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DPC travel outcomes report: Gavin Jennings' 2017 travel to the UK, Germany, Estonia and Hong Kong

Information about costs, purpose and outcomes of Gavin Jennings' travel to the UK, Germany, Estonia and Hong Kong, 28 June to 14 July 2017.

Minister The Hon Gavin Jennings MLC
Portfolio Special Minister of State
Countries visited United Kingdom, Germany, Estonia, Hong Kong
Date of travel 28 June to 14 July 2017
No of official travel days (including date of departure and date of return) 17
Accompanying ministerial staff

Onagh Bishop, Senior Advisor

Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity No
Funding source Department of Premier and Cabinet
Airfares (including taxes and fees) $27,558
Accommodation (including taxes and fees) $13,652
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances) $6,118
Travel cost for minister and staff $47,328
Are the above costs final and complete? No

Purpose of travel

From 28 June to 14 July I travelled to Europe and Asia to visit England, Scotland, Germany, Estonia and Hong Kong. These locations were selected to reflect the breadth and diversity of my portfolio responsibilities and to capitalise on jurisdictional expertise in a range of service and policy delivery areas.

The purpose of this trip was to strengthen my understanding of innovative practice and leverage relationships with recognised  global experts in the domains of:

  • public sector reform, efficiency and innovation
  • digital government, data and information sharing
  • multi agency service delivery to address and prevent family violence and safeguard children
  • evidence, impact and outcomes based policy and programming
  • governance, transparency and accountability in the public sector

Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria

During my trip I met with thirty-four agencies and over sixty practitioners, experts and counterparts responsible for designing and delivering meaningful reforms in policy development and service delivery.

This trip allowed me to capitalise on the knowledge and experiences of experts and to also consider possibilities to replicate their successes in Victoria.

Learnings from my trip will strengthen the Government’s commitment to meaningful, generational reform across the public sector and have positive outcomes for the Victorian community. Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria include:

  1. capitalising on examples of successful public sector innovation projects and securing future joint initiatives as part of Victoria’s Public Sector Innovation Strategy   
  2. gaining exposure to jurisdictional and global leaders in the application of open data, cyber-security and information sharing policies
  3. learning from global leaders in outcomes and evidence-based policy and programming to understand what works and challenges in outcomes delivery
  4. gaining valuable insight into best-practice across a range of progressive multi agency service delivery responses to child protection, violence prevention and family safety investigating achievements of global leaders in the design and delivery of streamlined digital services with emphasis on the fiscal and social benefits of e-governance
  5. strengthening and brokering relationships with counterparts and public sector leaders overseeing public sector reform, transparency and accountability

Further details of the benefits of my trip are outlined below:

Successful public sector innovation projects and public/private partnership frameworks

Outcomes included:

  • establishing a formal relationship between the UK’s National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA)  and the government’s Public Service Innovation Branch to build a community of ambitious and innovative governments who are forging new ground and setting new standards in government, public and social evidence-based policy making and service delivery.
  • establishing valuable relationships with practitioners from CivTech, an acclaimed public/private partnership innovation program. A second meeting will be held in Melbourne in September 2017, to explore future opportunities for partnership meeting with seven separate government and non-government agencies at the forefront of driving innovation in the public sector in the UK and Germany

In London I attended a meeting with NESTA that has resulted in Victoria joining the Public Innovation Learning Collective, a select group of international organisations and governments supporting the practice and learning around public innovation.

I also progressed development of the proposed i-School partnership between NESTA and the Victorian Government Public Sector Innovation Branch.

The proposed i-School program would engage 40 public servants through a comprehensive, practice-oriented learning curriculum covering key approaches to embedding innovation in government, building internal government capability as well as strengthening local public sector providers.  

I saw effective public private partnerships in practice at an organisation called CivTech in Edinburgh. CivTech draws on new technologies and innovation to solve problems or increase efficiency  and productivity in the public sector.

I was excited about possible opportunities to  replicate and capitalise on the successes of this cutting-edge initiative in the Victorian public sector.

I was able to compare and contrast a range of policies and initiatives designed to drive innovation in London, Edinburgh and Berlin. These meetings allowed me to promote Victoria’s innovation strategy, foster new relationships with prospective partners in innovation and hear about the stand out achievements of agencies in this field.

Cutting edge e-governance, cyber-security and information sharing strategies

Outcomes included:

  • establishing valuable ongoing relationships with UK-based global leaders in data sharing practice: the Centre of Excellence in Information and Data Sharing, resulting in a follow up meeting in Melbourne in December 2017, to further consider best-practice approaches to Victoria’s data and information sharing strategy learning about cutting-edge e-services to inform the Victorian Government’s work towards building state wide modern digital systems
  • considering the risks and benefits of contrasting approaches to privacy and cyber security through meetings with senior officials in Information Technology (IT) and digital policy  in Germany and Estonia
  • sharing Victoria’s achievements in delivering data sharing systems and legislation to keep women and children safe and free from violence
  • learning about jurisdictional best-practice in data sharing for child protection and family violence prevention from leading academics and practitioners
  • attending thirteen meetings across the UK, Germany and Estonia with leaders and practitioners in cyber-security, privacy and data-sharing

In London I met with leaders from a range of government agencies and think tanks to  learn about the challenges and opportunities data-sharing reform may foster.

During my visit to Berlin, I met with government representatives including: the Director General for Digital Society and the Head of Divisions of E-Government to discuss Germany’s approach to data protection, privacy and cyber-security.

While in Tallinn, I met with Estonia’s equivalent representatives including: the Director of Government Information Systems and Manager of Cross-Border E-services, to contrast Germany’s cautious approach to privacy protection and data sharing with Estonia’s liberal approach.

Outcomes of these meetings will inform best practice in delivering Victoria’s Information Technology Strategy and state wide approach to information-sharing and privacy legislation.

Global leadership in evidence-based policy and programming

Outcomes included:

  • meeting with five global leaders delivering and designing cutting-edge outcomes and evidence-based frameworks for the public sector
  • initiating relationships with key counterparts and experts delivering impact-driven policy and program design across the UK

I met with a breadth of government and non-government organisations in London and Edinburgh to explore their own unique approaches to adopting outcomes in public policy. Meetings with non-partisan agencies allowed me to understand ideas of the UK’s most influential and progressive thinkers in the fields of evidence-based policy.   

In Edinburgh I met with Scottish Government counterparts, including the Government’s Chief Statistician responsible for implementing the commended National Performance Framework.

I was able to gain insight into what has worked well and what hasn’t in the rollout of the Framework. These valuable insights will inform the Victorian Government’s approach to our outcomes and evidence approach to public sector reform.    

Best-practice in multi agency service delivery to keep families and children safe

Outcomes included:

  • gaining insight into factors for successful service delivery and family violence prevention
  • learning about the challenges and issues facing multi agency hubs, including the unique needs of particular communities  through place-based hubs

I gained insight and expertise in innovative responses to family violence service provision through two site visits to long-established multi agency safeguarding hubs in the UK (Southwark and Nottinghamshire). I experienced the day-to-day function of service delivery, challenges, successes and lessons learned from the multiagency model in the UK which informed the Royal Commission into Family Violence’s recommendation to establish Support and Safety Hubs, which are currently being rolled out across Victoria.

World-class, integrated digital services and systems

Outcomes included:

  • meetings with six representatives from different global enterprises, delivering cutting edge cyber security, information systems and digital services to the Estonian government
  • gaining a comprehensive overview of the entire Estonian e-government strategy, including challenges and the future of Estonia’s information economy

I visited Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia: the most advanced digital society in the world, to learn more about the systems and policies that have enabled the nation to transform into a wholly digital state.

Along with meetings with representatives from private enterprises, I also attended three meetings with government agencies including: the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Information System Authority and Strategy Unit. These meetings enabled me to understand how Estonia’s digital strategy has generated efficiencies in service delivery.

It also allowed me to consider possible opportunities for the Victorian Government to simulate some of Estonia’s achievements through our own Information Technology Strategy: 2016-2020.

Productivity, integrity and transparency

Outcomes included:

  • establishing meaningful relationships with senior leaders including the Chief Executive of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary of the UK Cabinet Office, and the Secretary for the Hong Kong Civil Service Bureau
  • learning more about the UK and Hong Kong’s current approaches to fostering integrity and accountability in government, particularly through statutory bodies and frameworks
  • gaining understanding of approaches in the UK and Hong Kong to productivity and competency in the public service
  • participating in five meetings across the UK, Hong Kong and Germany regarding transparency, anti-corruption and integrity in the public services

I met with senior Civil Service representatives in the UK and Hong Kong which allowed me to compare and consider how the Victorian Public Service is faring in fostering an efficient,  transparent and accountable public service. 

While in Hong Kong I was accompanied by Chris Eccles, Secretary of the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet to meetings with the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Civil Service Bureau. These meetings allowed us to learn about various approaches to efficiency and transparency in the public service, and gave us opportunities to strengthen relationships with senior leaders from one of our key regional partners. In particular, a joint 

meeting also attended by the Secretary of the Hong Kong Civil Service and Mr Eccles saw discussions about leadership in the public sector and opportunities to develop a joint leadership academy. The Victorian Government Business Office will continue these discussions counterparts in the Hong Kong Civil Service Bureau.

Next steps

Following my visit a number of actions have taken place and will be progressed including:

  • development and delivery of the proposed i-School joint program between the Victorian Government’s Public Sector Innovation branch and UK-based organisation NESTA to foster innovation through training in the public service 
  • acquiring a follow up meeting with CivTech, a Scottish program aimed at fostering innovation in the public sector through partnerships with private enterprises which will take place in Melbourne in  September 2017
  • securing a meeting in Melbourne in December 2017 with the UK’s Centre of Excellence in Information and Data Sharing to further consolidate best-practice approaches to Victoria’s data and information sharing strategy
  • attending a wrap-up meeting in August 2017 with Christopher Holtby OBE, UK Consul General in Melbourne and former British Ambassador to Estonia, to relay successes and travel outcomes and identify future opportunities for Victoria
  • representatives from the Victorian Government Business Office in Hong Kong will commence conversations with counterparts in the Hong Kong Civil Service Bureau to further scope a joint public service leadership initiative.

Reviewed 24 January 2019

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