DTA embarks on whole-of-government architecture plan to enable APS reform and streamline services

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday June 12, 2020

Instead of simply complaining about the lack of good reform over the past decade, one of Australia's best public policy thinkers has taken a serious look at what has gone wrong.
Instead of simply complaining about the lack of good reform over the past decade, one of Australia’s best public policy thinkers has taken a serious look at what has gone wrong. (frdric/Adobe)

The Digital Transformation Agency has revealed more details about the federal government’s plan to create whole-of-government architecture to further streamline government services.

Graham Wilson, from the govX team, on Thursday said the DTA has been looking at reusing common capabilities and platforms across agencies in a bid to break down silos and connect services.

“This whole-of-government architecture will provide a better user experience through cross-agency design and investment decisions,” he said.

By facilitating whole-of-government capabilities, Wilson noted, the plan would enable current and future reform across the Australian Public Service.

Other benefits would include cost savings, a joined-up government through user-centric design, security and privacy, and “greater agility to support rapid change”.

Government services minister Stuart Robert first announced the initiative in November, to be delivered by a taskforce comprised of members from Services Australia, the Australian Tax Office, the Department of Home Affairs, and the Department of Defence.

With the support of a team from the DTA’s Digital Strategy and Capability Division, the taskforce has been focusing on supporting agencies to invest in “integrated capabilities”.


Read more: Feds plan to join up government using computer science, on the way to service delivery ‘Nirvana’


The taskforce would deliver value to agencies by:

  1. Championing users – showing and promoting a user-centric design of service and capability planning, design, and development,
  2. Connecting services – developing and promoting guidelines, standards, and practices to support connected services and platforms,
  3. Building communities – creating architecture communities to collaborate, innovate, and design government services, platforms, and capabilities,
  4. Enabling assurance – providing advocacy, insight, and tools to visualise and assure investment and design decisions for all agencies.

A community of practice comprised of government architects would meet regularly to support the taskforce’s work, and architects from state and territory agencies would be engaged.

Wilson noted a working group would also be established, with contributors from service delivery agencies, policy agencies, and central agencies.

“This will make sure we don’t miss opportunities to ‘join up’ services and share capabilities across federal, state and territory governments,” he said.


Read more: The big reveal: Services Australia reforms linked to data sharing and digital transformation


For the remainder of 2020, the taskforce plans to work on a catalogue of reusable platforms and services across government, and a prototype qualitative investment tool to assess the alignment of proposed initiatives with digital transformation priorities.

Other priorities include making improvements to government business architecture, establish a community of practice, and look into ways to collect a “knowledge base” of government architecture.

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