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Redefined functions for the new Digital Transformation Agency in Australia

Redefined functions for the new Digital Transformation Agency in Australia

Sir Peter Cosgrove, the Governor-General of Australia, amended the Order to establish the Digital Transformation Office (DTO) as an Executive Agency made on 12 March 2015, renaming it as the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) and enumerating the functions of the new agency.

This was following up on the media release earlier this month by the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, about changing the name and mandate for the DTO.

The remit of the renamed organisation is significantly broader, as evident from the following changes in the first five points of Section (e), compared to the original Order:

i. New: to provide strategic and policy leadership on whole-of-government and shared information and communications technology (ICT) and digital service delivery, including ICT procurement policy;

Old: to provide leadership on government service delivery;

ii. New: to design, develop, coordinate, deliver and monitor policies, standards, services and delivery platforms for whole-of-government and shared ICT and digital service delivery;

Old: to develop and implement user-centred whole-of-government service delivery  policies and standards;

iii. New: to co-ordinate the funding of whole-of-government and shared ICT and digital service delivery platforms;

Old: to design and govern the implementation and enhancement of whole-of-government service delivery platforms;

iv. New: to manage a whole-of-government ICT program management office which will oversee all significant ICT and digital investments;

Old: to co-ordinate the funding of whole-of-government service delivery platforms;

v. New: to provide advice to the Minister on whole-of-government and shared  ICT and digital service delivery proposals

Old: to provide advice to the Minister on service delivery proposals

The expanded powers of the DTA seem to indicate deeper involvement in the design and implementation of ICT and digital service delivery across public sector agencies.

Several ICT policy and ICT procurement functions currently under the Department of Finance are being transferred to the DTA. Further details are available in the Administrative Arrangements Order issued on the 27th of October.

Nerida O’Loughlin, formerly Deputy Secretary- Content, Arts and Strategy at the Department of Communications and Arts, assumed responsibility as the interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on 24th October. Her prior experience includes leadership roles in the Australian Communications and Media Authority and the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments’ policy and programs, across the technology and cultural sectors.

Ms O'Loughlin said, “The shape of the agency will continue to change over coming weeks as we finalise the scope of the DTA’s expanded functions. I would like to congratulate the DTO (Digital Transformation Office) on its significant achievements over the past year and I Iook forward to working with the team to implement the Government’s exciting digital transformation agenda.” 

A new Chief Digital Officer (CDO) role will be assumed by the CEO of the DTO, Mr Paul Shetler.

There are also plans to form a Digital Transformation Advisory Board, chaired by Dr Martin Parkinson, Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, to provide advice to the Minister’s office. The Board will incorporate both private and public sector expertise.

There is a strong focus in the revamp on integration across agencies, as seen from the earlier announcement that the DTA will have “small high-calibre program management office to manage strategy and manage integration of the digital transformation agenda across all of government”. The ultimate objective is to ensure world-leading practices, thereby improving user satisfaction and making Australians’ lives simpler.

Order to ‘Rename the Digital Transformation Office and Specify Functions for the Renamed Digital Transformation Agency’, Dated 28th October 2016

Media release, 'New Digital Agency establishes agenda', Dated 28th October 2016

Media release, ‘Transforming the Commonwealth’s Digital Agenda’, announcing the launch of the DTA, Dated 14th October 2016


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