IT Pro

Troubled myGov website to be taken from Human Services and given to Digital Transformation Office for streamlining

The federal government's troubled myGov website is set to be taken over by the Prime Minister's pet public service project the Digital Transformation Office.

Users of the MyGov website have been reporting problems for months.
Users of the MyGov website have been reporting problems for months. Photo: Michele Mossop

Fairfax understands that moves are already under way for the DTO to take over the management of the web portal from Commonwealth service delivery workhorse the giant Department of Human Services.

Neither agency would confirm that a takeover was under way but one government IT expert said the move would be a chance to make a real difference for the digital change project which has so far produced little more than "wishy-washy" statements.

MyGov was launched in 2013 and is now used by several million Australians.
MyGov was launched in 2013 and is now used by several million Australians. Photo: Screenshot

The myGov site was launched in 2013 and is used by several million Australians as a portal to access their Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support, Department of Veteran Affairs, e-health, and DisabilityCare accounts.

Does myGov need a reboot? Tell us ps@canberratimes.com.au

But serious problems have emerged with the security and operability of the site, with users complaining of being locked out of their accounts, outages and other glitches.

A storm of criticism was aimed in mid-2015 at the myTax portal, linked to the myGov system, for its performance at the end of the 2014-2015 financial year as millions of taxpayers tried to finish their tax returns.

In July, the DTO's high-profile boss Paul Shetler warned the Australian government was failing in its online service delivery effort and that it was "not good enough in the age of Uber and Airbnb".

Now Mr Shetler, who did not respond to requests for comment for this article, looks set to get the chance to see if his agency can better do better than the much maligned DHS.

A DTO spokeswoman would not answer questions about the looming takeover but replied with a statement.

"The Digital Transformation Office is responsible for digital service delivery across government," she said.

But government IT expert Matthew Sorell of the University of Adelaide who believes myGov is "not appalling", says that running myGov would be a chance for the DTO to prove itself.

"The big positive here is that if it is the DTO, they would have the imprimatur of policy and implementation and that's a really strong direction to take," the senor lecturer said.

"Because at the moment, the DTO's public statements about what they're on about are very wishy-washy.

"We're at a point now where a top-down policy approach is needed from a central organisation that has that authority."

A DHS spokesman did not answer questions about the future of myGov but indicated a change to the government's Administrative Arrangements Order, the instrument that formally assigns duties to public service departments, would be needed if the DTO were to take over myGov.

"The Digital Transformation Office is leading and co-ordinating the Government's digital transformation and will work with government agencies as they invest in the technology that will underpin digital services," the spokesman said.

"Under the existing (administrative order), as part of the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio, the DTO is responsible for whole-of-government service delivery policy.

"This includes the services provided by the department.

"The department and the DTO are working closely to deliver on the Government's commitment to transform government services, making them simpler, clearer and faster to use."

8 comments

Comments are now closed