Government 2.0 implementation in Australia: an AGIMO presentation

Author: 
Peter Alexander - AGIMO
Category: 
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Recently, I gave a presentation to a Government 2.0 conference in Canberra on the topic of Government 2.0 implementation in Australia and AGIMO’s relevant services. Other speakers at the conference included Andrew Stott, Director for Transparency and Digital Engagement for the UK Government, and excellent local speakers including former Gov 2 Taskforce member Mia Garlick, the General Manager for Communications of the Department of Human Services, Hank Jongen, Craig Thomler and many more.

There were many great international and national case studies shared at the conference, particularly Andrew Stott’s discussion of data.gov.uk and the UK Government’s other online engagement work and presentations from local speakers from all levels of government. Compared with a similar event last year where the focus was on agency Gov 2 aspirations, it was good to see more discussion this year about implementation and achievements – work is indeed being done in this space.

The conference organisers have made my slides and the other presenters’ slides available online. I’ve also made my slides available on the blog in PDF (831k), as well as a text-based version (DOC, 2.2MB).  My presentations tend to have a lot of images, so here’s an overview of what I talked about:

Government 2.0 background information govspace
  • I spoke about our govspace service, which provides government agencies with a way of establishing blogs and websites which AGIMO will host.
  • The govspace service model covers a broad range of agency needs and technical capabilities. Some agencies may be happy to use our default templates and settings, in which case they can get going very quickly; on the other hand, agencies can also customise their govspace sites using their own technical resources.
  • I also showed examples of govspace blogs, such as the Innovation Blog and the newly-launched Our Values blog, and the Election Costings website, which is built on govspace.
The AGIMO Blog
  • As an example of using govspace, I spoke about this blog and our experiences with establishing and running it. I touched on how it has hosted ministerial-level announcements such as the Declaration of Open Government as well as being used to find new ways to engage with the public about our work (for example, our procurement and accessibility post streams).
australia.gov.au
  • I discussed how AGIMO e-government surveys have shown that the internet is the most common way people last made contact with government, and also the preferred service delivery channel.
  • So as well as engaging online, AGIMO also works to improve online service delivery through projects such as australia.gov.au.
  • Australia.gov.au is the Government’s central online communications point – we are aiming to make australia.gov.au a single access point for people to access and give feedback about government information and services, for example providing access to services from multiple agencies and features such as “tell government once” if your details change.
data.gov.au
  • Finally, I spoke about data.gov.au and open data as another aspect of Government 2.0.
  • For our data.australia.gov.au beta website built during the Gov 2 Taskforce we focussed on publishing the data and a working minimum of metadata, and encouraging the use of Creative Commons BY licences (which as of October 2010 are now included in the Statement of Intellectual Property Principles for Australian Government Agencies as the default option for licensing public sector information).
  • The purpose of the data.gov.au website we are making as part of the Government’s response to Taskforce recommendation 6 is to make published government data discoverable and usable. This is about giving people access to properly structured, documented and openly licensed data (subject to privacy, security and other relevant considerations).
  • I also discussed how we are using DSpace repository software to build data.gov.au and also plan to host the site’s content in the cloud. We think cloud computing is an appropriate option for data.gov.au since the site’s datasets are being publicly released anyway, which removes a lot of the privacy and security concerns in this area. This option will also allow us to easily scale up the site’s hosting capability in order to host large datasets.

After I’d gone through my slides, I was asked a question about what policy documents and guidelines apply to use of Web 2.0 tools in government: I discussed the relevant APSC guidelines, the Government response to the Gov 2 Taskforce, and the Government’s Declaration of Open Government as the key documents supporting our Gov 2 activities. And that was the presentation. Feel free to shout out in the comments below if you have any questions or feedback.

Please note that the content on this page was updated 09/10/2013 to remove links which previously pointed to content that is no longer available.

Comments (8)

Hi Peter, thanks for the recap. I am ashamed to say that I missed your talk so the overview is very handy.

I know that by the time I did get to the conference all the buzz was about the uncoference.

It sounds like a great idea and I look forward to the gathering. Momentum is the key over the next couple of years and it will be great to see AGIMO facilitating as many gatherings as possible and especially the unconference styles.

If the event does go ahead, can I suggest that we have a strong stream "beyond gov 2" where we can progress 3.0 discussions. Also, perhaps there is some merit in the suggestion that we start to focus in on "open gov" rather than the "2.0" brand.

Oh and yeah, I nearly forgot, can we have an online video focus within the agenda :)

We all agree that Public Sector Information (PSI) should be: free; based on open standards; easily discoverable; understandable; machine-readable; freely reusable and transformable - as per Recommendation 6 of the taskforce...

But what is the strategy towards:
1 - open standards (some of the data on d.a.g.au is in proprietary formats - ESRI, XSL..)
2 - discoverable - how to achieve this programatically?
3 - understandable - (ironically) what does that really mean? Should the data be in RDF/OWL? Who defines all the ontologies? How can we achieve interoperability across depts that use different ontologies?

Renato I

Hi Peter,

Great summary for the presentation - I had the chance to attend it, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
In my experience, conferences such as this one do lift up the spirits and get people motivated, but often once they get back to the daily routine, some of that enthusiasm fades away when confronted by the daily constraints and obstacles (most of them – such as culture, IT security factors, etc. were mentioned during the conference as well).
It is refreshing to see AGIMO committed to taking a leadership role in this space – and I’m sure many in the IT industry were both surprised and impressed to learn about the leap into cloud services for data.gov.au.
As this blog shows, opening new channels for engagement can enable a much better interaction and lead to better outcomes, although it make take all parties some time to learn how to get value out of it :)

JR

I think that you are so right. The energy of a conference can quickly dissipate when reality kicks back in.

I also think that there is some level of let-down when things that are identified in a conference environment, the proverbial elephants in the room, are left untouched after.

As has been the case for many years, way before gov 2 arrived, that the elephant in the room has been agency I.T. areas resistance. Again, this was the elephant in the room at the conference and we heard the same sort of stories that have always been around.

Case in point, the IT area that blocks access to blogs because they are a security risk. Now anyone with any brain knows that blogs, per se, have no new security implications. HTTP is HTTP. Plain and simple.

So, PA, if you are able to swing an unconference, is it possible to have a strong "elephant in room" component. If so, the old issue, the perennial issue, of IT resistance needs to be front and centre.

Don't get me wrong, I understand why IT areas need to be ever so cautious and I understand how "no" as a default can be the safest option. However, it is now time for a very transparant discussion.

Perhaps you could have a panel of top IT folks responding to questions for the flloor. Could be dangeorus but might just get some common ground into the space.

Jimi,

I'd argue that, irrespective of where they reside, security policies and risk management are business functions, and IT provides the toolsets for their implementation across organisations.
In that light, IT departments that are taking steps to align with the National Security Information Environment Roadmap (see http://www.dpmc.gov.au/national_security/docs/national_security_informat... ) would recognize that that vision does not contradict, for example, the Declaration of Open Government, the recommendations of the Gov2.0 taskforce, or other similar government initiatives.
As such, I’d agree with your comment about the elephants in the room, but I’m not sure that IT departments are the biggest of those elephants…

Good points JR. I am always aware, or at least try to be aware, that there is often very good reasons for resistance.

I suppose that is what I am talking about with "safe" space to double check that the reasons behind any risk-based resistance.

It's an ongoing discussion no doubt and will be important for all sides of the discourse to be at the table and a respectful and understanding dialogue be fostered.

Thanks for your comments Jimi, Renato and J.R. – great to see this sort of feedback and discussion.

Jimi – the planning for our unconference-style event is still in the early stages, but I’d expect by definition that attendees will have a big role in setting the agenda, so there should be room for you and others to have discussions about online video, IT security or other Gov 2-related issues.

Renato – we are looking to address these sorts of questions through the Gov 2 Steering group and some of the other relevant groups and agencies we work with, as well as learning from overseas examples such as data.gov.uk. We are committed to getting data.gov.au and these sorts of questions of open data right, but acknowledge that it will take time and effort.

Happy to take more comments (or see any other discussion people might like to have).

Cheers

Peter

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Last updated: 28 July 2016