Annual Report 2016-17

Information and communications technology

The department's Technology Plan 2016-20 sets out the vision for departmental information and communications technology to provide government services through a trusted digital services platform. It supports the department's Corporate Plan 2017-18 and Digital Transformation Strategy, and the DTA goal of transforming services to be simple, clear and fast. The plan builds on the department's transformation so far, and represents a structure and improved planning to establish the department as a leading provider of government services.

To support community demand for 24/7 online access, the department maintains its ICT infrastructure to be available and to have sufficient capacity to meet recipient needs. This is important during the peak demand periods, such as the end of the financial year, calendar year and holiday processing periods. Complex data modelling indicates service demand profiles so that infrastructure capacity is increased in anticipation of demand peaks.

Service stability

In 2016-17 the department continued to maintain the stability of its core systems with the average number of Priority 1 incidents being 0.25 per month.

Priority 1 is applicable if a system, network, application or customer self-service capability is unavailable or severely degraded, there is no alternative available, and this impacts on the department and/or an organisation to whom the department provides key services to meet service level commitments to its customers or otherwise has a significant impact on a critical function.

Telstra contract

The department has consolidated telecommunications services through a managed telecommunications services contract with Telstra. This contract consolidated over 20 individual telecommunication contractual arrangements into a single managed services arrangement covering end-to-end voice and data services, voice carriage, contact centre services, video-conferencing services and mobile phone services.

Since the contract started in 2012, the department has seen greater efficiencies and productivity improvements for staff and significantly enhanced service delivery through:

  • a common communication platform using an internet protocol telephony solution
  • modernised solutions to meet the department's evolving requirements including a workload distribution capability
  • integrated systems for workforce management
  • call recording and quality monitoring
  • a simplified automated authentication process using voice biometrics.

ICT support for other government agencies

The department continued to provide ICT support to other Australian, state and territory government agencies, including:

  • internet gateway services to eight departments and agencies
  • data warehousing and business information services to several departments, primarily for DSS and the Department of Health. The services include collecting data from transaction processing systems and formatting, relating and storing that data in a data warehouse, and developing analytical and reporting products that use it
  • a range of information data exchange programs
  • online capability for:
    • users of the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House until December 2016
    • the Higher Education Contribution Scheme Reimbursement Scheme Program
    • business services supporting the Paid Parental Leave Scheme
  • ICT components and technical operational support, including:
    • components of the My Health record system
    • the National Authentication Service for Health which enables secure electronic communications across the health sector
    • authentication and digital services for users of myGov
    • the National Health Funding Administrator Payments System which supports all state and territory government health departments to provide payments to all public hospitals
    • ICT shared services provided to DVA, including end user computing, telephony and infrastructure.

The department supported the rollout of the NDIS by providing:

  • a full suite of ICT shared services to the NDIA, including end user computing, information management and corporate systems telephony, online channels and business systems
  • access to the department's contact centre staff to support general enquiries and participant and provider access to the NDIS, with over 250 departmental staff trained to undertake this work
  • other shared corporate services and property support, including fleet management and records management.

Provider Digital Access

Provider Digital Access is an online authentication system used to securely access online services including Health Professional Online Services and the NDIS provider portal.

Designed as a two-step verification process, the system requires a username, password and verification code to login. It is a portable solution that requires no additional hardware or software and is available to health professionals and their administrators. It provides flexibility for users to connect with specific government services, including those in regional and remote communities.

High definition video conferencing pilot

During the year the department continued an innovative pilot that explores and evaluates opportunities for video conferencing technologies. The trial offers face-to-face services through high definition video conferencing targeted to people who find it difficult to visit a service centre. The department has received positive feedback from those who have used the technology.

The department also commenced Auslan on-demand services using video conferencing technology to 'virtually' deliver an Auslan interpreter to service centres when the service is needed. The trial is also exploring technologies that can connect with people via their mobile devices and tablets.

Page last updated: 31 October 2017