Budget 2016: Govt establishes joint taskforce to fix myGov


news The Government has established a joint taskforce to remediate its troubled myGov digital identity and verification platform, bringing in experts from a number of government departments and throwing $50.5 million at the project.

myGov is a platform established by the Federal Government that aims to provide Australians with a single unified way to sign in and provide data to a range of Government services, ranging from taxation to Medicare. However, the platform has suffered a number of issues and is seen as highly problematic by many of its users.

Over the past several months, Fairfax Media has reported that administration of the project is to be taken over by the Digital Transformation Office, an agency established by Malcolm Turnbull as Communications Minister. The agency has since shifted under the wing of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in the Turnbull Prime Ministership, and is in charge of transforming government digital service delivery.

In this year’s Budget papers, the Government revealed that it had taken further remedial measures with respect to myGov.

“The Government will provide $50.5 million over five years from 2015-2016 to the Department of Human Services and the Digital Transformation Office to support the operations of the myGov service,” the Budget papers state.

This sum is to include $45.1 million for the core operational component of myGov, and $5.4 million for a joint team including the Department of Human Services, the DTO, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to identify future developments to meet user needs.

The Budget papers further note that the Department of Human Services is “collaborating” with the DTO to “lead and support” key elements of the Government’s Digital Transformation Agenda by “leveraging the existing myGov digital service”.

The myGov project team is to “re-examine” the myGov digital service, including “the technology supporting it, how it is delivered and managed, as well as user experience including frustrations” and assessing the platform’s consistency with the Government’s Digital Service Standard.

“The project will deliver a broad, long-term improvement programme for the modernisation of myGov,” the Budget papers state.

“A programme of work is under way to address the most pressing isues raised by myGov users. These improvements are expected to reduce the level of inconvenience being experienced by myGov users when completing simple transactions through myGov, such as account lockouts and difficulty with security codes.”

Additional functionality is also slated to be delivered to the Department of Human Services’ wider apps suite.

I have to say that I am not 100 percent confident in what the Government has done here.

myGov has been a basket case for quite some time, and it needs a stern guiding hand and a controlling vision to bring it back into line. DHS is probably capable of providing this – it has more than enough experience dealing with highly visible public-facing web applications to bring to bear in resolving myGov’s problems. It has the scale to understand what’s happening and the cohesion.

I mean, although the rest of DHS’ apps are also suffering problems, it’s not as if the Department wouldn’t know where to start in remediating myGov. The DTO would probably be able to assist in delivering solid user interface enhancements to myGov.

However, would a taskforce formed from four separate agencies be able achieve any real, concrete success here? My suspicion is that having so many different parties involved will only muddle the waters, with a set of different and conflicting interests bringing different perspectives to the same problem.

Having four separate agencies involves breaches some of the guiding principles of project management — that there should be one overriding executive with responsibility for the project, instead of several — and that only one set of requirements be delivered against, as opposed to multiple and perhaps competing sets of principles.

This lack of clarity and problems with competing interests have bedevilled myGov in the past, and I suspect will continue to do so in the future as well.

Image credit: Adrian Yee, Creative Commons


  1. Sounds just like Brooks’ law. Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.

  2. Thats how government fix problems, throw money at it like a bunch of dibbler knuckle draggers.

  3. I’d actually do my taxes online if it were not for the fact you have to interact with myGov. Basically I think we’re about to see how a committee can polish a turd.

    Whomever thought that sending all tax correspondence via myGov ‘inbox’ (which cannot redirect anywhere or be connected too via anything but myGov … wtf!) without telling the user this was/is a muppet!

    If you’re a Guardian/Admin for someone (I am) and you have to link accounts … pucker up! and assume you’ll lose your own account access entirely at some point!

    • What they need is a state of the art back end, then to save money, slap on a command line interface.

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