Digital chief not surprised at user angst

The new head of Digital Transformation Agency says he’s not surprised at figures giving the thumbs down to the federal government’s online services.

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A study by the Australian Information Industry Association showed 16 per cent of Australians believed the federal government was using technology well to deliver services.

Gavin Slater, the new chief executive of the DTA which is overseeing about $6 billion of IT work across government, told a Senate committee on Tuesday; “I’m not surprised.”

“When you think of government there’s multiple agencies, multiple websites, multiple ways citizens and businesses interact with government … it would be a fragmented experience,” Mr Slater said.

He said this was why the agency was needed, to work towards “greater consistency and ultimately a better experience” for individuals and businesses.

The DTA told the committee it was working on a comprehensive study of all government IT projects valued over $10 million.

The study had identified 56 separate projects as well as 294 “critical business systems” used by government departments and agencies.

Any projects found to be “high risk” would be given special oversight and made to provide more regular reports on such things as the way the projects are being managed, the technology used and costs.

But Mr Slater said it was not the DTA’s role to “take over a whole program”.

One of the projects currently being worked on was the “modernisation” of the health and aged care payments system, the committee heard.

Mr Slater said he wanted to work with small and large IT suppliers to ensure the government was getting value and delivering services effectively.