for example.
Under the heading of “investing optimally”, the paper suggested agency-focused ICT purchasing could conflict with broader opportunities and proposed that AGIMO and Finance gain more intelligence and data from the agencies to streamline procurement.
“Annual ICT benchmarking will be refined to provide detailed information on agency ICT activities, investments and plans,” it said.
This will “lead to better strategic investments focusing on, in order of preference, re-using existing capability, modifying existing capability or buying or building new capability for use across multiple agencies”.
The document stated that this “will include consideration of how best to deliver ICT capability to smaller agencies.”
However, the biggest ICT spenders, Defence and intelligence agencies, would again be treated as a special case.
The draft paper proposed only that such agencies would “implement the strategic actions of the Vision that are relevant to them in respect of their administrative, financial, personnel and other non-specialist and non-defence capability ICT systems”.
It remained unclear whether this would provide Defence an exemption it has long sought from the two-pass procurement review.
AGIMO’s duty statement
The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) was given broadly similar roles that it has undertaken to date. The paper offered seven duties for AGIMO is to perform over the five year period.
These implicitly dismissed the suggestion from the Reinecke report that there be a new CTO position created to focus on policy matters.
AGIMO would be responsible for:
- driving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Government’s use of ICT including coordinated procurement and data centre consolidation.
- collecting and analysing information to assist the Government and the Secretaries’ ICT Governance Board (SIGB) in setting future directions.
- work with agencies to develop “detailed implementation approaches that deliver the strategic priorities and improve productivity”
- advocate strategies to SIGB and the Government for endorsement.
- work closely with stakeholders within and external to government to implement the Vision, including with agency CIOs, the National Security CIO and the Australian Government security community, the Australian Information Commissioner, ICT vendors and ICT industry representative groups, and the third sector; and .
- a small, dedicated program management office to assist SIGB govern the implementation of the 2011 ICT Strategic Vision.
- play a critical role in working with agencies and governance boards to ensure that the Vision is delivered.
Public comments on the draft can be made directly until Monday 16 May 2011.