The federal government plans to create a new Platforms Marketplace in the coming year amid efforts to develop a government-wide focus on reusable platforms as part of a broader whole-of-government architecture approach.
The proposed marketplace aims to provide guided procurement pathways and digital sourcing advice to deliver platforms that are scalable, reusable and better value for money, according to the federal Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert.
The DTA, which is tasked with handing much of the government’s ICT procurement work, is leading work to streamline the platforms procurement and delivery process for agencies and industry, Robert said.
Using the proposed marketplace, federal agencies looking for a solution will be able to assess existing government platforms for reuse and bring providers together in a way that encourages local participation, flexibility, collaboration and innovation.
“An example of this is the work the DTA is doing with Home Affairs to develop a new Whole of Government Permissions platform,” Robert said in his keynote address to the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) Digital Summit 2020 event on 10 November. “This will initially deliver a modern visa and travel declaration processing capability.
“But we are doing this in a way that will be reusable by other agencies to deliver similar services, for example import and export permits,” he added.
Robert claimed that such an approach would make good use of the investment, speed up delivery of future services and provide a more consistent experience for people and businesses.
“We will take a similar approach on other platforms in the period ahead, with the goal of having interconnected services that work seamlessly with each other and make our engagement with customers simple, helpful, respectful and transparent,” Robert said.
Broadly, the new marketplace will serve to underpin the federal government’s plan to make more use of reusable platforms to, in part, reduce the procurement complexity involved in projects involving platforms.
“The DTA is driving an APS-wide focus on identifying, sharing and sourcing reusable platforms,” Robert said. “This means buying, building or developing once and reusing many times.
“Right now, we have to approach a number of different providers for the end to end capabilities to deliver on a platform, which takes time and money on both the government and the industry side,” he added.
This initiative is part of a proposed new whole-of-government architecture approach, which will bring together systems that are scalable and flexible for use by agencies across government and even across tiers of government, Robert said, suggesting that the new approach would further underpin the government’s focus on improving government services.
“This reorientation of services is founded on having the right approach, the right interconnected platforms and the right processes across government,” Robert said.
“This is the purpose of the whole-of-government architecture approach, which will bring together systems that are scalable and flexible for use by agencies across government and even across tiers of government,” he added.
Indeed, Robert noted that the Whole of Government Architecture taskforce, led by the DTA, will deliver a draft Government Business Architecture that will aim to provide a “holistic” Government Business Model, supported by architecture, platforms and a framework to drive and orchestrate cross-agency services.
“This will give the government the ability to identify strategic capabilities as well as gaps and make informed investment decisions across the entire technology portfolio,” Robert said.
At the same time, Robert discussed the introduction of the Data Availability and Transparency Bill, which he claimed is aimed at providing safeguards for the use of data across government.
“Every single piece of customer consultation we’ve done for every single application tells us loud and clear that people want, above all, for their data to be safe and secure,” he said. “The best platforms in the world and the most advanced technology will not work if Australians don’t trust us to protect their data.”
Additionally, Robert said he had asked the DTA to refresh the government’s Digital Transformation Strategy to take into account the “changed world we find ourselves in now”.
The strategy update will be focused on delivering the services Australians rely on as soon as possible, to help those most in need and to support the nation’s economic recovery.
The DTA released its previous Digital Transformation Strategy in late 2018, outlining a roadmap of initiatives to improve government services up until 2025.
“It is clear...that we have made a tremendous amount of progress on our Digital Transformation Strategy in the last 12 months,” Robert said.
“As announced in the 2020-21 Budget, we’re spending over $3.2 billion on digital and ICT-enabled proposals over the forward estimates, to help us reach our goal of all government services being available digitally by 2025.
“At the same time, the pandemic brought millions of Australians into contact with government, and due to social distancing restrictions, it became a necessity for people to access the services they needed through digital channels.
“The settings, expectations and needs of businesses and individuals have dramatically changed over the last 12 months,” he added.
As such, the government is now progressing a new host of approaches, strategies and initiatives that are seeking to address the changes, Robert noted.