DTO patches up with Finance, brings govCMS to the new GOV.AU beta

By Harley Dennett

April 20, 2016

If the Digital Transformation Office’s GOV.AU is to be the centre around which all Commonwealth websites swirl, then the Department of Finance’s govCMS will be the platform that virtually everyone in the Australian Public Service will publish in the near future.

The Commonwealth’s two technology-focused central agencies were rumoured to have clashed over the nuking of the previous government portal, australia.gov.au that was redesigned and relaunched barely weeks before the announcement that GOV.AU would replace it.

But none of that tension was visible yesterday when the agencies announced that the Drupal-based govCMS will be the new preferred content management system for the GOV.AU beta.

Australian government chief technology officer John Sheridan said govCMS was designed to provide a solution to agencies that would reduce the cost of maintaining their websites:

“govCMS removes the burden of website content management and hosting arrangements, leaving agencies with more time to focus on the content and services they provide to end users.

“govCMS provides a responsive and accessible starting point for websites, using a common platform built on open source code and operated through sharing and reuse.

“The platform is available now and can be used by all agencies.”

It was hardly a foregone conclusion that govCMS would get adopted by DTO for its new whole-of-government hub, despite the well-developed community of Drupal experts in government already. Other platforms might have offered a more dynamic experience for the end user, but that might also have required significantly more up-skilling of the content uploaders and designers.

DTO chief Paul Shetler said that agencies already using govCMS will have a relatively straightforward process adding and updating content in GOV.AU, with a minimal learning curve. However, the actual moving to GOV.AU will still need to go through DTO’s rigorous process intended to ensure the user experience is optimal and conforms to the Digital Service Standard.

To help agencies prepare for the eventual shift, the DTO is:

  • Exploring how we can use the API-enabled content hub feature in govCMS to publish information to GOV.AU;
  • Planning to more widely adopt design patterns coming out of GOV.AU Beta’s development work; and
  • Creating better connections across our community so when the time comes for change, we can share the load and tackle challenges together.

Sheridan is in Melbourne today giving a keynote to Victorian Public Sector agencies about the benefits of govCMS.

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