At the GovInnovate Digital Government Conference in Canberra 14th – 16th November 2016, the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA)’s interim chief executive Nerida O’Loughlin spoke about the

role of the new program management office (the PMO). A November 15, 2016 article by Stephen Easton in The Mandarin, Digital chief Nerida O’Loughlin on building Turnbull’s new ‘PMO’, quotes  Ms O’Loughlin’s explanation that the overall goal of DTA is the same as it was for the former DTO — “simpler, clearer, faster public services for all. However, the remit of our work has just got much bigger…What the government wants is a capability that is able to look at both ICT and digital from end to end. The government also recognises the benefits that come from the new way of working that the DTO has embodied. But it wants that thinking, quite properly, to now extend to strategy, delivery, investment and procurement.”

The Mandarin article notes that “much of what distinguishes DTA from its predecessor are high-level, strategic responsibilities. One of its first new pieces of work is to draw up a Digital Transformation Roadmap, including details for specific departments…”

“High level principles and strategies” for the roadmap will soon be prepared, covering everything from cybersecurity to procurement and project management, said Ms O’Loughlin. Such strategy work would help the government make sure it had “the right set of tools” in place to proceed with its big plans.

Another important early job for the newly empowered DTA is the development of a whole-of-government strategy for building and governing digital service delivery platforms.

More news of the new PMO comes in A November 15, 2016 article by James Riley, Alexander to lead new DTA unit, which discloses that former Treasury CIO Peter Alexander is to be appointed to lead the DTA’s  new whole-of-government ICT PMO. The article also gives the background on the whole-of-government Digital Transformation Roadmap, a July federal election commitment which has been stalled until now. “The DTA is expected to unveil its whole-of-government plan once it has received Cabinet approval later this month, or in early December. The agencies would then begin setting out agency-specific plans early next year, once they are approved by Mr Alexander’s DTA program management office.”  Ms O’Loughlin is also quoted as saying that the roadmap would serve as the high-level strategic direction for everything the Commonwealth is doing in both the ICT and digital spaces, and would incorporate strategies such as data, cyber, ICT investment, platforms, and the like.

A November 24, 2016 article in The Mandarin by Julian Bajkowski, Taylor unwinds tech tender traps, flags digital government by consent, reports on a speech in Canberra by Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor.  “One of the biggest shifts flagged by Taylor is a shift away from the present system of agencies needing to specify requirements to industry and allowing providers to nominate off-the-shelf solutions without a formal approach to market from agencies.”

Taylor noted that agencies will have the ability to manage unsolicited proposals and that there will be a process where the formulation of strategic tenders is linked to investment.

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