The DTO “Work Programme”

Your DTO has announced a “work programme that includes a list of initiatives as ambitious as it is potentially misleading. Let’s cut away the Digital KoolAid and see what’s really there …

The DTO has a new vision – so let’s share it – “Our vision is that everyone who needs to use government services should be able to find what they need, quickly and easily.” But that’s the same vision we’ve always had, so no news in there. Just recycling and re-branding – take the old vision and say it’s the new vision. Impressive stuff.

Your DTO is looking for a problem: preferably a problem that isn’t theirs to solve and perhaps doesn’t exist. Its “problem” is that the people currently building Commonwealth on-line services (suddenly these are called ‘digital’ as though changing the name is a step forward): the talented APS people who have been doing this for years don’t know what they are up to. @Paul_Shetler sees a “problem” and so great, the DTO rides to the rescue, Don Quixote style.

Paul says (only slightly transliterated here) that “consistent with our approach to design, the prototype won’t be built around government’s structures”. Yes, he did move rather quickly from design to prototype, but I’m sure you caught him out. So just forget Commonwealth and federal structures – like, gone. Now we all know that game plan failed in the United Kingdom, at the Government Digital Service (that’s a GDS) where Paul and your DTO copy our innovations. In fact things there are so bad there we aren’t exactly certain what the future of the GDS will look like – maybe we’ll discover that in the UK Autumn Statement next month. The brilliant “won’t be built around government’s structures” approach may yet prove fatal.

So here’s the work bit :

  • “We’re working with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, in collaboration with the Australian Tax Office … to grow the economy. So growing the economy is the job of the DTO? The DTO says it will help “get a new business off the ground”? No; but you knew that. It hasn’t a plan for that at all. It just sounded nice.
  • The DTO is “working with Service NSW … to explore … Like Captain Cook, exploring around the place, out to the States, in this case to “allow Australian business owners to get on with the job.” Aren’t you allowed to get on with your job until after Captain Cook comes home with his map? Of course you are.
  • “We’re working with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to improve international trade”. International trade may now be the job of the DTO  but breaking news – Trade is the job of the Department of Immigration? Is that logical? Were you wondering where DFAT (Foreign Affairs and TRADE) fits in the mix? Give them a call.
  • “We’ll be teaming up with the Department of Human Services to …. transform Medicare registrations. So now Medicare has become a DTO satellite? There’s no way to tell.
  • “We are working with state and territories, starting with the ACT Government, to transform services”. Note the word “are” in there. Is that seriously happening? Is the ACT government the best path to “all levels of government”. It’s interesting how “partnering with the ACT Government to improve the appointment booking system” will reduce waiting times and overcrowding. Could that mean the ATO is training doctors and nurses at DTO Medical and building new hospital facilities at DTO Constructions? Only making jokes, now – me and your DTO.

Paul is excited, and so is Digital KoolAid. The Captain Cook phase is happening, the Endeavour is out on the high seas, the results will be awesome discoveries we’re sure. Yesterday the DTO Sponsor-in-Chief, Malcolm Turnbull promised to “chuck out” things that are not working. “If something isn’t working as well as you want, chuck it out. I’m not afraid of people saying, it’s a backdown, or a backflip, an agile government is prepared to abandon policies that don’t work.” Watch this space. If your DTO fails to deliver on its ambitious Work Programme we might expect it to be at Revolve before you can say “I am certainly assuming the next election will be in September or October 2016” – Malcolm Turnbull 23/10/2016


HM Bark Endeavour Replica
HM Bark Endeavour (it’s a copy too)

Paul’s Original DTO Blog here

Today, I’m excited to announce that we’re taking the first steps toward improving online government service delivery

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