​Human Services first to use DTA's new co-Lab Innovation Hub

The new 'collaboration' lab will see government agencies work alongside the Digital Transformation Agency and the private sector to build out innovative ideas for government service delivery.

The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has opened a dedicated space for government entities to work together on "new and innovative" digital projects.

Touting cross-agency collaboration as being essential for the effective delivery of government services and fundamental in transforming the way citizens interact with government, the DTA's co-Lab Innovation Hub is expected to see multi-disciplinary teams from different agencies work together in partnership with the DTA and the private sector.

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The Department of Human Services (DHS) will be the first to be hosted in co-Lab.

DHS is currently undertaking what newly minted Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation Michael Keenan called one of the world's largest business-led IT system transformations.

The Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation (WPIT) program is a billion-dollar project to overhaul Australia's 30-year-old payment system, which processes over AU$100 billion in Centrelink payments each year.

WPIT is expected to take seven years to complete.

According to Keenan, the work undertaken within co-Lab will drive better and more coordinated digital service delivery across not only DHS, but also the wider government.

The DTA's co-Lab will also work with the private sector to identify and adopt new approaches and best practices, and gain insights into the latest technology to improve the delivery of government services.

Keenan said the co-Lab will also help accelerate DTA's goal of lifting digital capabilities within and across government.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in May announced a review into the Australian Public Service (APS), seeking mainly to understand whether those staffing Australia's government departments are capable of ushering in the "next wave" of digital.

"The APS has a long history advising successive Australian governments and serving the Australian people well, but a range of global, technological, and public policy developments are transforming our economy and our society, presenting both opportunities and challenges," Turnbull said at the time.

"The APS needs to be apolitical and professional, agile, innovative, and efficient -- driving both policy and implementation through coherent, collaborative, whole-of-government approaches. It must have the capability to meet core responsibilities and deliver functions, and to understand and deploy technology and data to drive improvement."

That followed the DTA partnering with the Australian Public Service Commission to create a more agile and technology-focused public service workforce.

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