Turnover: DTA loses 340 staff

James Riley
Editorial Director

Staff turnover at the Digital Transformation Agency has been raised as an issue as it revealed 340 staff had left the agency over an 18 months period – at face value a staggering turnover rate.

But the agency said the numbers don’t reflect the nature of the agency’s work, which includes bringing teams together for short periods, working in an agile way with short-term contractors and seconded staff working with full-time employees.

Figures released under a Freedom of Information request revealed that 340 people ceased employment with the DTA from December 2016 to June 2018. With a total workforce of 342 people as of June this year, the agency had close to a 100 per cent turnover in the last year and a half.

Staff issues: The DTA has had a 100 per cent turnover in 18 months

But InnovationAus.com understands that of these staff members, 242 were contractors and 98 were public sector on-going or non-ongoing employees.

Of the staff that left the agency in the last year and a half, 60 per cent were from the DTA’s Canberra office, with the rest from Sydney.

Some of the turnover was also due to machinery of government changes, with 11 DTA employees working in the cyber security division being transferred to the Australian Signals Directorate at the start of July.

A DTA spokesperson said the agency’s team is a “mix of APS, contractors and secondees”.

“The DTA recruits skills and expertise as required to deliver on key priorities. DTA’s agile ways of working encourage teams to work across projects that start and finish with short timeframes,” the spokesperson told InnovationAus.com.

“This allows the DTA to bring in skills from across the public and private sector for short periods and focus on delivering outcomes in a quick fashion.”

“The DTA is proud of the work we have done involving multidisciplinary teams from across the APS. This allows us to increase the capability of the public sector and also to deliver outcomes in a truly collaborative way.”

The DTA was calibrated in October 2016 from a significant restructuring of the Digital Transformation Office. The agency received a broader remit to look at whole-of-government ICT policy, strategy, procurement and whole-of-government assurance function.

The agency has undergone a series of changes and refocuses, and has been regularly targeted by the Opposition, which has says it is ineffective and toothless.

The DTA’s first full-time chief executive Gavin Slater resigned in June, was replaced by former Australian Bureau of Statistics chief operating office Randall Brugeaud.

The DTA received $92 million in this year’s federal budget to accelerate the implementation of its GovPass digital identity program, with $61 million in new money. It was also handed $700,000 to investigate where blockchain could be implemented to better deliver government services.

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