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Introduction

We review lessons learned from VCDI's first 2 years and explain how data is integral to government's biggest challenges and how the VPS can engage with VCDI.

Lessons from VCDI’s first two years

Two years of working with VPS agencies has taught us a lot about how a centre of excellence can maximise impact. Our experience so far has shown:

  • There is strong demand for a centralised entity like VCDI to support VPS agencies to accelerate and scale change.
  • VCDI is most effective when partnering with VPS agencies, rather than issuing high-level policy statements.
  • Agencies require the right work practices and people to embed analytics models into operations.
  • VPS agencies need ongoing support to guide their investments in data.
  • The VPS needs more practical help with data sharing and access.

In response, VCDI has assembled a diverse team to help VPS agencies be more data-driven. Our strategists, change leads and privacy advisors are as critical to the mix as our machine learning and algorithm experts.

Responses in this strategy are also informed by contemporary research into how the public sector can derive value and insights from data. We will continue to hone our approach.

This graphic shows 8 circles with many lines connecting them all to each other. In order of size, the circles are labelled: Data analysts, Policy and project officers, Technologists and engineers, Business transformation, Data scientists, Data strategists and Data engineers

VCDI provides services and expertise to VPS agencies to help them generate value from data. To engage with VCDI or to find out more, contact data.insights@dpc.vic.gov.au or look up our people on the Victorian Government internal directory.

Our data science and analytics experts partner with agencies to:

  • Diagnose high-impact business problems
  • Identify priority areas for action to optimise resources, improve workflow or better understand customers
  • Design, develop, test and deploy analytics solutions
  • Evaluate benefits and refine responses

Our strategy and business transformation specialists:

  • Help develop strategic approaches to data that respond to business needs
  • Advise on the implementation of technology solutions and data governance
  • Facilitate workforce planning, executive data literacy, and access to networks and partnerships
  • Coach data functions in contemporary work practices

Our data sharing area is developing a service to meet diverse user and consumer needs, which will:

  • Bring together VPS and non-VPS data for sharing, analysis and insights
  • Provide tiered data access enabling user groups to work with data according to their level of expertise and security
  • Produce a suite of standard data products and insights for better policy and service design
This diagram shows a triangle sliced horizontally into 3 pieces. At the top is Data analytics services - tackling big challenges; in the middle is Immersive strategic services - improving the data capabilities of VPS agencies and at the bottom is Data sharing services - addressing whole of Victorian government and cross-portfolio challenges

Data (and its analytics) is the most significant renewable resource discovered this century.

Victoria has the highest population growth rate in Australia. Melbourne alone is expanding by 100,000 people per year, and the state is tipped to surpass 11 million residents in 2056.(Source: Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Victoria in Future 2019: Population Projections 2016 to 2056.)

Analytics can help to forecast infrastructure and service needs, enabling more efficient and responsive government.

As Victoria undergoes a transport infrastructure boom, data-driven approaches are vital to making the right investments, minimising disruptions, and optimising use of expensive assets.

Data and analytics can help us plan renewable energy infrastructure for best returns, understand the impacts of hotter temperatures and lower rainfall on agriculture and the economy, and better predict and respond to more severe weather-related emergencies. (Source:Department of Environment, Land, Water and
Planning, Victoria’s Climate Change Framework.)

Technology and globalisation are profoundly shifting the economy, with some industries in decline and others growing. (Source: Deloitte, 2019, The path to prosperity: why the future of work is human.)

Modelling and forecasting are essential to help understand changes so our workforce can adapt to opportunities that arise.

As the Royal Commission into Family Violence identified, data capability and sharing gaps hamper our ability to support the state’s most vulnerable residents. (Source: Royal Commission into Family Violence, 2016, Summary and Recommendations.)

To help identify risks and improve collaboration between public services, the VPS must embrace modern approaches to information sharing and use.

Delivering affordable services at the standard citizens expect will require a workforce with heightened data expertise. This hinges on careful planning and coordination within VPS agencies, and at whole-of-government level.

In a fiscally constrained environment, data is essential to contain costs. The VPS is taking steps to optimise procurement, manage assets, and improve efficiency using analytics, and such approaches must be more widely adopted. The knock-on costs of poor data use are many and varied, ranging from the lifetime cost of a violent offender through to the economic impact of traffic congestion. (Source: Charlotte van Ooijen, Barbara Ubaldi, Benjamin Welby, 2019, A data-driven public sector: Enabling the strategic use of data for productive, inclusive and trustworthy governance, OECD Working Papers on Public Governance No. 33.) 

Citizens expect government service delivery to match the responsiveness and ease of the private sector. Yet state governments are ranked well behind other sectors at using technology to deliver services. (Source: Productivity Commission, 2019, Growing the digital economy in Australia and New Zealand: Maximising opportunities for SMEs.)

Improved capabilities are essential to meet evolving public expectations.

VCDI’s strategy is structured around three goals that respond to clear public sector problems

Major policy, infrastructure and service reform opportunities are being missed due to an inability to obtain data insights. The VPS needs to derive richer insights to inform evidence-based decisions.

Responses

  • Use analytics to accelerate priority policies and projects
  • Maximise insights within VPS agencies through strategic approaches to data
  • Improve VPS data sharing for cross portfolio policy design and joined-up service delivery

Responses

  • Target data-driven savings and efficiencies
  • Govern our data to maximise value and remove waste
  • Reduce the cost and delay of implementing technology solutions

Government risks falling behind other sectors in delivering services that meet citizen expectations. Modern organisational success depends on the ability to use data effectively. The VPS needs to develop its workforce and practices to deliver data-driven government.

Responses

  • Build executive data awareness and literacy
  • Develop the right workforce for a data-driven VPS
  • Embed more creative ways of organising to solve problems

Reviewed 13 February 2020

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