DTO broadens consultation as GOV.AU problems bite


news The Federal Government’s Digital Transformation Office has broadened its consultation process around the prototype of its centralised GOV.AU platform, as concerns continue to circulate within the public sector that the model has substantial problems.

A public alpha of the Digital Transformation Office’s GOV.AU project was unveiled several weeks ago with substantial pomp and fanfare by Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, in company with DTO chief Paul Shetler.

The model is a replica of the similar GOV.UK platform already implemented in the UK, and is slated to eventually see up to 1,500 Federal Government websites shut down and integrated into the one centralised platform.

However, as Delimiter reported last week, the GOV.AU model has seen substantial criticism from within the Federal Government, with many public servants seeing it as substantially inferior to the GovCMS model it is replacing, as well as technically limited. It is believed that the current GOV.AU model will not allow the full functionality of some departmental and agencies websites to be migrated across.

In response to the public airing of these concerns, the DTO has taken several measures over the past several days in order to address the issues.

Firstly, last week acting head of GOV.AU, Radi Kovacevic, published a blog post noting that the DTO was actively working on a beta version of the platform, scheduled to be launched in August.

“We plan to work with a small group of departments over the next few months. Other departments and agencies will join us from August this year,” he wrote.

Secondly, the DTO said that it had started reviewing what it said was “valuable” feedback from end users within the Federal public sector, and would also kickstart a further round of consultation.

“Iterating based on feedback is a big part of our process and we’ve received some constructive feedback on the GOV.AU Alpha protoype which we are taking on board as we move into Beta,” wrote Kovacevic.

The DTO will continue to share its “findings and preferred platform” as it moves forward, as well as preparing a design guide for GOV.AU that will be made available to all government departments.

In a second blog post yesterday, Kovacevic noted that the DTO would hold a live question and answer session and webcast tomorrow to discuss issues with interested stakeholders.

“We recognise that GOV.AU will be a substantial change to the way government information and services are currently structured. We welcome engagement and feedback from our stakeholders moving forward,” he wrote.

I applaud the DTO for its rapid response to the criticism being raised regarding the GOV.AU alpha. Clearly Kovacevic and others have recognised that there is a substantial issue here that needs to be addressed. The DTO is opening the floodgates for communication, and I think this is a tremendously positive thing.

Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull


  1. Renai, if you “applaud the DTO for its rapid response to the criticism … regarding the GOV.AU alpha …. and recognising that there is a substantial issue … that needs to be addressed” you are simply giving Paul a kiss for doing his job. But isn’t his job actually to ensure that there are no “substantial issues that need to be addressed”. How can Kovacevic’s boss (Paul) create issues that should never have occurred and then get flowers & chocolates for talking about fixing the stuff-up they created? Note: they are only talking – the stuff-ups are still “live” and are not resolved. If you think the floodgates have been opened you ain’t seen nothing. When GOV.UK went “live” it was earth shattering … then it got worse. Then much worse. Welcome to Agile dev-ops Renai. No design, no plan, no management, no end ….

    • Ummm. What’s the purpose of Alpha prototypes? I always had the (possibly erroneous) idea they were a crowd-sourced debug routine to sort problems the system design phase had missed. Am I wrong?

  2. Following on from today’s GOV.AU Session, I wondered why Kim from Communications had to travel to Sydney for workshopping. If all depts have to do this? $$$$
    When did federal govt move to Sydney? When GDS came to town? Why isn’t gov.au based in Canberra where govt stakeholders are? Users are everywhere…

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