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                    [post_date] => 2017-11-24 06:21:39
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Limited working budgets and an unsuitable organisational culture are the biggest barriers to achieving digital transformation in the local government sector, says a new report.

The report, from University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and sponsored by software company Civica, is based on a survey of Australia and New Zealand Local Government Authorities. It was released to coincide with the annual Civica Expo conference for customers and partners, held in the Sydney seaside suburb of Manly on 22-23 November.

Approximately 70 percent of survey respondents said that limited budgets are a major constraint to digital transformation, and 65 percent believe organisational culture is an impediment.

Other perceived barriers are the speed of technological change (37 percent), difficulty in meeting user expectations (32 percent) and conservative leadership (25 percent).

The findings are in the fourth edition of Civica’s ‘Changing Landscape’ research series, developed in collaboration with Institute for Public Policy and Governance at UTS. This year’s report is called ‘The Changing Landscape for the Public Sector: The Challenges of Building Digital Bridges’.

According to Professor Roberta Ryan, the Institute’s director, local governments in particular continue to struggle with limited funding, implementation and resourcing issues for digital projects.

“Many LGAs have to make a trade-off. Digital services are being pushed down the list of priorities in favour of more immediate requirements to build or maintain physical infrastructure that serves to keep communities moving.

“Meanwhile, the absence of leadership understanding in driving an outcome-based strategy is also hindering successful implementation of digital initiatives.”

The survey also found that LGAs are strongly in favour of partnering with other organisations to achieve strategic transformation goals.

Nearly 60 percent of respondents felt that partnering with similar organisations was a substantial opportunity for them, and closely followed by partnering with external consultancies (54 percent) and private organisations (49 percent). Partnerships with state and federal government were some way behind, at 34 percent and 16 percent respectively.

“Public sector organisations want to embrace digital solutions, said Richard Fiddis, managing director at Civica. “Many organisations operate different system environments. Even though amalgamations offered access to bigger budgets, this also meant that larger amounts of data and systems need to be merged.

“We see huge potential for the public sector to work with each other and third parties like ourselves to achieve strategic goals – and they appear willing to do this voluntarily – but what maybe they are saying is support us, don’t force us.”

Nearly all (84 percent) of the survey respondents view digital transformation as an opportunity, but almost one in five felt they were still not given many chances to learn new skills relevant to a digital-first environment. In addition, nearly 80 percent of respondents admitted failure to implement some digital projects.

There is also still a significant one in three organisations who believe they only talk about emerging digital technologies. Alarmingly, a small section revealed that they don’t pay attention to emerging technologies.

“For some councils their citizens place a high value on physical services and human engagement. At the same time, some communities can seem ambivalent around the use of new technologies,” said Mr Fiddis.

He said the results demonstrate that organisations with a culture resistant to change or lacking resources and talent struggle with driving transformation projects.

“Another key reason that can lead to implementation failure is an absence of knowledgeable leadership backed by a sound strategy. Despite the struggles, almost three quarters of the survey respondents state their leadership has a clearly established strategy to become a digitally mature organisation.

“Embracing digital transformation requires the existence of a digital culture and mindset across the organisation, championed by strong leadership that can tackle the challenges of leading in a digital first environment.”

The study was based on survey responses from 200 professionals within IT teams, finance, corporate and governance teams at local government councils, state departments, infrastructural organisations and educational organisations from Australia and New Zealand.
                    [post_title] => Lack of money and knowledge hindering digital transformation
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                    [post_date] => 2017-11-21 06:02:15
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                    [post_content] => 

Over the last few weeks we have looked at results from the ANZ Local Government Digital Maturity Index (DMI). It is a mixed bag. The report is based on a survey of over 100 Local Government Authorities in Australia and New Zealand, which asked about about the extent to which they are digitising their internal processes and the delivery of their services. It was researched by Government News and sponsored by Australian information and process governance software company Objective. The benchmarking methodology allows LGAs to compare their performance against their peers, in a number of areas. It also acts as a snapshot of current performance across the board. The Index shows that, while many LGAs have made a good start at digital transformation, very few have achieved a high degree of maturity. The DMI contains four sub-indexes. One of these looks at external customer services – the extent to which ratepayers and other external stakeholders can interact digitally with the LGA. Another looks at internal processes and operations – in-house systems and the extent to which staff can interact digitally with each other. A third sub-index covers overall digital strategy, and another metrics and adherence to digital standards. Probably the most significant finding in the report is that 90 percent of respondents agree that digital is the way of the future, but that only 20 percent believe that their own LGA is doing enough to transition to a digital environment. This is a massive disconnect. It could be regarded as disappointing, or it could been seen as a great opportunity. The survey results show where Australia’s LGAs can address the areas that are preventing the best digital experience for both citizens and workers. One question in the Digital Maturity Index survey asked respondents to describe the most significant impediments to successful digital transformation. Answers were not prompted, but supplied as free form text. The results were categorised, with the top four areas of challenge:
  • Cost of resourcing (mentioned by 22 percent of respondents)
  • Resistance to change (19 percent)
  • Limited technical capability and infrastructure (17 percent)
  • Lack of leadership or strategy (14 percent).
Every challenge represents an opportunity. There are many – at every stage of the digital transformation journey. LGAs that clearly articulate their goals and the anticipated benefits of digital technology for the organisation, staff and members of the community, will undoubtedly lead the way. Internal infrastructure and systems are key to a successful digital transformation but equally important is to ensure that staff are on board for the digital journey. As LGAs progressively transform their more complex customer services – such as development applications, commercial registrations and licenses – they will realise the benefits of lower costs, time savings and improved community outcomes. It is clear that strong leadership, more streamlined or automated processes, creative approaches to staff engagement, transitioning from legacy systems or maximising the returns from existing systems are all critica lfactors to the successful transition to a citizen-centric digital local government. All levels of government are under pressure to deliver new and better services, with the same or reduced levels of funding and staffing. But digital transformation opens up the potential for significant efficiency gains and allows for resource reallocation to areas and tasks that add more value to the LGA. Download the report here.   [post_title] => Digital transformation in local government – the way ahead [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => digital-transformation-local-government-way-ahead [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-21 06:02:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-20 19:02:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28592 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28585 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-21 04:26:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-20 17:26:08 [post_content] =>

Australia has long held a reputation for being the ‘Lucky Country’. That has largely been the case over the past 25 years. Our economy has the averted the financial crises that have plagued the USA and Europe. Most industries, with relatively high amounts of low-cost capital at their disposal, have grown steadily. But has this streak of good fortune made us complacent in the ways we design, build, and maintain our cities and infrastructure? How we will respond if our luck runs out? ‘Smart cities’ and ‘going digital’ are phrases that will resonate in 2018 as we focus more on technology. Infrastructure professionals are increasingly taking advantage of design software that digitally connects and unites people, processes, data, and digital technology to yield significant results. This technology will have a profound effect on the realisation of a smart city. Smart cities, intendedl to deliver economic, social, and environmental improvements, have gradually become more prominent over the past decade. To realise the potential of a smart city, a concerted focus is being placed on the latest digital strategies to enable comprehensive project delivery and enhanced asset performance for those who design, build, operate, and maintain our city infrastructure. There is increasing use of digital engineering models in infrastructure design. These models act as visual operations that support infrastructure asset performance, taking advantage of cloud computing, the Industrial Internet of Things, big data, and operational data from a variety of sources. These models can be referenced through the full lifecycle of our city infrastructure, resulting in longevity and performance improvements. But technology is only one enabler for smart cities.

Australia’s growing pains

Many smart city initiatives to date have been born out of necessity. In the USA and Europe, most of current smart city developments emerged from the financial crises that have severely curtailed government budgets and available spending for infrastructure. The cities with the most visionary leadership, like Singapore and Helsinki, have typically built smart cities to overcome constraints such as the availability of land. That has not been the case in Australia, but we still face three significant problems: population growth, urbanisation, and climate change. These challenges mean that smart cities need to develop much faster and more effectively. Failure to act will have dramatic consequences for public infrastructure as Australia’s population increases. Our population growth rate is one of the highest in the OECD, with particular concentration in our major cities. These surges have already begun to push existing transport, utility, and housing infrastructure to their limits. Australia’s population growth shows no sign of decelerating. If urban planners continue with business as usual, our cities will soon hit a tipping point where public transport, utilities, and services like healthcare will begin to experience frequent and severe disruption. The only way to adapt to population growth and increased urbanisation is to take a long-term, collaborative approach to smart city investment and policy, one that encourages leadership and direction from the top combined with local creativity and innovation. We need to prioritise sustainable gains over short-term results.

A new approach to smart-city planning

As always, it is best to start with the end in mind. Smart cities are a political and economic issue and local leaders at the highest level should define exactly what a ‘smart city’ really means to them. That definition may vary radically depending on the city. Some cities will prioritise transport and reducing congestion; others will focus on liveability, utility supply, or health. Ultimately, cities are about people, so the needs a smart city addresses should be based on close consultation with citizens, focusing on achievable outcomes. Including smart city objectives in procurement activities, to encourage innovation and competition. Governments must also address the competing priorities of the various parties involved in any smart city’s transition. Infrastructure owner-operators (often governments themselves) will typically focus on budget constraints, service levels, and operational performance, while portfolio managers concentrate on optimising spend over the lifecycle of their infrastructure assets. Meanwhile, contractors most often focus on maximising their profitability. Often, due to restrictive contractual conditions, contractors are forced towards an adversarial mindset on projects, assuming a zero-sum game where any benefit to the client results in a loss to them. Urban planners should design contracts, incentives, procedures, and environments that address these various parties’ priorities and bring them together in a collaborative environment. Governments should extend their planning horizon for the success of smart city developments. For example, systems to streamline and digitise public transport infrastructure should be designed based on the city’s expected demand once the project finishes in five or ten years – not the city’s current requirement. Long-term maintenance costs, not just short-term capital savings, should feature prominently in any feasibility assessment of smart city projects. Urban expansion should also account for the flow-on costs and externalities involved in any plan. ‘Building upwards’ on existing structures, for example, may reduce the total cost of infrastructure. It does this by lowering ongoing investment in extra roads, substations, water facilities, and other connecting infrastructure, compared with the costs of ‘building out’ into new land. Similarly, smart city developers should always consider investing in existing infrastructure as well as building new. The former may not bring as much glamour or public attention, but it may prove more cost-effective and faster to complete – both significant benefits for any government’s long-term legacy.

Is it too late?

Fortunately, Australia has a highly educated workforce and the technological means to build effective smart cities before our luck turns. We have a window of opportunity. Advances in computing power have made it possible to capture data about entire cities, which was previously impossible. Using the latest technology, these types of models can be maintained and regularly updated, providing planners and maintainers on demand access, and supporting long term smart city planning. Models like these, combined with cloud delivered data management platforms that aggregate disparate datasets into a unified whole, have made it easier and faster for designers, planners, and engineers to access accurate up-to-date information when they need it. Australia has the people, the technology, and the financial resources to make smart cities the norm within a few years. But to achieve this, we need the highest level of political leadership to deliver the policies and investments at a local level where the challenges and resources are best understood. That will only happen if public-sector leaders commit to long-term, collaborative principles – and apply them to new projects as quickly as possible. Australia is still in many ways the Lucky Country. Rapid, collaborative investment in smart cities will help us continue to make our own luck. Brian Middleton is Vice President ANZ for Bentley Systems. [post_title] => Lucky country, smart city - Opinion [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => lucky-country-smart-city [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-21 08:26:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-20 21:26:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28585 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28576 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-20 13:16:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-20 02:16:19 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28577" align="alignnone" width="295"] Trouble in paradise[/caption] Norfolk Island is ‘on the brink of disaster’, says an independent report on the island’s economic situation. The report was commissioned by the island’s small community following the Australian Government’s abolition of self-government in July 2016 and the imposition of direct rule. Norfolk Island’s 1700 residents are now subject to the same laws – and taxation – as the rest of Australia, and is expected to pay its own way. The report, written by economist and scientist Dr Chris Nobbs says that the changes mean “spiralling costs and inappropriate regulation.” It is titled ‘On the Brink of Disaster: The Impact of the Australian Government Reforms on Norfolk Island Businesses’. Dr Nobbs says Norfolk Island is in crisis as the direct result of flaws in the intervention by the Australian Government in Norfolk Island's governance and economy. The report outlines the impact of substantial cost increases facing businesses, including “double-digit price rises for incoming freight, a 15 percent rise in telecommunications costs, a 12.7 percent rise in regional council fees, along with regulatory changes that will see wage costs jump more than 35 percent next year.” The report projects that Norfolk Island will suffer significant price rises, a steep downturn in tourism, a slump in business activity, a rise in unemployment, and widespread community distress. “By requiring both that Norfolk Island pay its own way and that Norfolk Islanders become like mainland Australians in terms of their obligations and expectations, the Australian Government is crushing the island's economy in a vice from which few groups will escape unscathed,” says Dr Nobbs. Critical factors the report singles out as responsible for the economic crisis include:
  • the widespread imposition of Commonwealth and NSW laws and regulatory regimes.
  • the planned introduction of Australia's industrial awards.
  • the failure of the Australian Government to take up the responsibilities previously held by the Norfolk Island Government, such as for the promotion of tourism.
  • the loss of direct passenger airline services between New Zealand and Norfolk Island.
  • restrictions placed on primary producers and agriculture
  • the removal of the general revenue raising powers of the Norfolk Island Government.
The makes a number of recommendations to the Australian Government, including the halting of further impositions on the island. It says the Productivity Commission should carry out research and conduct a public inquiry to determine the real financial capacity of Norfolk Island and how it can survive economically, socially and culturally at reasonable cost. Norfolk Island has a population of only 1750 and an area of 34.6 sq km, and a very chequered history of governance. It was part of the colony of NSW from its founding as a penal settlement in 1788, and was transferred to Van Diemen’s Land in 1844. Van Diemen’s Land was renamed Tasmania in 1856, and in the same year Norfolk Island became a distinct British territory with its own Governor. 1897 that office was abolished and administration returned to NSW, though the island remained a separate entity. It became a Territory of Australia in 1913, under an Administrator. Then, in 1979 Norfolk Island was granted limited self government, with a small Legislative Assembly running most internal affairs. Financial problems led to the islanders asking for special assistance from the Australian Government in 2010, which led to the recent changes. More than two thirds of the island’s voters rejected direct rule from Canberra at a referendum, but to no avail. Elections were held for a new Regional Council, a standard Australian Local Government Area, and Norfolk Island became an integral part of Australia on 1 July 2017. Islanders can now voe in Australian elections, where they are deemed to be part of the electorate of Canberra. But the natives are increasingly restless. “The Australian Government has given insufficient thought to the genuine requirements of a very small and marine-isolated economy such as Norfolk Island has. The ‘development’ model currently in place for Norfolk Island is grossly inappropriate. Dr Nobbs’ 34 page report is available here. [post_title] => Federal takeover a ‘disaster’ for Norfolk Island [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => federal-takeover-disaster-norfolk-island [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-21 06:04:27 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-20 19:04:27 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28576 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28544 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-14 12:42:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-14 01:42:41 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28545" align="alignnone" width="220"] Darwin to get 'switched on'[/caption] The Australian Government has made its first grants under its Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. The grants are to Darwin to ‘switch on’ the city, and to a number of smaller projects in Perth. The program, announced in March 2017 has earmarked $50 million for projects across Australia, with 40 percent of the total to be located in regional areas. Darwin is the big winner from the first round of grants, with $5 million awarded to the City of Darwin and the Northern Territory Government, who will each contribute $2.5 million to the $10 million project. The money will pay for the installation of CCTV cameras at entrances to the city and on Daly Street and Bennett Street in the CBD. Street lighting will be upgraded to LED lighting and on ‘smart’ columns with the capacity to adjust lighting to reduce street crime. In Bicentennial Park along the Darwin foreshore, smart lighting will include sound monitoring to detect people in distress and potentially notify policy and emergency services. No mention was made in the announcement of the fact that the ‘street crime’ and ‘people in distress’ are mostly homeless or indigenous people. The NT Government has recently announced a program to address ‘anti-social itinerant behaviour’ on Darwin’s streets. Homeless (‘itinerant’) Aborigines (‘indigenous people') hanging around the streets, often drunk and engaging in petty street crime, is a major problem in Darwin. In September a video of a shop owner using a hose to move one in the centre of town caused a minor storm. Darwin’s free city Wi-fi network will also be expanded in key tourist and shopping areas. Smart parking sensors will indicate available parking, intended to reduce congestion and emissions. Perth has also been awarded $6 million in technology grants under the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. It supplements $9 million from the LGAs in which the projects are located, bringing the total value of the announcements to $15 million:
  • City of Fremantle: renewable energy generation and storage, rainwater storage and distribution, and an electric vehicle shared ownership trial ($8.26 million).
  • City of Perth: communications precinct around the new Perth Stadium (to be called Optus Stadium after a recent ten year $50 million naming rights deal) and an irrigation trial in public parks ($2.63 million).
  • City of Joondalup: monitoring system to better manage the Yellagonga Wetlands ($2.05 million).
  • University of Western Australia and the City of Wanneroo: real-time rail patronage data to improve development of rail station precincts along the Metronet extension ($1 million).
  • City of Gosnells: real-time data on thermal performance of newly built homes, to encourage the uptake of energy efficiency measures for new housing developments ($265,000).
  • RAC WA with the City of South Perth: trial of driverless electric shuttles to reduce congestion ($980,000).
There will be 52 projects around Australia in the $28.5 million allocated under the first round of the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, with other projects to be announced soon. The second round of funding will open in the first half of 2018. The Australian Smart Communities Association (ASCA) welcomed the announcements and said they “indicate a growing realisation in government circles that smart technologies will positively transform our communities. “We look forward to working with the Federal Government to ensure that Australia is a global leader in the deployment of smart technologies,” said newly appointed ASCA CEO Laurie Patton. “While there's already a good deal of energy at local government level we'll need Canberra and the states and territories on board if we are to become world class, so we applaud the Federal Government on this project. “ASCA is committed to fostering informed debate and greater collaboration across all sectors involved in this exciting area of social policy.” Originally established as the Broadband Alliance, ASCA started as a collaborative coalition of local government, Regional Development Associations and Regional Organisations of Councils. It describes itself as the ‘peak industry association in Australia supporting the rapidly developing digital, sharing and interconnected communities’.   [post_title] => First Smart Cities funding announced [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => first-smart-cities-funding-announced [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-21 03:52:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-20 16:52:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28544 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28541 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-14 09:37:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-13 22:37:43 [post_content] => We didn’t plan it this way. But every story in Government News this week has to do with government’s use of digital technology. It is a sure sign of the times. In the PC boom of the 1980s and the Internet booms of the 1990s, digital technology began to change our lives. Now, in the so-called Information Millennium, it continues to do so, at an increasing pace. Government has been slower to react than private industry. But the fastest growth in digitisation has been at the personal level, largely driven by higher bandwidth and the near-universal availability of smartphones and other mobile technology. Indeed, it has been our increased access to digital products and services, at a personal level, that has been one of the key drivers of the digital delivery of all virtually everything. In an always on connected world, we expect – and demand – a lot more. Many in government are struggling to keep up. But they have no choice. The articles we have run this week show the depth and breadth of digital technology in government in Australia.
  • We look at the ANZ Local Government Digital Maturity Index, a Government News initiative (sponsored by Objective) which measures and compares the extent of digitisation in local government (it’s a very mixed bag).
  • We report on the recent Social Media for Government Summit, which shows the extent to which this new medium has become an important part of how governments at all levels disseminate information, and at how they use the technology to measure the effectiveness of their message.
  • The Victorian Government’s largest agency, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has rebuilt its IT systems using cloud technology, enabling much faster applications development and much more control. CIO Dr Steve Hodgkinson told Government News how it was done.
  • Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation Angus Taylor explains how the Federal Government is engaging with the ICT industry, and how the Digital Transformation Authority is enabling a number of new technologies, and in particular identity management.
  • But digital is not everything. A guest article by Jabra’s David Piggott explains why the human touch is still important, especially in government (Jabra sells voice telecommunications gear).
Digital is touching every aspect of government, and every level. Government is essentially a services industry, certainly from the viewpoint of people who deal with it. And in today’s world, services means digital. Not until we were putting together this edition of the Government News biweekly newsletter did we realise that every story was about digital technology. It will not be the last. Digital is the future. And, as this rush of stories shows, it is also the present. Digitise or die! [post_title] => Digital here, digital there – digital everywhere! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => digital-digital-digital-everywhere [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-14 09:37:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-13 22:37:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28541 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28537 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-14 09:32:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-13 22:32:50 [post_content] =>

The new ANZ Local Government Digital Maturity Index (DMI) surveyed over 100 local government authorities in Australia and New Zealand about the extent to which they are digitising their internal processes and the delivery of their services. It also shows the extent to which LGAs are measuring the extent of their digitisation. The DMI shows that the use of metrics to gauge the extent of digital implementation in local government is in most cases not well advanced. Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of LGA’s measure website activity and most (59 percent) measure internal processing times for service requests. But only 27 percent measure the extent to which they are interacting digitally with local businesses, and less than a quarter (23 percent) measure their performance against their overall digital plans. Even social media presence and response, now a widely used medium for interacting with clients, is measured by less than half (44 percent) of Australian and New Zealand LGAs. “There is simply not enough measurement of the effectiveness of digital technologies,” said the report’s lead author, Government News editor Graeme Philipson. “In fact, the data shows that almost all the lowest performers (as indicated by overall DMI score) are not measuring performance at all. “There is simply not enough application of metrics to the digitisation process. There is an old dictum that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. This Is as applicable in digital delivery as it is in any other area. Metrics shouldn’t be an afterthought – it should be an essentials part of the digitisation process.” The Digital Maturity Index is based on a survey of over 100 LGA is in Australia and New Zealand, enabling detailed analysis and comparison of the various components of digital transformation. It was researched by Government News and sponsored by Australian information and process governance software company Objective. The DMI contains four sub-indexes. One of these looks at external customer services – the extent to which ratepayers and other external stakeholders can interact digitally with the LGA. Another looks at internal processes and operations – in-house systems and the extent to which staff can interact digitally with each other. Another sub-index covers overall digital strategy, while metrics and adherence to digital standards is also a sub-index. One series of questions in the survey asked about the extent to which LGAs the following the Australian Government’s 13-point Digital Service Standard. Although this standard is not targeted at local government, it is a useful guideline for planning, implementing and measuring the success of new digital services and processes. About 60 percent of LGAs are aware of the standard and have used it – or are planning to use it – for aspects of their service design activities. The most popular criteria are:
  • ‘Make it Secure’ – with appropriate legal privacy and security measures (40 percent).
  • ‘Make it Accessible’ – regardless of users’ ability and environment (34 percent).
  • ‘Don’t Forget Non-Digital’ – so other channels are still available without confusion (38 percent).
Overall, the use of metrics and standards is the least advanced the four components of the Digital Maturity Index. “The use of metrics that reflect the current state of play and clearly justify the case for change can help build support for digitisation,” said Mr Philipson. “Regular progress updates against these same metrics can demonstrate improvements and benefits as they are realised. “There are many critical factors in the successful transition to a citizen-centric digital local government. The DMI shows that metrics is one of these. Others include strong leadership, more streamlined or automated processes, and a creative approach to staff engagement.” Government News will publish more findings from the DMI benchmarking survey over the coming weeks. Download the report here. [post_title] => How do LGAs measure digital transformation? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => lgas-measure-digital-transformation [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-14 09:32:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-13 22:32:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28537 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28527 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-14 06:06:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-13 19:06:54 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28528" align="alignnone" width="300"] Social Media for Govt Summit[/caption] Social media is now a major channel through which Australia’s government sector disseminates information. It is also increasingly important in other ways – as a way of measuring community reaction to government initiatives, for example. The ninth annual Social Media for Government Summit in Melbourne has heard from dozens of government speakers about how social media is being used to transform the way their organisations relate with their stakeholders. The Summit attracted 140 attendees from local, state and federal governments from every state. They were addressed by a wide range of speakers, including representatives from:
  • Service NSW
  • QUT
  • Queensland Health
  • SBS
  • Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Organisation
  • City of Melbourne
  • Ambulance Victoria
  • South Australia Tourism Commission
  • Bureau of Meteorology
  • WorkSafe Victori
  • South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet
  • Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Victoria Police
  • Macquarie University
  • Department of Human Services
  • Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
The Summit was designed to help government agencies better engage with the public on social media, by improving their capabilities in such areas as the management of social media crisis situations; how to use video content; and how to benchmark, analyse and evaluate social media impact. The event was sponsored by social media archiving service Brolly and social media monitoring and analytics company Meltwater. It was held at the Novotel on Collins in Melbourne on 25-27 October. “We live in a changing world where people are consuming information and engaging with organisations differently – increasingly on social media,” said Nathan Cram, Brolly’s founder and CEO. “This requires governments to upskill in their social media capabilities and archiving and compliance. Brolly is Australia’s first social media archiving service. It was developed by IT specialist Nathan Cram, after he relied on Victorian Country Fire Authority Twitter warnings to escape the 2014 Wye River Christmas bushfires. “This made me realise how important it is for government agencies to track their online interactions, to protect themselves, and to protect citizens,” he said. “Social media is now the fastest, easiest way to connect with the public. Once information is shared it has the potential to reach an enormous number of people. I started thinking, how are we capturing these public engagements? How are agencies managing this? I was concerned about the lack of local social media record management tools and saw the opportunity to create one.” The conference was also addressed by senior executives from the Australian offices of social media companies Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Roy Tan, Public Policy Outreach for Facebook, said that 15 million people in Australia access Facebook every month, with 12 million of these, around 80 percent of active user, return to the site every day. He said the widespread use of smartphones is fuelling the growth of social media, and in particular video viewing. “Over14 million Australians access Facebook monthly on a mobile,” he said. “Mobile use demands new ways of communication because content is consumed very quickly, with an average of just 1.7 seconds spent on each item of content). “But much more time is spent on mobile apps than on browsers – as much as ten times more.” The next two Social Media for Government Summits will be held on 17-19 April 2018 in Canberra, and 23-25 October 2018 in Melbourne. [post_title] => Social media an important government channel [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => social-media-important-government-channel [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-21 06:08:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-20 19:08:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28527 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28518 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-14 05:47:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-13 18:47:51 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28519" align="alignnone" width="300"] David Piggott, Jabra[/caption] While digital automation has started to transform the public sector, there remains at least one place where human interaction is – and always will be – vital to the success of an organisation. Digitisation has not only changed how we shop, listen to music, and even travel to the airport, but it is also now changing the ways government agencies provide public services. There are myriad reasons for the public sector’s increased ‘Uberisation’. The most obvious is lower cost. But there is also a growing dissatisfaction among citizens over the way many government programs are delivered. The public is demanding more services, delivered more effectively and efficiently. It makes sense that digital automation will allow government agencies to provide this. It is certainly possible to automate some service functions in a way that will satisfy the public. This may include services such as enabling people to pay bills, renew licenses or handle a multitude of other chores online without human intervention that are relatively easy, low-cost, high-return activities. But regardless of the potential benefits automation promises, there remains a crucial tool that chatbots and automation can never replace: the good, old-fashioned human touch. It is basic human nature to want to speak to another person when things start to get personal, emotional and complicated. Despite their ever-increasing levels of intelligence, machines will always be machines. This means that, unlike humans, machines aren’t very good at providing personalised service to customers. But that is just what a customer-focused organisation, especially one in the public sector, needs. There are plenty of reasons why eliminating the human touch from serving the public is not a wise decision. Here are just a few:

1. Humans are problem-solvers

Perhaps the single most important part of serving the public is resolving issues when they arise. With the ability to listen, understand, seek out information and apply accumulated knowledge and past experiences to situations, humans are far better problem-solvers than any machine or automated process could ever dream of being. As the complexity of the issue increases, this becomes exponentially clear. Think of your own experiences with customer service. How many times have you been trapped at a self-service checkout that scanned your item twice or just isn’t working – and there’s no customer service agent in sight to help? The frustration is enough to make you wish you’d just chosen to wait longer in the human line in the first place.

2. Humans have empathy

The uniquely human emotion of empathy is another factor that makes people such outstanding problem-solvers. The soothing feeling that comes from a comforting voice assuring you they understand your problem and can fix it is a benefit of human interaction. The expressionless computerised voice that says “I’m sorry you’re having trouble with your selection” isn’t sorry at all. Such is the impersonal nature of automation that makes technology a poor choice to manage vital public service functions. Without having access to such feelings, a machine cannot empathise with a situation, regardless of how much it emulates it.

3. Humans need options

Finally, there is a very simple reason why the human touch should be included in public service efforts —the public wants options when it comes to receiving service. While there are those who prefer self-service, many still want to talk to a person, even if it’s to handle the most mundane of tasks. Denying the opportunity to people to be able to choose is short-sighted and certain to disappoint to say the least.

The need for human co-workers

The human touch isn’t only important to us as public citizens—it is an aspect of life that can go a long way in the workforce as well. With the help of digitisation, we’re often quick to text or email colleagues and clients when an old-fashioned phone call may be the better tool for resolving an on-the-job issue. Not only does it minimise the opportunity for miscommunication, but talking face-to-face, over the phone or by video conferencing can also create an emotional bond that will only be strengthened through frequency – a connection that makes a difference for several reasons.
  • Talking often actually saves time and spares us plenty of unproductive back-and-forth email exchanges. This results in conflicts and disagreements being resolved more easily and immediately when using the phone, as intent is better conveyed verbally rather than by email.
  • Emails provide very little peripheral knowledge and the subsequent opportunities when compared to a personal conversation. Actively listening allows us to take in much more information than we’d get from reading an email, including what colleagues are working on, their main difficulties, and how you could possibly help. Reading between the lines of an email can only get you so far.
  • Emails make it too easy for recipients to say no, or simply ignore a query altogether. Our requests convey more gravity and urgency when delivered in a personal meeting or over the phone, making them more difficult to ignore or decline.
Digitisation and automation certainly have a time and place, but the human touch is really the most effective tool when it comes to serving the public or working effectively with colleagues. David Piggott is Managing Director ANZ at Jabra [post_title] => Digital is important – but so is the human touch (OPINION) [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => digital-important-human-touch-opinion [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-17 10:54:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-16 23:54:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28518 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28500 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-09 13:20:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-09 02:20:36 [post_content] =>

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has published its annual data on the number of public sector employees in Australia. There are more than ever before – nearly 2 million (1.957 million), a slight increase on the year before. Commonwealth numbers are down, by just 3,400 to 239,300, but state numbers are up by nearly 30,000 to 1.528 million and local government numbers up by 3,000 to 190,000. The numbers mean that around 16 percent of Australia’s workforce are public servants. The largest public employer is the NSW State Government, with 469,000 employees. The NSW public service is thus almost exactly twice the size of the Commonwealths. Victoria (358,000) and Queensland (322,000) also employ more public servants than the Feds. State governments employ more than three quarters of Australia’s public servants. This is not surprising, since it is the state that deliver education and health, which are major employers. All states had a growth in the number of public servants last year, except South Australia, which lost about 500 jobs. Data was not published for Tasmania, where numbers were declining before the ABS stopped issuing separate data for that state three years ago. The biggest percentage growth in numbers in the last year was in the Queensland State Government, where 12,000 extra public service jobs comprised nearly 40 percent of the growth nationally. The numbers of employees in local government grew in every state except Victoria and Tasmania, which showed small declines. The ten year trend shows a steady increase in the number of public servants in Australia, roughly in line with population growth. Only two years in the last decade (2011-12 and 2014-15) saw a decline. The ABS also published the numbers for total wages and salaries. The Commonwealth spent just over $21 billion on salaries, local government $12.5 billion, and the states a whopping $119 billion. The ABS numbers can be found here. [post_title] => Public sector employment – feds down, state and local up [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => public-sector-employment-feds-state-local [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-10 03:54:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-09 16:54:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28500 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28481 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-08 10:03:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-07 23:03:25 [post_content] => Government News has been delivering the stories behind government administration and policy since 1981. That’s 36 years, or half a human lifetime. It has thousands of readers, in all levels of government, and many more outside of government. Our  philosophy is to cover the stories the mainstream press misses, but which appeal to those interested in the workings of government and the stories behind the stories. I was recently appointed editor of Government News. I have resolved to make the publication even better. Over the coming months you will see many changes, including a newsletter and website redesign. One significant change we have made already – the addition of two extra stories to the bi-weekly newsletter, which comes out Tuesdays and Fridays. As you are no doubt aware, we moved with the times and ceased publishing a print edition over a year ago. While many bemoan the decline of print, it is a fact of life in the 21st century that very many publications have moved to online only. This has changed the nature of journalism. People today want shorter, sharper articles – content that is to the point and relevant to their lives. That is what we try to do at Government News. And next year we will be introducing a new Focus Forum each month, on such areas as fleet management and procurement, as an online equivalent of the print edition special features. We are also initiating a subscription drive. If you have chanced upon the website, or are reading someone else’s copy of the newsletter, you can get your own copy in your inbox twice a week by subscribing. It costs nothing! For advertisers and others wishing to reach our readership, we have attractive rates and a number of options, including white papers, direct marketing, display ads, native content and a range of other channels. I’m always happy to hear from readers with any ideas or feedback. Contact me on graeme@intermedia.com.au Thanks! [post_title] => From the Editor – Government News is bigger, better, brighter [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => editor-government-news-bigger-better-brighter [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-10 03:57:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-09 16:57:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28481 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28462 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-06 09:59:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-05 22:59:40 [post_content] => The new ANZ Local Government Digital Maturity Index (DMI) contains a number of interesting findings. One of the most intriguing is the fact that most Local Government Authorities do a reasonable job at delivering services digitally, but that behind-the-scenes there are still many manual processes. The DMI contains four sub-indexes. One of these looks at external customer services – the extent to which ratepayers and other external stakeholders can interact digitally with the LGA. Another looks at internal processes and operations – in-house systems and the extent to which staff can interact digitally with each other. External rates are 62.1 out of 100, while internal rates 57.8. The ratings are determined by responses to a number of questions in the DMI benchmarking survey. Further analysis shows the differences by region and size of LGA. The Digital Maturity Index is based on a survey of over 100 LGA is in Australia and New Zealand, enabling detailed analysis and comparison of the various components of digital transformation. It was researched by Government News and sponsored by Australian information and process management software company Objective. Overall, larger councils do better than smaller ones, though mid-sized regional LGAs out point their suburban rivals. There are many reasons for the disparity, most importantly a lack of resources in smaller LGAs. External, or customer facing, digital initiatives include Internet access in libraries (provided by over 90 percent of LGAs) and a social media presence (nearly 90 percent have a Facebook page and nearly 80 percent use Twitter). Most provide Wi-Fi for the public, but only half have a self-service website and less than a third their own mobile phone app. More than two-thirds allow council rates to be paid online. Customer facing services need to be supported by digital technology within the LGA. Most do not do quite so well here. Fully 85 percent of LGAs say they have too many paper forms, and over two thirds is manual processes to manage such functions as HR and procurement. Although 78 percent use Electronic Document Management (EDM) technology, only half have automated their document driven workflows. “Most LGAs can do better,” says Graeme Philipson, Government News editor and lead author of the report. “These findings highlight that councils have not taken advantage of digital tools for internal use with limited application of technology to support greater sharing of information internally, across functions within the LGA, and with external stakeholders. “Digital transformation across most of local government is still in the early stages and there is a strong desire for progress with 90 percent of respondents acknowledging that digital is the way of the future. “Yet only 20 percent believe their LGA is doing enough to transition towards digital ways of working. This is a major disconnect, but also highlights the opportunity for LGAs to address the areas that are, ultimately, preventing the best digital experience for both citizens and workers.” Government News will publish more findings from the DMI benchmarking survey over the coming weeks. Download the report here. [post_title] => LGAs only halfway there on digital [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => digital-outside-inside [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-07 06:51:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-06 19:51:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28462 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28431 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-02 14:15:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-02 03:15:44 [post_content] =>

Modern technology means it has never been easier or more cost-effective to store and access information. So it is surprising then that many government departments, from LGAs to federal agencies, are still relying on audio and video tapes to store their crucial records. While legislation mandates the retention of some of this content, such as parliamentary sittings and defence information, some content is important simply because it holds cultural significance and is highly valued by the community. Regardless of the reasons for retention, much of this important data is on the verge of extinction. Time is running out It is a race against time, because of degradation of the storage media, which threatens the quality and the very existence of the data they contain. Magnetic tape is very fragile and degrades over time. Destructive forces, such as mould, can cause permanent damage to audiovisual records and result in content being lost forever. The inconvenience of lost information and sentimental content is one thing, but consider the financial impact the loss of many of these physical records may have. The cost of storage, preservation, maintenance and administration of a physical archive is also an unnecessary expenditure. Even if the physical records are successfully protected from magnetic media degradation, ongoing access to these records will soon be impossible, due to technology obsolescence. The video and audio playback equipment required to play these media are often no longer manufactured or supported. Niche hardware collectors will be of little help, as the supply of spare parts is also vanishing at an alarming rate. The scarcity of this technology and the skill required to operate it will soon become prohibitively expensive. That means much important government content will be inaccessible. Digitisation of AV media will be near impossible by 2025, according to The National Film and Sound Archive’s ‘Deadline 2025’ paper, for this very reason. This means governments have only seven years to save vital content currently stored in physical media archives. To give context to how short this timeframe really is, a recent statement from six of Australia’s national collecting institutions indicate that they alone hold close to 850,000 hours of content. With this volume of hours representing only a part of the tape-based media archives that exist in Australia, there is a very real prospect that content will be lost if action is not taken now. What is the solution? Digitising this content is the only viable method of preserving and accessing these records. But it still requires scarce playback technology and the knowledge needed to facilitate the transformation process. Getting started on the media digitisation journey begins with making sure everyone in your organisation is on board. Then a stocktake of what your agency has in its existing physical collection will be required. Identify all the articles that are appropriate for digitisation before engaging an internal or external service to start an audiovisual digitisation program. And make sure you assign ownership responsibilities to various parts of the process; such as quality checking the digitised product. Are many government bodies taking action? The change to a digital format is inevitable. The longer this change is postponed, the higher the cost of the exercise and greater the risk of content loss. According to the FY14 Preservation Statistics Report commissioned by the American Library Association, there are very few signs that American custodians are preparing their archives against the inevitable loss of content. Fortunately many Australian organisations are more proactive and are beginning to digitise their collections. Australian Parliamentary Services, for example, has already digitised more than 55,000 hours of content. Many local governments are taking steps to preserve their audiovisual heritage. Government bodies that are undertaking the digitisation process can see benefits such as:
  • Content loss risk mitigation.
  • Content is incorporated into digital preservation programs to ensure its long-term availability.
  • Cost savings through simpler access to and storage of media.
  • Budget savings from early adoption and avoiding the rising cost of digitisation due to resource scarcity.
  • Community engagement - providing easy access to those that desire it.
For those who have not started to digitise their videotape and audiotape records, the time to act is now. For an in-depth look at what technology obsolescence means for video and audio tape records in your collection, as well as ways to get started on your digitisation journey, download The Time to Digitise is Now white paper today. Adam Hodgkinson is Business Manager at DAMsmart. www.damsmart.com.au [post_title] => Government records on a seven year burn down [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => government-records-seven-year-burn [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-03 07:54:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-02 20:54:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28431 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28400 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-31 10:07:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-30 23:07:54 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28401" align="alignnone" width="276"] Digital Maturity Index (Strategy)[/caption] Less than half Australasia’s local government authorities have implemented a formal strategy for the digital delivery of services to the public. Even fewer have a strategy for their internal customers – council employees. This is despite most LGAs agreeing that digital is the way of the future. The results are contained in the new Local Government Digital Maturity Index, researched by Government News and sponsored by Australian information and process governance software company Objective. The Index is divided into four categories, representing different aspects of transitioning to digital local government. The first category is strategy and policy, which looks at the plans and programs LGAs have in place for digital transformation. The other areas are: external customer services (customer-facing digital systems), internal processes (the extent to which staff can interact digitally with each other), and  performance metrics and standards (the extent to which are measuring progress and implementing industry best-practice). The Digital Maturity Index is based on a survey of over 100 LGA is in Australia and New Zealand, enabling detailed analysis and comparison of the various components of digital transformation. The results of the survey show that while many LGAs are developing a strategic approach to digital transformation, most have not. More than three quarters (80 percent) do not have a policy for sharing digital information with external parties (such as other LGAs, service providers or the public), and almost as many (70 percent) do not have a digital strategy for building, planning and development activities. “Most digital initiatives are still in the planning stages and transformation activities are generally uncoordinated.,” says the report’s leading author, Government News editor Graeme Philipson. “Less than half have appointed a dedicated officer responsible for digital initiatives, and comparatively few provide staff training to develop digital capability.” He says that the implementation of digital strategy for external customer service initiatives is a positive sign, but that the internal strategy to support these initiatives is in many cases still very immature, if it exists at all. “All levels of government are under pressure to deliver new and better services, with the same or reduced levels of funding and staffing. This is particularly true in local government. “Digital transformation opens up the potential for significant efficiency gains and allows for resource reallocation to areas and tasks that add more value for LGAs. “But there are encouraging signs. While 90 percent of respondents acknowledge that digital is the way of the future, only 20 percent believe their LGA is doing enough to transition towards digital ways of working. ”This is a major disconnect, but also highlights the opportunity for LGAs to address the areas that are, ultimately, preventing the best digital experience for both citizens and LGA employees. “LGAs that clearly articulate their goals and the anticipated benefits of digital technology for the organisation, staff and members of the community will lead the way. Internal infrastructure and systems are key to a successful digital transformation, but equally important is to ensure that staff are on board for the digital journey. “As LGAs progressively transform their more complex customer services – such as development applications, commercial registrations and licenses – they will realise the benefits of lower costs, time savings and improved community outcomes.” Government News will publish more findings from the DMI benchmarking survey over the coming weeks. Download the report here. [post_title] => LGAs and digital maturity – a mixed bag [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => lgas-digital-maturity-mixed-bag [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-01 08:21:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-31 21:21:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28400 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28614 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-24 06:21:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-23 19:21:39 [post_content] => Limited working budgets and an unsuitable organisational culture are the biggest barriers to achieving digital transformation in the local government sector, says a new report. The report, from University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and sponsored by software company Civica, is based on a survey of Australia and New Zealand Local Government Authorities. It was released to coincide with the annual Civica Expo conference for customers and partners, held in the Sydney seaside suburb of Manly on 22-23 November. Approximately 70 percent of survey respondents said that limited budgets are a major constraint to digital transformation, and 65 percent believe organisational culture is an impediment. Other perceived barriers are the speed of technological change (37 percent), difficulty in meeting user expectations (32 percent) and conservative leadership (25 percent). The findings are in the fourth edition of Civica’s ‘Changing Landscape’ research series, developed in collaboration with Institute for Public Policy and Governance at UTS. This year’s report is called ‘The Changing Landscape for the Public Sector: The Challenges of Building Digital Bridges’. According to Professor Roberta Ryan, the Institute’s director, local governments in particular continue to struggle with limited funding, implementation and resourcing issues for digital projects. “Many LGAs have to make a trade-off. Digital services are being pushed down the list of priorities in favour of more immediate requirements to build or maintain physical infrastructure that serves to keep communities moving. “Meanwhile, the absence of leadership understanding in driving an outcome-based strategy is also hindering successful implementation of digital initiatives.” The survey also found that LGAs are strongly in favour of partnering with other organisations to achieve strategic transformation goals. Nearly 60 percent of respondents felt that partnering with similar organisations was a substantial opportunity for them, and closely followed by partnering with external consultancies (54 percent) and private organisations (49 percent). Partnerships with state and federal government were some way behind, at 34 percent and 16 percent respectively. “Public sector organisations want to embrace digital solutions, said Richard Fiddis, managing director at Civica. “Many organisations operate different system environments. Even though amalgamations offered access to bigger budgets, this also meant that larger amounts of data and systems need to be merged. “We see huge potential for the public sector to work with each other and third parties like ourselves to achieve strategic goals – and they appear willing to do this voluntarily – but what maybe they are saying is support us, don’t force us.” Nearly all (84 percent) of the survey respondents view digital transformation as an opportunity, but almost one in five felt they were still not given many chances to learn new skills relevant to a digital-first environment. In addition, nearly 80 percent of respondents admitted failure to implement some digital projects. There is also still a significant one in three organisations who believe they only talk about emerging digital technologies. Alarmingly, a small section revealed that they don’t pay attention to emerging technologies. “For some councils their citizens place a high value on physical services and human engagement. At the same time, some communities can seem ambivalent around the use of new technologies,” said Mr Fiddis. He said the results demonstrate that organisations with a culture resistant to change or lacking resources and talent struggle with driving transformation projects. “Another key reason that can lead to implementation failure is an absence of knowledgeable leadership backed by a sound strategy. Despite the struggles, almost three quarters of the survey respondents state their leadership has a clearly established strategy to become a digitally mature organisation. “Embracing digital transformation requires the existence of a digital culture and mindset across the organisation, championed by strong leadership that can tackle the challenges of leading in a digital first environment.” The study was based on survey responses from 200 professionals within IT teams, finance, corporate and governance teams at local government councils, state departments, infrastructural organisations and educational organisations from Australia and New Zealand. 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Local

Civica

Lack of money and knowledge hindering digital transformation

Limited working budgets and an unsuitable organisational culture are the biggest barriers to achieving digital transformation in the local government sector, says a new report. The report, from University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and sponsored by software company Civica, is based on a survey of Australia and New Zealand Local Government Authorities. It was released […]

Bentley smart city

Lucky country, smart city – Opinion

Australia has long held a reputation for being the ‘Lucky Country’. That has largely been the case over the past 25 years. Our economy has the averted the financial crises that have plagued the USA and Europe. Most industries, with relatively high amounts of low-cost capital at their disposal, have grown steadily. But has this […]

Norfolk Island

Federal takeover a ‘disaster’ for Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island is ‘on the brink of disaster’, says an independent report on the island’s economic situation. The report was commissioned by the island’s small community following the Australian Government’s abolition of self-government in July 2016 and the imposition of direct rule. Norfolk Island’s 1700 residents are now subject to the same laws – and […]

Darwin

First Smart Cities funding announced

The Australian Government has made its first grants under its Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. The grants are to Darwin to ‘switch on’ the city, and to a number of smaller projects in Perth. The program, announced in March 2017 has earmarked $50 million for projects across Australia, with 40 percent of the total to […]

web metrics

How do LGAs measure digital transformation?

The new ANZ Local Government Digital Maturity Index (DMI) surveyed over 100 local government authorities in Australia and New Zealand about the extent to which they are digitising their internal processes and the delivery of their services. It also shows the extent to which LGAs are measuring the extent of their digitisation. The DMI shows […]

SocMedGov

Social media an important government channel

Social media is now a major channel through which Australia’s government sector disseminates information. It is also increasingly important in other ways – as a way of measuring community reaction to government initiatives, for example. The ninth annual Social Media for Government Summit in Melbourne has heard from dozens of government speakers about how social […]

GP

From the Editor – Government News is bigger, better, brighter

Government News has been delivering the stories behind government administration and policy since 1981. That’s 36 years, or half a human lifetime. It has thousands of readers, in all levels of government, and many more outside of government. Our  philosophy is to cover the stories the mainstream press misses, but which appeal to those interested […]

DMI 2

LGAs only halfway there on digital

The new ANZ Local Government Digital Maturity Index (DMI) contains a number of interesting findings. One of the most intriguing is the fact that most Local Government Authorities do a reasonable job at delivering services digitally, but that behind-the-scenes there are still many manual processes. The DMI contains four sub-indexes. One of these looks at […]

archive

Government records on a seven year burn down

Modern technology means it has never been easier or more cost-effective to store and access information. So it is surprising then that many government departments, from LGAs to federal agencies, are still relying on audio and video tapes to store their crucial records. While legislation mandates the retention of some of this content, such as […]

DMI strategy

LGAs and digital maturity – a mixed bag

Less than half Australasia’s local government authorities have implemented a formal strategy for the digital delivery of services to the public. Even fewer have a strategy for their internal customers – council employees. This is despite most LGAs agreeing that digital is the way of the future. The results are contained in the new Local […]