Western Australia's 'ambitious' new digital strategy to carry it through to 2025

The new whole-of-government digital strategy is hoping to deliver convenient, smart, and secure services for Western Australia.

The government of Western Australia has set itself a four-year plan for digital reform.

The minister responsible for innovation and IT Don T Punch believes Western Australia should be at the forefront of digital change globally. He said the Digital Strategy for the Western Australian Government 2021-2025 will change the way the community interacts with government.

The strategy [PDF] supersedes the DigitalWA: Western Australian Government ICT Strategy 2016-20, which the government considers laid the foundations for it to now "reimagine the role of digital in how government serves people, businesses, and communities".

The new strategy is centred on four priorities: Better services, informed decisions, safe and secure, and digitally inclusive.

"Better services" will see the government attempt to make it easier to tell it the same thing once, as well as make most interactions available online.

"You'll be able to securely log in to our whole of government portal WA.gov.au, using your trusted digital identity," the strategy says. "With your consent, participating WA government agencies will share information, so that you don't have to tell us the same thing again and again."

Also under this banner is an IT procurement shakeup that will see the state invest in whole-of-government digital capabilities for various agencies as well as reforms to the way government procures and consumes IT services.

"We'll ensure that WA government IT procurement processes are flexible and robust, and what we ask for delivers value for money," it wrote. "We'll continue to build a workforce that allows government to make better decisions on what IT service capabilities it needs. We'll also continue to move away from being owners and operators of IT infrastructure, to agile consumers. This allows us to take full advantage of digital transformation utilising whole of government capabilities."

The objectives of the "informed decisions" priority area are to provide more, and better, ways to engage with the government; to use data to inform and evaluate government decisions, operations, and services; and to create an environment for safe and effective data sharing.

The government said it hopes to use findings from a data sharing and data hub pilot to progress this work.

"We've conducted a whole of government data sharing and analytics pilot that demonstrates the value of sharing and analytics to assist with COVID-19 recovery. Based on the learnings from the pilot, we'll keep building our whole of government data sharing and analytics capabilities," it said.

WA said it has over 2,000 data sets it wanted to make available.

"Safe and secure", meanwhile, will see an improvement of cybersecurity resilience across the government; expand delivery of secure online services, and be transparent and accountable about how the government manages citizen data.

The strategy pointed to the standing up of a whole of government Cyber Security Operations Centre in September last year, as well as work underway on introducing stronger privacy protections as actions it is taken to be more "safe and secure".

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The government said it also wants all Western Australians to be able to easily access and use digital technologies, so under "digitally inclusive", the state has pledged to connect more people to quality internet services that are fit for purpose; enable affordable access to digital devices, and quality internet services and data; promote digital skills; and encourage websites and apps that are inclusively designed for everyone's use.

The Office of Digital Government will drive, facilitate, and support digital transformation in the public sector, and support the governance bodies that will oversee the delivery of the digital strategy.

The government will review and update the strategy periodically, it said, and will strive to work as one government rather than a set of agencies.

"The digital strategy is ambitious and exciting. It will deliver the WA government's vision for digital reform, and progress Western Australia towards a more secure, sustainable, and inclusive digital future," Punch said.

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