Australian govt signs four-year deal with Acquia for GovCMS

The Australian government has signed a four-year contract with Acquia to help agencies implement its Drupal-based Government Content Management System, GovCMS, which is set to be available to all government entities by February.

Self-styled Drupal "enterprise facilitator" Acquia has inked a four-year deal with the Australian government to implement its Drupal-based web Government Content Management System (GovCMS).

A spokesperson for Acquia told ZDNet that the four-year agreement consists of an initial two years, with the option to extend by one year, followed by another year.

The spokesperson also said that the government's conservative forecasts for the number of websites to utilise the new system would be around 180, and possibly up to 400 sites.

Under the terms of the deal, GovCMS will be delivered on Acquia Cloud, and will incorporate Acquia Cloud Site Factory, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application for Drupal. Government agencies will also be able to tap into the global Drupal community through Acquia.

The Australian government CTO John Sheridan said in a statement that Acquia would provide SaaS on the public cloud using the open-source Drupal framework, and would also partner with several local businesses so that GovCMS can offer a "comprehensive service" from website design and development through to support and managed operations.

"I'm excited that through GovCMS, we'll be offering a cost-effective content management and website hosting solution to Commonwealth entities," said Sheridan. "GovCMS will provide entities with the opportunity to create and manage websites, based on best practice and compliant with Australian government standards, including security and accessibility.

"We designed GovCMS to save costs while empowering agencies to act independently. We're supporting innovation by relying on Drupal, a technology proven in governments around the world. Open-source technologies like Drupal, when paired with an open cloud platform like Acquia Cloud, are creating efficiencies in government and disrupting the way we deliver digital citizen experiences.

"Removing the burden for entities of having to own and manage software or infrastructure should allow them to focus more on their core business," he said.

Work on the migration of the australia.gov.au and finance.gov.au websites to the GovCMS platform has already commenced, with the sites set to be released following a quality assurance process.

Sheridan, who first revealed plans for a government-wide CMS in May, said that GovCMS would be broadly available to federal government organisations from February next year, at which time he expects to provide further details about the official launch.