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The Department of Government Services was established on 1 January 2023 to improve everyone’s experience of doing business and interacting with government.
We bring important day-to-day services together in one department to make things easy and seamless for Victorians and businesses.
We're working to connect and digitise our systems and platforms across state and local government as well as streamlining our corporate and procurement services.
Department of Government Services ministers
Gabrielle Williams MP, Minister for Government Services, Minister for Consumer Affairs
The Hon Melissa Horne MP, Minister for Local Government
Department of Government Services leadership team
Our Board of Management is the peak body in the department's corporate governance structure. It advises the Secretary on the management and administration of the department to ensure compliance with government directives, guidelines and legislation.
It's responsible for integrating governance functions across the department and working collaboratively with portfolio agencies.
Prior to this role, Jo was the founding CEO of Service Victoria. She took it from a technology startup to an award-winning digital platform for government services. Under her leadership, Service Victoria played a crucial role supporting the Victorian Government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before this, Jo was the CEO responsible for establishing the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC). She has held deputy secretary roles at Department of Premier and Cabinet and Department of Primary Industries.
Jo has consistently demonstrated a commitment to customer service delivery and government service reform. She was named one of the Top 50 Public Sector Women in 2021 by the Institute of Public Administration Victoria.
Dr Emily Phillips commenced as Deputy Secretary at Department of Government Services on 1 January 2023. She has responsibility for Local Government Victoria, Social Procurement and (from 1 July 2023) the Grant Program Centre.
Prior to this, Emily was the Deputy Secretary, Local Government and Suburban Development at the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions from 1 July 2020. She established the new Local Government and Suburban Development Group and led the work in supporting Victorian communities and 79 local councils.
Emily has extensive executive leadership experience in policy reform and delivering programs across the Victorian Government. She was previously Chief Executive, Agriculture Victoria and Deputy Secretary, Water and Catchments.
Gayle Porthouse commenced as Deputy Secretary at Department of Government Services on 1 January 2023. She has responsibility for shared government services.
Prior to this, Gayle was Deputy Secretary, Corporate and Government Services at the Department of Treasury and Finance. She was responsible for the efficient delivery of financial, people, information, legal, planning, procurement and technology services. She was also responsible for the management of whole-of-Victorian Government services provided to departments and agencies.
Gayle has more than 30 years' experience in the public service across several government departments, including Department of Premier and Cabinet. During this time Gayle has led significant reform activities across the public sector.
She was named one of the Top 50 Public Sector Women in 2018 by the Institute of Public Sector Administration Victoria.
John Batho is Deputy Secretary with responsibility for Consumer Affairs, regulation policy, Dispute Services, Births Deaths and Marriages and the Worker Screening Unit.
Prior to DGS, John was Deputy Secretary, Consumer Affairs, Liquor, Gaming and Dispute Services in the Department of Justice and Community Safety. John led the Victorian Government’s engagement and response to the Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence.
John also has experience as Acting Deputy Secretary, Fairer Victoria (DPC) where he led whole-of-government initiatives to promote diversity, fairness and inclusion. Earlier in his career John held a variety of roles in the VPS, spanning social policy, legal, governance, intergovernmental relations and industrial relations.
Vivien Allimonos is Deputy Secretary with responsibility for corporate services.
Prior to the this role, Vivien was Deputy Secretary, Cabinet, Communication and Corporate Group in the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Vivien has more than 20 years' experience in public administration with a focus on international affairs, trade and communications.
She has held various executive positions in the Victorian and Australian public services as well as the US State Department. Before joining DPC, Vivien was Chief Communications Officer at the Department of Education and Training.
She was named one of the Top 50 Public Sector Women in 2020 by the Institute of Public Sector Administration Victoria.
Darren Whitelaw has been Service Victoria’s Chief Customer Officer since 2017. He was appointed to the role of Acting Chief Executive Officer in December 2022.
Before Service Victoria, Darren held leadership roles at Department of Justice and Community Safety, Department of Planning and Community Development and Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Darren delivered the Victorian Government’s first smartphone app in 2010 and established the first social media command centre. He is a passionate advocate for digital inclusion. He holds an undergraduate degree in Communications, a Masters in Public Administration and studied at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Department of Government Services portfolios, entities and agencies
Cenitex provides shared information and communications technology services to the Victorian Government. Cenitex supports a modern, agile, and productive public sector, and is driven by a commitment to efficient digital services. Its services include access and network management, security, user workspace, remote working applications, and cloud services.
Public Record Office Victoria
Public Record Office Victoria maintains the archives of the State Government of Victoria, holding the official records dating from the mid-1830s to today. If all of the records held in storage were placed end-to-end they would stretch for more than 100 kilometres. The Public Record Office of Victoria manages these records for use by the government and people of Victoria for now and future generations. The collection contains records of decisions, events, people, and places that have shaped the history of Victoria.
Service Victoria is the government’s dedicated customer service agency making it simpler and easier to get things done with the Victorian Government. Service Victoria brings together more than 100 of the most popular transactions on an award-winning mobile phone app and website. The app was the most downloaded in Australia in 2021 and has been installed on around 6.6 million devices. Thousands of people use it each day to get quick and instant access to the digital services they want and need.
Service Victoria has an overall customer satisfaction score of 95% and has delivered more than 1.1 billion transactions since going live in 2017.
Find information about other government services
Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria
The Director of Consumer Affairs is the statutory office created under the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012. Under Sections 109 and 110 of this Act, the Director has significant powers and functions and is supported by Consumer Affairs Victoria. These include operational matters covering education, compliance monitoring and enforcement. Nicole Rich is the current Director and is also the Executive Director of Regulatory Services at the Department of Government Services.
Commissioner for Residential Tenancies
The Commissioner for Residential Tenancies provides independent advice to the Victorian Government to recommend changes to renting laws, programs, and services to improve the renting rights, practices, and tenant experiences across Victoria.
Chief Dispute Resolution Officer
The Chief Dispute Resolution Officer is established under Part 4 of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 oversees the effective operation of Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria and Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria.
Both organisations assist Victorians to resolve disputes by providing fair, fast and free mediation and early resolution services. The services also provide accredited mediation training and tailored conflict management packages.
Estate Agents Council
The Estate Agents Council advises the Minister for Consumer Affairs on the operation of the Estate Agents Act 1980 and its regulations. The council has no role in the administration of the Act or regulations, rather they undertake research projects and advise on applications for grants from the Victorian Property Fund.
Motor Car Traders Claims Committee
The Motor Car Traders Claims Committee is a statutory committee established under section 57 of the Motor Car Traders Act 1986. Anyone (except a motor car trader, a motor car manufacturer, finance broker or public statutory authority) who has suffered a loss after purchasing a car, can make a claim for compensation from the Motor Car Traders Guarantee Fund. The Committee consider and determine these claims.
Residential Tenancies Bond Authority
The Residential Tenancies Bond Authority is a statutory authority established by the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 to hold all Victorian residential tenancy bonds including those applying to residents of long-term caravans and rooming houses.
Business Licensing Authority (accountable to Minister for Small Business)
The Business Licensing Authority is an independent regulator, operating under the Business Licensing Authority Act 1998 . The Authority administers licensing and registration schemes for certain industries such as real estate agents and professional engineers. These schemes protect consumers, provide quality safeguards, and mitigate against criminal conduct by establishing minimum standards for industry entrants.
Consumer Policy Research Centre
The Consumer Policy Research Centre is an independent, non-profit, consumer think-tank. The centre is funded by the Victorian Government and works closely with policy makers, regulators, academia, industry, and the community sector to develop, translate and promote evidence-based research to inform practice and policy change.
Arbiter Panel List
The arbiter panel list is established under section 142 of the Local Government Act 2020 by the Secretary.
Following an application by a council, councillor, or group of councillors to the principal councillor conduct registrar, an arbiter may be engaged to make a finding in relation to a councillor’s actions or activities that may be considered as misconduct due to breaching prescribed standards of conduct.
Commissions of Inquiry
The Minister for Local Government can, under section 209 of the Local Government Act 1989 and section 200 of the Local Government Act 2020, appoint a commissioner or commissioners to establish an inquiry into a council’s affairs. This is in cases where serious governance failures by council have been identified. Following the Commissioner/s inquiry a report on findings and recommendations is provided to the Minister.
On 28 October 2022, a Commission of Inquiry was appointed to inquire into matters relating to the affairs of the Moira Shire Council. The Commission will report to the Minister for Local Government by 28 February 2023.
Councillor conduct framework
The Local Government Act 2020 establishes a councillor conduct framework to manage councillor conduct and behaviour.
Entities within the councillor conduct framework are:
Principal Councillor Conduct Registrar
The principal councillor conduct registrar is appointed by the Secretary under section 148 of the Local Government Act 2020. The registrar administers councillor conduct panel processes under the councillor conduct framework. The registrar is also responsible for appointing an arbiter to a council where an application alleging misconduct is made under the council’s internal arbitration process.
Councillor Conduct Panel List
The Councillor Conduct Panel List is established under section 153 of the Local Government Act 2020 by the Minister for Local Government. The panel list comprises the following legal and non-legal members.
Following an application by a council, councillor, or group of councillors to the principal councillor conduct registrar, a councillor conduct panel may be formed to make a finding in relation to actions or activities that may be considered as misconduct or serious misconduct.
Independent reviews and reports
Under the Local Government Act 2020, the Minister for Local Government may appoint independent entities to provide advice to councils and report back on council structures, operations and governance.
Municipal monitors can be appointed by the Minister for Local Government to councils that have experienced governance issues. The Minister makes an appointment under section 179 of the Local Government Act 2020 for a Monitor to observe governance processes and provide advice to council. At the end of the appointment the monitor reports to the minister.
Currently, City of Darebin, City of Wodonga, and Horsham Rural City Council each a have municipal monitor in place. In each case the monitor will finish their appointments during January 2023.
Victorian Local Government Grants Commission
The Victorian Local Government Grants Commission recommends financial assistance grants from the Commonwealth Government to local councils in Victoria. The commission functions according to the Commonwealth Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995 and a set of national distribution principles.