Australia is setting up an expanded and more powerful agency to oversee all digital and IT functions in the government, it was announced today.
“A new Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) will implement wide-scale change in digital capability across government departments”, said Angus Taylor, Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation.
The DTA will absorb the current Digital Transformation Office, which was set up last year to lead digital service delivery. It will also take control over tech procurement and policy, and traditional back-office IT functions, currently managed by the Department of Finance.
The move centralises IT projects from across the government directly under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office.
The announcement comes a week after the launch of Singapore’s new Government Technology Agency, which will oversee for all public sector tech – including digital, robotics, artificial intelligence, internet of things, and data science.
Paul Shetler, who is currently CEO of the Digital Transformation Office, will take on a new role as Chief Digital Officer at DTA. Nerida O’Loughlin – Deputy Secretary Content, Arts and Strategy at the Department of Communications and the Arts – has been named as interim CEO of the new agency.
DTA will also have a project management unit to monitor IT and digital projects, whether they are meeting targets and stepping in if they go off track. The “small high-calibre” office will “manage strategy and manage integration of the digital transformation agenda across all of government”, Taylor said.
The “expanded digital agenda will be much less risk averse, transparent, fast moving [regarding] ICT investment, procurement – to realise big benefits”, Taylor wrote in a Twitter post.
The agency will get an advisory board formed of senior public servants and business executives.
The agency will “build on the success of the Digital Transformation Office”, Taylor said. DTO has worked on government-wide platforms to improve the use of tech, such as a digital marketplace to simplify procurement.
It has set Digital Service Standards that all new digital services by the Australian government must meet. It has supported agencies across government to build products that meet user needs, and launch them in shorter timeframes.
“Changes around creation of the new agency and its remit will be recommended to the Governor General for approval,” a statement from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet said.
Image by @DTO