Responsibility for the program aimed to improve the digital capability of the Australian Public Service has been shifted from the Digital Transformation Agency, as a significant restructuring at the agency continues.
The APS Digital Profession program, which aims to improve digital expertise in the public sector, has been shifted to the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) after the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) led its development over the last 12 months.
It’s the third major program, along with the redevelopment of myGov and the digital identity project, that has been moved away from the DTA due to a restructuring which has seen the agency moved to the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet and its role changed to focus on policy advice and strategy rather than service delivery.
Chief executive Randall Brugeaud also left the agency at the start of the month, with chief operating officer Peter Alexander currently serving as acting chief. Mr Brugeaud will remain as the inaugural Head of the Digital Profession – a title he also held while DTA chief – along with his new role as the chair of the Simplified Trade Systems Implementation Taskforce within the Department of Trade.
The APSC announced the change on Monday , saying that it “strengthens the opportunity to build digital capability across the public service”, and will ensure closer alignment with its broader responsibility for APS initiatives.
“The transfer coincides with other changes to the DTA, enabling the DTA to focus on its core policy responsibilities with regards to ICT and digital investment across the APS,” the APSC said in a statement.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison approved these machinery of government changes last week, but these have not been released publicly yet.
“Implementing the machinery of government changes takes time, and the APSC is working closely with the DTA to finalise arrangements in line with the machinery of government guidelines,” the APSC said.
The Digital Profession stream was launched in April last year to improve the digital capability of the APS and attract new tech savvy professionals to the service. It will also provide more formalised public service career pathways in tech-based roles.
Consulting giant PwC was awarded a contract by the DTA in April to run a communications campaign to improve awareness of the Digital Professions program, while communications firm 89 Degrees East is also being paid just under $40,000 over a year to develop podcasts around it.
The DTA is facing a “large reduction” in its funding and responsibilities, coinciding with the shift back to PM&C.
The agency is moving away from service delivery and project management and has instead been instructed to focus on delivering whole-of-government advice and strategy.
The agency confirmed that the redevelopment of myGov and the digital identity project have both been moved to Services Australia.
The DTA is facing a reduction in its funding from $425.5 million to $336 million in 2021-22, with Mr Brugeaud telling a Senate Estimates hearing that this equates to an actual funding cut of $40 million annually.
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