DTA's new CEO outlines priorities

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 07 August, 2017

Gavin slater courtesy dta carousel

The Digital Transformation Agency’s (DTA) new CEO, Gavin Slater, has made developing a clear digital service delivery roadmap at a whole-of-government level the agency’s top priority.

In his inaugural speech as CEO of the agency during an address to the Australian Information Agency, Slater said strong progress is being made in terms of the adoption of digital government services.

For example, the number of citizens lodging their tax online more than doubled to 3.5 million for the FY16 financial year, and My Health Record is now used by more than 10,000 healthcare providers and 5 million people.

The Department of Immigration is also working toward developing a system that would eliminate the need for international travellers to produce their passports by conducting the required checks through face recognition.

But he said challenges remain, with research from 2016 indicating that 46% of Australians had trouble while using online government services. Another study from that year found that users were only able to find the information they were searching for on federal government websites every two out of 19 attempts.

To meet the agency’s mission of facilitating the continued migration of government services to digital channels, while improving the experience for individuals and businesses and improving outcomes from taxpayer money spent on ICT, the DTA has five key priorities, Slater said.

The first of these is developing a digital service delivery roadmap to ensure money is being invested in transformation initiatives that will have the biggest impact.

The second involves focusing efforts across the public service to improving the core platforms that support online government service transactions. This encompasses the DTA’s goal of developing a single digital identity that citizens can use for authentication across multiple government websites.

Third, the DTA is focused on developing the ability to effectively monitor the performance of the whole-of-government ICT project portfolio, in a similar way that venture capitalists would use to treat a portfolio of businesses they have invested in.

Fourth, the DTA is aiming to level the playing field to make it easier for SMEs to secure government contracts, such as through the Digital Marketplace government digital services procurement portal.

The fifth priority is establishing a program focused on improving the digital capability of staff across the public service to address the worsening digital skills shortage. To that end, the DTA recently announced it will place 250 digital staff in government agencies across Australia through its latest ICT Entry-Level program.

Slater said fulfilling the agency’s goals will require close cooperation with industry, hinging on addressing challenges including increasing collaboration across government and fostering a culture of innovative thinking among senior leaders in government organisations.

Slater was tapped to lead the DTA in April and took over from interim CEO Nerida O’Loughlin in May.

Pictured: Gavinn Slater. Image courtesy DTA.

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