NSW ICT strategy: one public service career, one digital identity

By Stephen Easton

Friday November 27, 2015

New South Wales public servants will only ever have one computer login and email address, no matter where their careers take them.

Employees of all agencies will use a unique government employee number to log in to a service-wide access portal called the ID-Hub, according to the final iteration of the NSW Government’s ICT strategy:

“Once logged in, employees have access to all the computer applications that are integrated to the ID-Hub and are authorised for that user. The unique identifier stays with the employee as they transfer between agencies or leave and return to the government sector.”

NSW public servants will also be able to access optional collaboration networks, communities of practice and sector-wide communications through the ID-Hub. The plan is to have a “white pages app” for the NSW Public Service available by mid-2016 and a simple @nsw email address by year’s end.

The ID-Hub system will also allow agencies to give staff “anywhere anytime access to business systems” as part of a new approach to telecommunications, the new Digital+ 2016 strategy reveals.

Legislation passed last week gave the state government’s flagship data analytics centre the power to demand data from agencies within 14 days. Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello told a conference yesterday the DAC was already transforming government and contributing to reform and working with industry, universities and non-profits to find insights into society’s big challenges.

“The DAC allows us to consider new possibilities, develop new approaches to policy and find new opportunities to pursue,” he said.

First up for the analytics hub are “priority projects” that provide data insights focused on the 30 State Priorities with a mid-2016 deadline and establishing a register of data assets and information sharing agreements between agencies by the third quarter. Guidelines for data sharing between agencies are also to be in place by mid-year, while “standard data quality reporting” is not expected until the end of 2018.

The DAC will also lead development of a “cross-jurisdictional approach to data sharing and analytics for consumer protection and regulation” and push for improved capability and standard data sharing protocols “across sectors and jurisdictions” by the fourth quarter.

The final update to the ICT strategy sets out reasonably specific delivery timeframes for a wide range of such concrete initiatives with clear aims, not just platitudes.

The NSW Customer Dashboard will begin reporting whole-of-government performance measures from a customer perspective in the first half of next year. Soon after, it will host the plans of individual agencies to pursue open government principles — transparency, collaboration, participation, and innovation — and social media policies will be revised in the second half of 2016 as well.

Plans are in place for digital information management and archiving, open data, digital licenses, and of course cybersecurity. Agencies were required to “attest to the security of their information” for the first time in their most recent annual reports, Dominello said.

New guidelines for more secure handling of Cabinet papers are expected right about now, with enhanced protocols for emergencies and disasters early next year, and a framework for better sharing of secure information across government in the second quarter.

ICT procurement reform continues, with a catalogue of pre-qualified ICT suppliers to be expanded and updated as the shift to two centralised data centres known as GovDC continues, allowing agencies to buy an increasing range of services like cloud-based enterprise resource planning systems through the GovDC Marketplace. The great migration to GovDC is to end in late 2017.

Dominello’s plan demands a service-wide approach to putting clunky old legacy systems out to pasture by the third quarter of 2016, and sets out three steps to support ICT workforce development.

Digital+ 2016 is the “denouement” of an iterative process that began in 2012 with a “bold shift” from a focus on internal bureaucratic needs to the needs of citizens, says Dominello. It also marks the beginning of a new phase of digital government that will be underpinned by a whole-of-government innovation strategy.

“We must reimagine the role of government in the digital age and as we move into a new phase of digital government, we will engage with industry, the research sector and the broader community to ensure NSW continues to be a leader in this field,” the minister said.

He proudly told the conference Service NSW was already “the envy of international governments and a model for digital governments that has been embraced in other Australian jurisdictions”.

Consultation on the new innovation strategy begins early in the new year and the minister also named the new members of his Digital Government Advisory Panel, chaired by the ubiquitous technology and innovation consultant Martin Stewart-Weeks.

Stewart-Weeks is joined by: National Disability Insurance Agency CIO and Centre for Digital Business managing director Marie Johnson; Data61 CEO Adrian Turner; Commonwealth Bank executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin; ICT specialist Ian Reinecke; Arup Australia’s head of digital, Greg Stone; and digital strategist Joanne Jacobs.

The panel will advise on emerging trends and best practice in the ICT industry and research sector, and guide consultation on a new approach to digital service delivery in 2016, Dominello said.

Responsibility for carrying out the Digital+ 2016 strategy rests with the ICT board, chaired by Department of Finance, Services and Innovation secretary Martin Hoffman. Below that is the Digital Council chaired by customer service commissioner Mike Pratt and the ICT Leadership Group, also chaired by Hoffman, as well as working groups for five specific areas.

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