Crikey has learned that Department of Finance employees in the ICT Procurement and Strategic Sourcing branch were informed yesterday that they would be moved into the Digital Transformation Agency from May 1. Finance tells Crikey this is phase 2 of the Administrative Arrangements Order from October last year, which will result in DTA taking over responsibility for procurement from Finance.

DTA’s acting CEO Nerida O’Loughlin told a Senate committee this week that 34 staff had moved from Finance to DTA in phase 1, and up to another 14 may be moved as part of phase 2. Part of the reason for the delay in the transition was to ensure that negotiations over IT contracts weren’t interrupted. This change means that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s pet project will eventually be almost indistinguishable from its predecessor, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), apart from sitting in Prime Minister and Cabinet. It raises questions as to what the point of it all was in the first place. O’Loughlin told the committee that one of the agency’s biggest initial projects lauded by Turnbull — a single government website — was dropped because other departments weren’t keen on it:

“We found that that there was not a strong enthusiasm from departments for a single website which did not cover transactions — it covered information but not necessarily transactions — and agencies were very keen to focus their investments in time and energy in improving transactional websites rather than information websites.”

Peter Fray

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