This is an initiative led by the not-for-profit Code for Australia (http://www.codeforaustralia.org/team/) and the Public Sector Innovation Fund team at the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet.
It embeds technologists into selected government departments or agencies to work with their staff on public sector challenges.
Code for Victoria is an initiative to accelerate innovation in the Victorian Public Sector by embedding Code for Australia fellows into selected government departments or agencies to work with their staff on identified public sector challenges. The initiative creates opportunities for ordinary citizens to use their skills to improve outcomes for Victorians and transform government from the inside out.
Public sector employees lack understanding of and familiarity with the range of tools and technologies that are available in the private sector. The absence of new tools and approaches has led government agencies to favour large procurement projects that avoid agile projects and build on public sector employees’ capabilities.
The first round of the program delivered new tools and technologies to Victoria Legal Aid, Parks Victoria, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and the Department of Treasury and Finance.
The Code for Victoria program began with an invitation for Victorian Government departments and agencies to nominate their technology-based challenges for the chance to win a team of three fellows. Three projects were selected based on alignment to government priorities and fellowship capabilities. Code for Australia then embedded teams of technologists (including designers, programmers and/or user experience experts) into the selected departments or agencies for a period of six months. During this time the teams worked with departmental staff to investigate their identified challenge and to design and implement technology solutions.
Day-to-day administration of the program resided with Code for Australia’s Program Manager, closely monitored by DPC. Other Code for Australia staff interacted with government agencies periodically around program implementation. There were monthly meetings including representatives from the selected government agencies, DPC and Code for Australia.
There were challenges associated with introducing and adapting to different, more iterative ways of working within
a bureaucratic context, and the limited technical infrastructure within host departments/agencies. The project allowed for a discovery period of about four weeks when the fellows gathered and synthesised enormous amounts of user feedback. This enabled fellows to discover how things worked for themselves, approach every process without assumptions, and objectively assess where improvements could be made. Unencumbered by the standard IT operating environment and working with cloud based tools, the fellows were able to quickly produce prototypes and mockups of their work, which served as a baseline to gather feedback and improve upon.
In March 2017 the Special Minister of State announced a new round of Code for Victoria for women in technology. This round will embed female Code for Australia fellows into three selected government departments or agencies.
Talented female designers, programmers and user-experience experts will work in government from June - December 2017 to showcase their skills while helping find new ways to improve government services.
The program will also help to break down barriers in the tech sector by boosting female participation.
Victoria Legal Aid
(03) 9269 0272
Manager - Client Access
Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) was one of the three agencies chosen by Special Minister of State, Gavin Jennings to win a team of three technologists for six months as part of the first round of Code for Victoria. Over 26 weeks the team worked to find better ways to match people with the right legal aid service across Victoria. The project not only succeeded in creating multiple tools that improved the efficiency and consistency of the VLA experience for clients, but also exposed the organisation to new ways of learning, created an appreciation for the value of service design and reframed their thinking around problem solving.
Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning
03 9637 8749
Senior Biodiversity Curator
The Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning was one of the three agencies chosen by Special Minister of State, Gavin Jennings to win a team of three technologists for six months as part of the first round of Code for Victoria. Parks Victoria was also invited to participate in the project as a primary user. Over 26 weeks the team worked to find better ways to engage citizen scientists in the collection of biodiversity data across Victoria. The project not only succeeded in creating a prototype that makes it easy (and significantly quicker) for citizen scientists to contribute to the database, but also exposed the department to new ways of learning, reinvigorated energy in the sector and reframed their thinking.
The first round of the Code for Victoria program built internal capability by providing a vehicle for public sector employees to gain new skills and experience new ways of working. The second round of the program will increase workplace diversity and showcase the contribution of women in technology by embedding all-female teams of technologists with three new hosts.