Victorian government launches 2016-2020 ICT strategy


Gavin Jennings, Special Minister for State, lays groundwork for digital and open data reforms. Moves to modernise the underlying technology and streamline ICT project roll-outs.


The Victorian special minister for state, Gavin Jennings, has unveiled the state’s 2016–2020 ICT Strategy. The focus is on digital government, open data access and streamlining the roll-out of ICT projects. Key priority areas incorporate information and data reforms, open government, access to mobile and digital services, and fast-tracking governance arrangements for procurement. 

Among the initiatives, Victoria will create a new data agency. This is to better use and share data, while improving policy decisions and the design of services. The focus is to release government data on “value and quality,” and negotiate with the Commonwealth to access data sets for policy and services. 

The new data agency will manage risk and information-sharing between other departments and agencies. More immediate work involves identifying legislative and other barriers to the sharing of information.

The state’s strategy notes that: “Insights generated through the analytics work undertaken by this new function will be used by policy designers and decision makers to improve policy, service design and operational delivery.”

Single source of truth

More emphasis is placed on creating a ‘single source of truth’ for data, better document management, and standardised data formats. The goal is to maintain one set of common records across functions, while removing the risk of duplication.

Next month sees legislative reforms to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) and the Office of the Freedom of Information Commissioner.

The ICT strategy observes that government information and data should be open and transparent where possible. “It should also be treated as an asset, meaning it must be accurate, not duplicated, stored sensibly, protected from unauthorised access where necessary, available when needed and shared as required.”

Using released data, the administration will collaborate with the community to design better services and policy. This is being targeted through public forums and opportunities offered by GovHack. This initiative can galvanise citizens and government to apply their creative skills to open government data.

New digital platforms will support open data initiatives and leverage web services. These services are supported by the more intuitive Application Programming Interface technology.

Future digital channels

On the digital front, Service Victoria will develop a digital distribution channel to manage simple, high volume transactions. This agency consolidates Victoria’s digital presence, together with developing a framework and standards to manage digital assets.

One peak body, CenITex, streamlines the broader governance arrangements and establishes a “performance management framework.” The case for shared corporate systems that incorporate finance, human resources, and payroll comes under scrutiny.

More clarity is sought around cloud and whole-of-government procurement. There are plans to fine-tune the state’s cyber strategy and develop a State Emergency Response plan for cyber security. Victoria also launches a public dashboard of ICT projects over $1m. A Public Sector Innovation Fund will identify projects to build the technology know-how and capability.

The Victorian government’s public sector modernisation also comes under the spotlight at the FST Government Victoria conference being held Wednesday 20th July at the Crown Melbourne. This event features a distnguished speaker panel from Victoria, NSW and South Australia.