A digital-ready public sector

Improve operations, work collaboratively with partners and develop a workforce skilled for the future, now.


Evidence-based decision-making. Co-designed policy

Use data to inform better decisions and designing policy with end-to-end digital services in mind. Define policy and standards to enable new digital ways of working and accelerate change across government.

Why it matters

Over the last decade, the data that government has made publicly accessible has been highly valuable for both the public and private sectors. However, typically governments have lagged behind the private sector in using data to develop policy and services. An Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) survey found that only 12 per cent of countries have a single, dedicated data policy driving common strategic goals across government.1

Evidence-led policy-making and service design lead to better outcomes for communities. Digital engagement platforms and data give government the tools to incorporate the needs of Victorians into their decision-making at a much larger and deeper scale than previously possible.

At the moment, data can be difficult to use because it is fragmented across the Victorian Government. Updating policies and standards can change this by making it easier to build and use data that can inform legislation and service design.

Equally, to keep pace with the rapidly changing technological landscape, legislation must be solution-agnostic and support common ways of working across the government workforce.

How we will act on it

  • Take steps to become a data-driven public sector by leveraging data as a key strategic asset to identify and define emerging issues and drive informed, data-backed regulatory and service decisions.
  • Drive a culture of collaboration and information-sharing, balancing appropriate safeguards with the need to deliver better outcomes through data insights and clear governance.
  • Provide timely and relevant guidance to make legislation fit-for-purpose, including appropriate requirements for capturing and managing information across government and solution- agnostic policies.
  • Ensure collected data is open, transparent and accessible to shape policy-making and deliver optimal outcomes for Victorians. This includes continuing to make data accessible to the private sector to support the growing digital economy.

Responsive, resilient, connected government

Provide transferable skills and common, connected solutions to make it easier to navigate and work across government. Build a responsive workforce with the right tools and skills to do their job.

Why it matters

Organisations need to be more responsive to a rapidly evolving and highly competitive landscape and changing customer needs. Governments, as regulators and essential service providers, are no exception.

Governments that rally around a shared vision for their communities – and break through entrenched organisational boundaries – are more agile, respond better to community needs and typically deliver outcomes at lower cost by sharing talent between organisations.

Genuine customer-centricity also relies on transparency of information across enterprises to foster trust between divisions, and greater mobility and collaboration of resources to deliver better outcomes faster.

A connected government, both at systems and workforce levels, is the key to service resilience, allowing enterprises to reconfigure capability rapidly. This was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic,2 in particular from 2020 to 2021.

How we will act on it

  • Establish a technology backbone and new common ways of working that bring the whole of the Victorian Government together to deliver responsive, resilient and connected government services.
  • Reinforce the ‘one Victorian public sector’ mindset, oriented around community needs and emphasising cross-department partnering.
  • Share lessons and solutions more widely, leverage and adapt existing capabilities and take a more mobile approach to teaming up across the Victorian public sector.
  • Increase resilience through continuing to embed security and privacy at the centre of all our operations – from policy design through to service delivery.
  • Continue to deliver common platforms to modernise technology across the Victorian Government while pursuing wider opportunities for common, connected platforms to accelerate the pace of change, support better outcomes and create efficiencies across government.
  • Build more transferrable skillsets and shared information to drive greater collaboration.

Simplified operations that maximise human talent

Rethink processes to minimise manual effort. Use automation and analytics technologies to create more capacity for our workforce to focus on higher value activities.

Why it matters

The complexity of any organisation, including government, can be a significant hurdle for people who need to interact with it.

Simplification requires a clear focus on how customers experience services. This involves breaking down organisational silos that entrench complexity, and leveraging common, connected high quality platforms and automation tools.

A shift toward cloud-based platforms and the increasing accessibility of artificial intelligence (AI) is changing how organisations drive efficiency.

Organisations are working to reverse the complexity of customised systems. Processes are being redesigned and streamlined, including robotic process automation to strip out low-value work.

At the same time, organisations are making a cultural shift to reduce risk-aversion and drive innovation through their businesses.

How we will act on it

  • Simplify operations and unlock efficiencies across the Victorian Government by replacing fragmented legacy systems and removing complex processes and duplication of effort.
  • Continue to transition out of legacy systems3 and reduce technological debt by leveraging lessons and skills from each transition and ensuring future platforms are integrated and coordinated across the whole of Victorian Government.
  • Streamline manual effort and repetition through the use of AI or robotic process automation to help the public sector deliver more for Victorians.
  • Encourage an innovative mindset across government that supports the development of digital skills and drive technology adoption, making it easier for the public sector to support and deliver for our communities.

Digital mindsets, skills and ways of working

Build a diverse, inclusive Victorian public sector workforce that is competent in digital ways of working. Combine the right digital skillsets in blended teams to solve key challenges.

Why it matters

Digital upskilling is an imperative of today’s workplace. While 69 per cent of Australians are willing to digitally upskill to improve their future employability, only 28 per cent of Australian workers have been provided with training in the past 12 months.4

Without organisation-wide investment in basic digital skills, efforts to transform and attract and retain high-quality talent are inhibited.

In the challenge to attract and retain talent, governments must promote that they are a future- fit workplace to develop essential digital skills.

Digital skills universally in demand include the ability to harness and connect data, critical data analysis capability to derive relevant insights, and the ability to package and communicate information clearly and succinctly, without multiple layers of reporting.

The cultural shift to an ongoing new ‘digital normal’ and agile ways of working is essential. Capitalising on opportunities arising from external events can provide step-change. As seen in the increased of digital ways of working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How we will act on it

  • Continue to build on the momentum created by the COVID-19 pandemic (and other external opportunities as they arise), to encourage digital ways of working and strive for a culture of digital innovation.
  • Invest in digital upskilling, with digital acceleration a key part of the employee learning experience to attract, retain and strengthen employee engagement.
  • Empower the Victorian public sector to acquire new digital skills to accelerate innovation across the whole of the Victorian Government.
  • Lead from the top with fostering new skillsets, demonstrating digital-first mindsets and driving a culture of innovation.
  • Empower the workforce to take greater risks to innovate and embrace new working styles such as agile and virtual collaboration.
  • Provide key decision-makers with the knowledge to support efficient management of digital investments.

Digital ethics, privacy and security

Maintain ethics as a priority when deploying digital technologies, including emerging technology, supported by appropriate safeguards.

Why it matters

Building and maintaining trust in a digital world requires strong ethical foundations. This is more important than ever as people are more concerned with the use and vulnerability of their private information.

While 58 per cent of Australian consumers agree data-sharing is a necessary part of using digital services, 83 per cent also believe government should play a bigger role in protecting their sensitive data. 5

Despite organisations’ efforts to bolster cyber security, concerns remain high among Australians, with 57 per cent ranking their personal privacy of paramount importance.

As new technology is fast outpacing current legislation, it is critical that organisations establish ethical and safe guardrails for innovation to evolve.

How we will act on it

  • Balance an innovation-enabling environment with appropriate governance and legislation to create a prosperous economy and a future-ready public sector that is able to protect Victorians and build public trust.
  • Ensure government digital uptake – whether in service delivery, policy development or government operations – is appropriately considered through the lens of privacy and ethics to protect public trust.
  • Set ethical guardrails across sectors more broadly for the use of personal data, AI and other emerging technology. Regularly review these guardrails to take account of rapid technological advancements.
  • Engage with the community to incorporate their ethics and privacy needs and communicate clearly and transparently to ensure rights and responsibilities are understood across Victorian communities and businesses.

Key enablers

End notes

1 OECD Digital Government Index (DGI), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2019

2 Global COVID-19 Pandemic 2019+

3 Gartner Information Technology Glossary, Legacy System: an information system that may be based on outdated technologies, but is critical to day-to-day operations.

4 ‘Where next for skills’, PwC Australia, August 2020

5 Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy Survey 2020, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, 2020