Yes, the project or initiative has been established for more than 2 years.
Code for Australia
Team - who worked on the project/initaitve
Code for Australia is a team of creative, passionate, values-driven and optimistic people that are helping government do things differently.
Our work is based on the belief that the problems we face cannot be solved unless a greater number and diversity of people become involved in civic life and have input into critical community issues. The current situation - where few participate and public institutions don't reflect the interests or demographics of the people they serve - is a dead end.
Reinventing government for the 21st Century can only happen if new ideas and priorities can gain a purchase in the public sector, and that won't happen without broadening the spectrum of people who have a hand in shaping public life.
To see our team, go here: http://www.codeforaustralia.org/team
Overview - Provide a summary to introduce the project or initiative
The Sunlight Foundation has estimated that 94% of governemnt IT projects over $10 million fail. These affect people that have a lot more at stake than what the average citizen.
Our work at Code for Australia is based on the belief that the problems government faces cannot be solved unless a greater number and diversity of people become involved in civic life and have input into critical community issues. As such we open new opportunities for people outside and inside government to create change on how we address public issues.
In the last 3 years of operation we have re-designed services that allow people to go through legal proceedings online, find legal support that suits them and connect them with Australia's biodiversity; saving millions of dollars, time and most importantly, creating a notion that people can have meaningful contributions to the public sphere.
Detail the actions implemented as part of the project or initative.
The Fellowship Program has been in operation since January 2015. We have success stories with a range of state and local government agencies across Australia, including the Victorian Department of Justice.
At Victoria Legal Aid we built a legal aid checker for people to find legal assistance online. Whilst the financial savings we are creating get all the attention, the tool has enabled staff to spend more time with clients which are predominantly female.
At the Department of Justice, our fellows discovered that over 60 percent of people attending court due to a minor offense, are planning to, and plead guilty. So they built an online platform to enable people to do this for the Victorian Department of Justice.
Detail the approach that was taken to implement the project or initative.
The Fellowship program has showed what’s possible: we create interfaces to government that were simple, beautiful, and easy to use, and do this dramatically faster and cheaper than traditional channels. Showing what was possible changed the conversation, set a new bar, and creates appetite for change in government.
Our approach is to work “in the open”. Everything we built was (and still is) open source. Sharing, collaboration, and reuse of our code is encouraged at every step of our process. Transparency also increased accountability, which has long been missing in the public sector.
Lastly, the Fellowship program has helped build and connect government to a wider ecosystem of civic technology. We operate as a global community, leveraging each other’s knowledge and resources. The Code for All network (which Code for Australia sit under) is comprised of 16 countries, who have collectively developed over 100 solutions for governments the world over.
Was there organisational/industry or other resistance to the initiative? If so, detail the actions taken to overcome resistance to the project or initiative.
Not getting access to users.
To build new tools that service people better, we need access to the users. As such, we only work with departments and agencies that support us accessing users and the organisations that work with them.
Difficulty encouraging uptake of new technology.
Because we ‘build with users’, our technology has a much higher uptake percentage than traditional government technology.
Developing something that is scalable and durable.
Through multiple iterations of designing, building and testing digital products at various levels of resolution means that the solutions are launched as early as possible. This includes identifying ways to scale and make the technologies sustainable post the program.
Detail the follow up or response to the project or initative by the organisation /industry /sector. For example has it been extended for a further year, or has the scope been expanded?
On the back of the success from a serries of Fellowships run across Victorian government, Code for Australia has just secured funding from the Public Sector Innovation Fund for another round of the program.
Code for Victoria II — Women in Tech will be embedding nine talented female designers, programmers and user-experience experts into a government agency or department for six months. We’re again challenging not only ourselves, but our government partners, corporate friends and the wider civic tech community to come together to solve some of Victoria’s most pressing issues. And we’re not stopping there.
Our work is based on the belief that the problems we face cannot be solved unless a greater number and diversity of people become involved in civic life. The current situation — where few participate and public institutions don’t reflect the interests or demographics of the people they serve — is a dead end. Change can only happen when all of us, regardless of where we come from, come together.
Currently, only 20% of Australia’s digital technology workforce is made up by women and nearly a third of female digital technology workers leave the sector within 10–15 years. To us these figures represent countless missed opportunities to create technology that is representative of all of its user’s needs. It’s a missed opportunity in showing women that their voices are valid, important and needed in the world of technology. Most of all, it’s a missed opportunity in creating role models for young girls to look up to.
Please provide 2 references being the beneficiaries or people that experienced the change (as a result of the initiative). Details to be provided should include:
4. Phone number
6. Short description (up to 250 words) of association with the nominated diversity initiative eg as a beneficiary, experiencing the outcome, etc.
Name: Sam Hannah-Rankin
Organisation: Department of Premier and Cabinet Victoria
Phone: 03 9651 5279
Role: Director Public Sector Innovation
Association: Sam Hannah-Rakin run the Public Sector Innovation Fund that is established to bring different ways of thinking into the public sector.
Name: Koi CaoLam
Organisation: Victorian Legal Aid
Phone: 1300 792 387
Role: Manager Client Access
Association: Khoi was our project manager for the VLA Fellowship program.
What outcomes have been achieved against overall program or organisational performance? Using metrics specify these outcomes, for example financial, growth, policy achievement, performance or capabciltiy uplift?
Capability: government employees tend to have different skill sets to their private sector counterparts, as their roles may demand less flexibility and provide fewer opportunities for exposure to new trends and technologies. Most technology roles are also dominated by Anglo-Saxon males.
Technology: open-source technologies are not being adopted at the same pace as they are in the private sector.
Procurement: large procurement processes often keep small, agile organisations from partnering with government.
Finances: funding for small projects that can demonstrate quick wins for governments are rarely experienced in government.
Capacity: people with advanced technological skills (design, data analytics, visualisation, rapid prototyping) are not being attracted to work in government.
Capability: The teams’ engagement with the community and across each government agency strengthened public sector employees’ understanding of and familiarity with a range of contemporary tools and technologies. It demonstrated the power and value of user-centered design and agile methodologies. We're also demostrating technology companies and government departments can have at least 50 50 gender diversity.
Technology: All code created was open source making it scalable and replicable by any who wish to use it.
Procurement and Finances: Because of Code for Australia’s track record working with government, we were able to secure funding for three teams under Code for Victoria, which essentially were three projects in their own right.
Capacity: Two of the three teams (DELWP and VLA) were extended beyond the original 6-month duration, through funding from the host department / agency.
VLA developed two tools, an SMS reminder which reduced missed appointments on average which decreased the admin time spent texting clients by about 80%, and an online checker tool which is estimated to save the Legal Aid Team 30 hours per week.
DELWP developed an app to help collect biodiversity data, which created a 178% improvement in time taken to collect data, compared to the previous process.
DTF created a dashboard which captures and easily communicates data from almost 80 construction contract records.