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Prepared by the Department of Premier and Cabinet, July 2010.
Government 2.0 involves direct citizen engagement in conversations about government services and public policy through open access to public sector information and new Internet based technologies. It also encapsulates a way of working that is underpinned by collaboration, openness and engagement.
The application of the underlying principles and approaches of Web 2.0 are redefining how people communicate and are transforming the web into a platform of participation and co-production. This transformation extends to the public sector where Web 2.0 tools can deepen democratic processes through participation; support policy development through open consultation; and tailor the delivery of services to meet citizens' needs for personalisation and choice.
This Government 2.0 Action Plan provides the foundation for a whole of Victorian Public Service approach to Government 2.0. It recognises that new approaches, processes and technologies such as social media, wikis, and blogs can put the citizen at the centre in a more open and collaborative relationship with government. It also means a shift in how we work, with an increased emphasis on transparency and collaboration. There are already pockets of innovative Government 2.0 practice in the VPS, ranging from the use of Twitter to keep the public informed during emergencies through to using Facebook to bring together small business owners and prospective owners for networking and information sharing. The Victorian Government has also committed to open access to public sector information in its response to the 2009 Parliamentary Inquiry into Improving Access to Victorian Public Sector Information and Data. Opening up public sector data and information is a major opportunity to increase engagement with the community and realise a range of social and economic benefits.
The Government 2.0 Action Plan focuses on the following priority areas:
There are 14 initiatives under these four action areas, aimed at engaging and empowering citizens, making government more transparent and improving government capability. Our approach to implementation is think big, start small and scale fast.
In the spirit of collaboration and co-production, the Action Plan was developed through extensive consultation and an open wiki process. It sits alongside the VPS Innovation Action Plan and both Plans represent our commitment to developing a leading edge Victorian Public Service that delivers better outcomes for the Victorian community.
The Government 2.0 Action Plan will continue to develop as we harness the ideas and energy already evident in the Victorian Public Service.
Helen Silver, Secretary, Department of Premier and Cabinet
Jim Betts, Secretary, Department of Transport
Penny Armytage, Secretary, Department of Justice
Richard Bolt, Secretary, Department of Primary Industries
Yehudi Blacher, Secretary Department of Planning and Community Development
Peter Dawkins, Secretary, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
Gill Callister, Secretary, Department of Human Services
Bruce Hartnett, Chair, State Services Authority
Greg Wilson, Secretary, Department of Sustainability and Environment
Simon Overland, Chief Commissioner, Victoria Police
Grant Hehir, Secretary, Department of Treasury and Finance
Fran Thorn, Secretary, Department of Health
Howard Ronaldson, Secretary, Department of Industry, Innovation and Regional Development
The Government 2.0 Action Plan provides a systematic approach to the use of Web 2.0 applications and tools such as wikis, blogs, and social networking sites to engage with citizens, develop policy and deliver services.
Research has found that usage of social media and social networking sites has increased with 45% of Australians reporting regular use, up from 38% in 2008. This growth is across all age groups although there are differences in patterns and type of use between age groups. For example, older Australians are now responsible for expanding the reach of online social networking, indicating that Web 2.0 is not just a Gen Y phenomenon. There has also been a significant increase in use of the Internet to interact with government and a corresponding reduction in traditional methods of communication, such as by mail or in-person.
All of this points to social media becoming part of citizens' online activity. The Government 2.0 Action Plan seeks to leverage the opportunities of Web 2.0 in opening up government and providing stronger citizen engagement. At the same time, the Plan seeks to proactively manage risk and build capability.
The Action Plan focuses on four key areas:
1. Driving adoption in the VPS > Leadership
2. Engaging communities and citizens > Participation
3. Opening up government > Transparency
4. Building capability > Performance
Each action area has a suite of initiatives which are outlined overleaf.
1. Driving adoption in the VPS
1.1 Department leadership projects: each department to implement a Government 2.0 project by 30 June 2011.
1.2 Whole of government taskforce: establishment of a Taskforce to drive implementation and provide a forum for collaboration and sharing ideas and practice.
1.3 Privacy and records guidance: development of whole of Government privacy and records guidance.
1.4 Social media guidance: development of whole of Government guidance for public servants when interacting with social media.
2. Engaging communities and citizens
2.1 Have Your Say: whole of Government website to facilitate online discussion between citizens and government using the latest Web 2.0 tools.
2.2 Public Records 2.0: the creation of Web 2.0 spaces to allow community participation in accessing the State's public records.
2.3 Regulatory governance wiki: an online information repository to improve the operational performance of regulators.
2.4 Citizen centric services: involving the community in service delivery and policy development.
3. Opening up government
3.1 VPS Hack: an event where VPS developers, designers and people with ideas gather to build apps using Victorian public sector data.
3.2 data.vic.gov.au: Rollout of the beta directory site making Victorian public sector data available to the community for use and re-use.
3.3 Information Management Framework: development of an Information Management Framework with standards and measures for sharing data.
4. Building capability
4.1 Managing risk: resources to support managing the risks associated with social media.
4.2 Government 2.0 toolbox: development of resources and toolkits to support the uptake of Government 2.0 in the VPS.
4.3 Sharing ideas and best practice: seminars and workshops on using Web 2.0 tools and the development of good practice case studies.
Every VPS department will undertake at least one Government 2.0 project by 30 June 2011, aimed at opening up data, making operations more transparent or expanding opportunities for citizen engagement. Collectively, these projects will contribute to a more transparent, collaborative and participatory public service.
A whole of Government Taskforce will be established to advocate for and broker Gov 2.0 opportunities in the VPS. The group will be responsible for:
The Taskforce will comprise a representative from all departments, ensuring a whole of government perspective. The Taskforce will also provide a forum for testing ideas, sharing good practice and exchanging lessons learned.
Privacy protection is an important right to safeguard when using Web 2.0 technologies. The Department of Justice together with the Department of Premier and Cabinet will consult with the Office of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner to provide high level overarching guidance regarding the privacy issues raised by Government 2.0. Individual departments and agencies will devolve this guidance into their respective privacy policies procedures and privacy statements on websites.
The use of Web 2.0 technologies will also generate new types of electronic public records such as tweets, blogs and wikis which require specific technical standards for their management and keeping.
The standards set by the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) for the efficient management of public records will apply to electronic records created as a result of Government 2.0 initiatives and activities engaged in by government departments and agencies. PROV will provide formal policy guidance to confirm that the existing standards apply to Government 2.0 initiatives, including policy guidance on the types of records that may need to be created, who is responsible for creating them, and when and how they should be created. This policy advice will be embedded in the PROV Record Capture standard and associated specifications.
In using social media, Victorian public servants need to maintain the same high standards of conduct and ethical behaviour that are essential to the relationship between the public sector and the government, the public sector and the community, and between those who work in the public sector.
However social media has particular characteristics that need further consideration. This includes the amplifying nature of social media where information and views can be spread quickly and widely. Social media also demands real time engagement, so forms of authorisation that apply to traditional communications do not translate easily in their application where fast approval is required. Additionally, social media is more than just a tool for communication and engagement with the public. It can be used to develop and deliver policy. As such it can be used by both policy officers and communications officers alike in the performance of their duties.
The Public Sector Standards Commissioner will issue Guidance for Use of Social Media in the Victorian Public Sector. This guidance will be high level and principles based. Departments and agencies will review and amend their various policies to devolve these principles in their departments.
Understanding the practical application of Web 2.0 to the way government communicates was the impetus for the creation of a whole of Victorian Government New Media Group in mid 2008.
The Group was established to provide guidance to public servants on rapidly developing new media tools and practices and also provide a reference point for knowledge sharing across the VPS.
The New Media Group has helped to drive recognition at all levels of government about the role of Gov 2.0. The Group commissioned research in 2009 for a Digital Media Strategy and this research was instrumental in the development of the Government 2.0 Action Plan. It also resulted in a series of tools and templates, guidelines and check lists for new media participation. In doing so, the New Media Group has helped to stimulate Web 2.0 initiatives, encouraged the development of new skills and strengthened support for a Gov 2.0 culture of innovation within government agencies.
The New Media Group now has 100 members from across government and meets regularly to feature new developments and foster continuous learning and the sharing of practice. It remains open to new participants and is further aided by the creation of an online Community of Practice within VPS Hub, the whole of government intranet.
Have Your Say is a website that will promote online discussion between citizens and government and act as a forum for consultations about government programs and services. Using a suite of the latest Web 2.0 tools, Have Your Say will be available for all Victorian government departments and agencies to use and host blogs, forums and polls. The availability of one consultation entry point will improve access for citizens to participate and have their say.
Additionally, agencies will be supported through the Government 2.0 toolbox to use forums already active in the relevant policy areas and to develop ways to learn from, and engage with existing conversations. This will widen the mix and range of ideas and insights on issues and interests.
The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) will create Web-2.0 spaces for activities, material and projects to enable community participation in describing and accessing the State's records. This will be aligned to the particular needs of specific interest groups. PROV will also develop an online volunteer program to engage volunteers in online projects to improve access to the State's records.
Over the last decade there have been many Victorian and other Government inquiries and reports which have dealt with governance and operation of regulators. Identifying relevant reports, and the key issues they address, is time consuming and inhibits knowledge sharing including learning from past experience. A regulatory governance wiki will be created as an accessible online repository of publicly available information about improving the operational performance of regulators. The wiki will provide a collaborative platform for sharing knowledge and good practice about regulatory performance.
Departments across the VPS are making space for citizens within their traditional policy creation and service delivery models. The Department of Health is looking at the use of blogs and wikis to reach more citizens with crucial health information and, importantly, benefit from the collective experience and wisdom of all health services users. Similarly, the Department of Justice is seeking to harness the usability and personalisation of Web 2.0 to ensure that Victorians are ready to meet the summer bushfire season with the development of FireReady iPhone and Facebook applications.
These initiatives, and others like them, seek to create more targeted and effective government policy and services by directly including citizens.
DiVine is the first online community written by and for people with a disability in Australia. It sets new standards for accessibility and inclusion. DiVine aims to inform, engage and entertain people with a disability. It is a vibrant community that encourages participation and a sense of belonging.
DiVine was developed by the Office for Disability in the Department of Planning and Community Development after extensive consultation with people with a disability, who now represent 20 per cent of all Victorians. All articles on the DiVine website are written by people with a disability. Many contributions have come from the wider community. Visitors to the website can submit articles for possible publication, post comments or vote in online polls.
The extensive content across range of topics demonstrates a high level of community engagement. The site harnesses the existing skills and knowledge of the community to share with others, as well as directly and indirectly assisting individuals with a disability to reach their potential.
DiVine also serves as a communication channel for the Victorian Government to publicise key projects and initiatives of interest to people with a disability. It provides links to existing online resources that provide disability and health information, as well as government sites frequently used by people with a disability. DiVine uses technology to help achieve a more consultative, participatory and transparent government, encouraging discussion and feedback about government initiatives.
DiVine can be found at www.divine.vic.gov.au
The Better Health Channel (BHC), the most popular consumer health site in Australia, out performs its commercial rivals in a crowded online health market place. As Victoria's Department of Health (DH) consumer health site, BHC consistently leads in the ranks of most visited Victorian government websites with 14 million visits each year.
Building on BHC's trusted brand and strong presence, the e-services team at DH is investigating ways to develop BHC as a platform for Health 2.0. The development of a strong business and policy case has been undertaken centreing on supporting citizens to take an active role in managing their own and their family's health and wellbeing. A Health 2.0 enabled BHC has the potential to integrate health promotion into people's day to day lives as well as helping people live better with chronic illness. With the incidence of chronic disease on the rise, over the long term a Health 2.0 BHC has the potential to help people make more informed decisions about their own health.
The BHC Health 2.0 platform will be user centric and focused on individual user created content and a number of Web 2.0 applications for BHC are proposed to support citizens to establish and maintain healthy behaviours and lifestyles. These range from apps for mobile phones with reminders about medical appointments, to aggregating and pushing out health information on topics of an individual's choosing, to sharing health information privately within a family, to finding peer support groups, to asking a recognised expert via video streaming and blogging, to transparently sharing with citizens medicine and clinician guides that usually only doctors see. In time BHC can engage with citizens in developing health policy.
People are highly motivated about their own health and the health of their families. They are becoming more sophisticated and knowledgeable as consumers of health services. The demand for credible, independent health information from a trusted source is growing. The transformation of the BHC to Health 2.0 will be able to provide Victorian citizens with new and improved ways of managing their own health, as well as the health of the people they care for.
Better Health Channel can be found at www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au
Hack events are where developers, designers and people with ideas gather to develop web and mobile applications. Hack days recognise that many cutting edge ideas come from haopening up boundaries and working across portfolios and areas of specialisation. They are underpinned by a philosophy of openness, sharing of ideas and collaboration.
Following the success of the inaugural VPS Hack day in February 2010, the event will be held every six months, opening up public sector data to teams across the VPS and the local ICT industry to develop new applications and uses.
The beta site, data.vic.gov.au, was initially developed to support the Premier's App My State competition. It is the online access point for the Victorian public sector information where a variety of datasets in different formats are available for use and re-use. After its beta development and release, the data.vic.gov.au website will move to full roll out with departments providing an expanded range of current datasets.
If freely available, public sector information (PSI) can drive innovation and new services to citizens and business. Open access to PSI provides opportunities for the Victorian Government to increase its engagement with the community and to realise a range of social and economic benefits.
In responding to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Improving Access to Victorian Public Sector Information and Data, the Victorian Government has committed to improving access to PSI. The Victorian Government supports the release of PSI for re-use with the expectation it will lead to increased commercial activity, provide primary data to researchers in a wide range of disciplines, and increase the transparency of government in Victoria.
As well as a data directory such as data.vic.gov.au, making data publicly available also requires an Information Management Framework. The Victorian Government has committed to the development of a comprehensive Information Management Framework for sharing public sector information.
The development of this framework is being oversighted jointly by Departments of Premier and Cabinet, Treasury and Finance and Innovation, Industry and Regional Development. While the Information Management Framework will be essential to improving the quality and impact of information access, the framework will be developed in parallel to making as much public data open and accessible as quickly as possible.
Get some people who don't normally work together in a room, give them some data, allow them to collaborate and explore different ways of working and you've got the inaugural VPS Hack Day. The event was held in February 2010 to coincide with the launch of the Premier's App My State competition that made public sector information available to the public to build mobile and web applications of benefit to Victorians.
Usually web development in government follows the well-worn path of long and linear processes. In contrast, Hack Day got cut through in a few hours with six teams brainstorming ideas of how to mash up government data to benefit citizens. The quality of the ideas was so impressive the external judges were hard pressed to pick just one winner so jointly awarded the top prize to two teams, one runner up and an honourable mention.
VPS Hack Day showcased the creativity and agility of the VPS in developing ideas that can lead to excellent results. Here's a snapshot of what the teams devised: Community Heritage Listings Map: a mapping service to locate heritage listing buildings in Victoria (joint winner)
Your Victoria, Your Budget: an online postcode-searchable directory of government infrastructure (joint winner)
AudioWell: an online directory of government podcasts (runner up)
Carbon Net: An online service to match carbon emitters with carbon sinks and carbon emission savings tools (honourable mention)
Bloody Oath: an improved search system for legislation
Trancyle: a user rated planner for people combining public transport and bike riding
Government 2.0 and the application of Web 2.0 collaborative and open-source principles to the practices and processes of government requires a shift in mindset. It means moving from rigid, hierarchical and input oriented processes where the community is a spectator to a networked and collaborative approach with a focus on outcomes and the community as participant. This is fundamentally the value of Government 2.0 which offers significant opportunities to improve the quality and impact of policy, programs and services.
It also involves risks which need to be realistically managed, such as the inclusion of citizens as co-producers and government providing open access to data. The scale and speed of the technology also allows for greater interactions in real time and raises the potential for reputational and other business risk. However the adoption of previous on-line technologies and e-government initiatives demonstrates that the risks are manageable.
The Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA), the risk management advisor to the State of Victoria, will host a roundtable on Social Media – What's the Risk?, examining the risks for government in using social media. Following the roundtable, VMIA will prepare an occasional paper showcasing the themes and learnings from the roundtable and the outcomes will inform future work on risk management for social media.
A range of resources, toolkits and templates will be developed to support the uptake of Government 2.0 in the VPS. This includes a social media primer, risk management toolkit, sample business cases and strategies, and evaluation guides. A business case will be undertaken to examine the feasibility of developing a one stop social media portal with freely available apps including analytics, blogs, challenges, social networks and wikis.
Seminars and workshops will be held to bring together people with common interests to share information, build knowledge, develop expertise and share best practice. Case studies of Victorian initiatives will be developed and shared on platforms such as the Government 2.0 – Best Practices Wiki. Connections will be developed with other jurisdictions through platforms such as the Commonwealth's AGIMO blog and GovLoop, the Social Network for Government.
With nearly 7,000 staff, the Department of Justice has more than 50 business units and service agencies united in a common purpose of achieving a safe and just Victoria. The Justice portfolio is diverse and far reaching into the day to day lives of citizens. It spans tribunals and agencies to protect citizens' rights, emergency services, police and prosecution functions, the court system, prison and community corrections services, racing and gaming policy and legal advice to government.
With such broad ranging activities, it is no surprise that Justice is at the forefront in applying Gov 2.0 initiatives to engage with citizens, deliver services and develop policy. Cameras Cut Crashes, Enough (campaign to stop family violence) and Problem Gambling are to name a few.
Justice has supported its Gov 2.0 strategy by building and embedding internal capability into day to day practice. It has done this through implementing a suite of complementary initiatives, including:
Through its initiatives and its internal capacity building, Justice is making Gov 2.0 happen.
The Department of Premier and Cabinet will be responsible for coordinating the implementation of the Action Plan and will work closely with departments and practitioners in the roll-out of the initiatives. The whole of Government Implementation Taskforce will oversee the implementation of the Plan and monitor its progress. Regular progress reports will be provided to the State Coordination and Management Council.
The implementation timeframe over the next two years is as follows:
|Action||Initiative||Year 1 (2010/11)||Year 2 (2011/2012)|
|Driving adoption in the VPS||Department leadership projects||
|Whole of Government Taskforce||
|Privacy and records guidance||
|Social media guidance||
|Engaging communities and citizens||Have Your Say||
|Public Records 2.0||
|Citizen Centric Services||ongoing||ongoing|
|Opening up government||VPS Hack||
|Information Management Framework||
|Building capability||Managing risk||
|Government 2.0 Toolbox||
|Sharing ideas and best practice||
Just as implementation of Government 2.0 initiatives in the VPS will be an iterative process, so too will be the approach to performance measurement. A performance measurement framework will be developed that is both flexible and diverse so that it can respond to lessons learned from the implementation of initiatives over time as well as cater for the wide array of initiatives and emerging technologies.
The development of the framework will use a Government 2.0 approach and crowd source ideas and suggestions from within the Victorian Public Service as well as opening up the discussion to external contributors. This will also include identifying approaches to evaluation.
The framework will link to the key values of Leadership, Participation, Transparency and Performance and will include both lead and lag indictors. It will also consider a matrix of factors such as:
A range of Government 2.0 applications are in use in the VPS. Here are some examples.
Blog: a website with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video, displayed in reverse-chronological order (most recent first). Readers are typically free to comment on the content of the blog, known as 'posts', and often subscribe to blogs via an RSS feed (see below). Crowd-sourcing: taking the tasks commonly conducted by a certain group (government, business etc) and outsourcing them to a group of people or community through an open call for contributions. Web 2.0 communications technologies can be used to leverage the efforts and ideas of large masses of potential collaborators.
Data mashup: the combination of data from two or more previously unconnected data sources to provide new context and meaning to the information. An example of data mashing would be combining crime statistics with maps to visually depict incidences of crime across geographical areas.
Facebook: a global social networking website in which users create profiles and exchange text, images and links with friends, family and community members. Users can join networks based on location, workplace or educational facility and can join 'groups' on particular themes of interest, coordinate events and maintain a profile of themselves.
Flickr: an image and video hosting website and online community. The site allows for posting of images and video, as well as user comment on that content. The site is used by many bloggers and twitter users to store images which are then embedded or linked to in their posts.
RSS: a method of publication of frequently updated online content, such as blog entries or news headlines. An RSS feed typically includes full or summarised text as well as metadata such as publishing dates and authorship. RSS feeds are read using aggregators, such as Google Reader and browser-inbuilt RSS readers.
Twitter: a free social networking and micro-communications site that facilitates the online publication of text messages up to 140 characters in length. Updates, known as 'tweets', are delivered to a user's 'followers' in real time. Twitter is used by individuals such as political commentator, Laurie Oakes, and organisations such as The New York Times.
Yammer: a simple real-time communication tool for use within organisations, enabling employees to connect and share at work. Only individuals with the same email domain (eg .vic.gov.au) can join a given network.
YouTube: a video sharing website where users can upload, view and comment on videos free of charge.
Wiki: a website (or collection of linked websites) that is freely contributed to, altered and edited by a number of users. Wikipedia is an example of a large-scale application of the Wiki principle.
Viral: something is virally spread on the internet, or 'goes viral', if it is spread widely across online media sources through posting and reposting by ordinary people, as opposed to a direct and continued effort by the information source. Many private corporations utilise this online form of word-of-mouth to advertise their products through viral marketing.
Advisory Group on Reform of Australian Government Administration, Ahead of the Game, Blueprint for Reform of the Australian Government Administration (March 2010).
Kernaghan, K, "Moving towards integrated public governance: improving service delivery through community engagement", International Review of Administrative Sciences, 2009; 75; pp 239 – 253
Neilsen Online, Consumer Generated Media Report: Separating Hype From Reality, First Edition, January 2008, p.89
Neilsen, The Australian Internet & Technology Report, Edition 12, February 2010 - in pdf format (107kb). (This document requires the use of Adobe Acrobat Reader). .
Neilsen, Social Media Report, Wave 3, 2009-2010, Separating Hype From Reality, February 2010 - in pdf format (88kb). (This document requires the use of Adobe Acrobat Reader). .
New Zealand Government, NZ Government Open Access Licensing Framework.
Sensis 2009 e-Business Report, Sweeney Research, August 2009 - in pdf format (309kb). (This document requires the use of Adobe Acrobat Reader). .
Victorian Government (February 2010), Whole of Victorian Government Response to the Final Report of the Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee's Inquiry into Improving Access to Victorian Public Sector Information and Data.
If you would like to receive this publication in an accessible format other than html, such as large print or audio, please telephone 61 3 9651 5814 (TTY).
The Department of Premier and Cabinet, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne, 3002.
The Victorian Government 2.0 action plan is also available in pdf format (487kb). (This document requires the use of Adobe Acrobat Reader). .
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