Government recruiting tech jobs for Digital Transformation Office

The Australian government's digital office is hiring workers to help build and maintain the myGov portal.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

The Australian Digital Transformation Office (DTO) has announced that it will be hiring 20 new technology-focused roles, including researchers, product managers, developers, and designers, to help digitalise the federal government.

The government said on Thursday that it will be looking to recruit both experienced staff members and fresh graduates out of university to help move more public services online and bring the government up to date with the digital world.

"This is an exciting initiative, but it's also complex and requires significant cultural change," Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a statement.

"Government services don't face competition in the traditional sense, but that doesn't mean they should be immune from the disruptive technologies that are having an impact right across the economy.

"The DTO needs to adopt an agile, startup-like culture, so it's important that we recruit people with the right mix of skills and attitude to speed up the transformation of government services."

The DTO, which works across all government agencies in collaboration with businesses and universities, was tasked with creating a single online myGov portal for dozens of government-related services.

The DTO resides within the Department of Communications, with Turnbull overseeing the office.

"Interacting with government should be as easy as internet banking or ordering a taxi through an app," Turnbull said in January.

"This will enable the government to deliver high-quality services more consistently using a common 'look and feel', with users always at the centre of the digital transformation."

The office was launched in March, despite not receiving funding for its set-up until the government allocated it AU$95.4 million over the next four years in the 2015-16 Budget in May.

Turnbull has previously said the DTO should be open to sharing its processes, platforms, apps, and inner workings with other similar agencies and organisations.

"I'm a great believer in being much more global in our approach. Governments have historically been much less global in their research, in their awareness of policy responses than businesses, yet we're all dealing with the same problems, pretty much," he said.

"We have to share more. We've taken a lot of inspiration and help from the government in the UK, which has been very successful.

"We will make our code available to others. We will be as open to others as the UK government is to everybody else. I think that is very important. It should be a very open and collaborative business."

Under the program, the states and territories will also gain access to the system to use as a platform for their own online services.

"We will make these platforms available to all governments, and we are going to make them available for free. We want to break down silos, break down all of the inertia that comes from empire building, so that citizens or businesses will have a seamless, straightforward way of dealing with government -- federal, state, or local -- from a single platform," he said.

"Citizens just want to get good service from government. They're not interested in all the layers of government. We've got to break down the silo mentality so people understand the object is the customer, and the object is delivering."

In July, former director of the United Kingdom's Government Digital Service Paul Shetler was appointed as CEO of the DTO for the next five years.

"Paul was the outstanding candidate following an extensive executive search and competitive recruitment process, and has been appointed to the DTO for a period of five years," Turnbull said at the time.

Shetler earlier this month argued that poor IT systems have hampered agencies and departments for years, slowing progress and reducing the government's effectiveness.

"It's a delivery issue, not a policy issue," Shetler said at the Technology in Government event in Canberra.

Shetler referred to recent research conducted by Deloitte arguing that improved digital interaction between citizens and government could translate into cost savings of AU$20.5 billion.

"People want things that only government can get them, typically chores or worse than chores like visiting a person in prison ... or paying taxes or getting their licence, they're not things that are fantastic, but they're just things you have to do," he said.

"So our ethical obligation as public servants is to make that experience as good as possible for our users, keeping in mind they have no choice, keeping in mind they're not customers, keeping that it's not a marketing exercise, keeping in mind this is about serving people who have no choice to use our services."

The company rolling out the Australian government's National Broadband Network (NBN) also announced a recruitment drive this month, with 4,500 jobs being hired across construction, maintenance, and training.

The company will be spending close to AU$40 million on advertising, recruitment, and training, and hopes to lure entry-level employees, experienced workers, and returning retirees to the industry by offering flexible work-life options on both long-term and short-term contracts.

"This is one of the largest infrastructure projects in Australia's history, and it's certainly the most complex," Turnbull said in early August.

"Each day, the project is being rolled out on hundreds of work fronts across the country, so it's vital we have enough people to roll out the network as we increase the pace of the rollout."

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