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Public Sector Innovation Awards

Congratulations to the winners of the Public Sector Innovation Awards, especially the projects focused on digital transformation from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Finance.

Salsa Digital 8 August 2017

The Awards

The Public Sector Innovation Awards are relatively new, with 2017 marking their second year. These awards specifically recognise innovation in the ACT and Commonwealth Governments.

The four main categories for the awards are:

  1. Innovative Solutions
  2. Culture and Practice
  3. Digital and Data
  4. Judges’ Award

Digital transformation in the Awards

The main award that crosses into the tech world is obviously Digital and Data. Congratulations to the winner of this category, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources for its Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS). MARS is an online web portal that commercial ships use to submit pre-arrival documentation for Australian biosecurity clearance.

MARS is a great example of a traditional, paper-based system being transformed into a digital delivery channel. Like many government departments around Australia, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has focused on digital service delivery.

The Judges’ Awards

There were also two recipients of the Judges’ Award — the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) and the Department of Finance (DoF) — and both of these have a strong link to technology and digital transformation.

Firstly, the PM&C was recognised for its innovative online briefing system, Digital First Capability. The system is credited with breaking down barriers to collaboration and “allowing the Prime Minister and his advisors to get information, ask questions and receive answers in real-time.”

The PM&C has written an article on the system called Changing how Government does business. Interestingly, a prototype of the app was built by two developers in only 18 hours, and in total it took 40 days to deliver the finished system to the Prime Minister. A great example of how digital prototypes can be built quickly and then refined for official release.

The new system replaces the old paper-based briefing method, which used large folders of documents to brief the PM and/or his staff.

The development team is also looking at rolling out the technology to other government departments (federal and state) so if it sounds like a collaboration tool you could use, contact PM&C!

The other winner of the Judges’ Award, the DoF, was for a much broader innovative change. The DoF’s Finance Transformation Program is all about transforming the way the Department operates, and includes leveraging technology and Design Thinking. (See our blog series on Design Thinking for more information.)

A big congratulations to the DoF, a department we’ve built a very strong relationship with over the past few years through our work with Drupal and govCMS.

Salsa Digital’s take

More and more, we’re seeing digital transformation in government everywhere...and it’s great to see it rewarded. We’ve also recently covered the government standouts in the IoT Awards, and last year the iAwards for Government. Awards like these are important to recognise and reward the work that’s going on in digital transformation in government.

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