Revealed: winners of Australia’s public sector innovation awards

By on 01/08/2016
The awards are run by the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) ACT division and the Public Sector Innovation Network (PSIN).

A shared content management system for government agencies has been among winners of Australia’s new public sector innovation awards.

The service titled ‘govCMS’ which has so far been bought by 36 agencies operating 73 live websites, won the Contributing to a culture or practice of innovation category in the awards run by the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) ACT division and the Public Sector Innovation Network (PSIN).

Run by the Department of Finance, govCMS offers an end-to-end service for Australian government websites including everything from design to implementation and hosting with the aim of enabling organisations to create modern, secure and user-friendly websites.

There are two govCMS options available: Software as a Service (SaaS), which removes the burden of managing your own software, licensing and infrastructure; or Platform as a Service (PaaS) – a self-managed offering in a dedicated cloud environment offering customers high level customisation freedom but requiring more internal expertise.

GovCMS is built on Drupal Open Source Software, meaning any new functionality developed for one agency can be shared across all govCMS websites.

All govCMS changes go through a certification process and websites are proactively tested and maintained to meet government standards and fend off threats to agency websites.

GovCMS tweeted on Friday: “thrilled to win at the #ipaaawards last night. Shout out to all #govCMS agencies involved.”

The judges said the project “delivered genuine results for little financial outlay in a short time” and described it as “innovation by influence.”

govCMS awards photo

‘govCMS’ won the ‘Contributing to a culture or practice of innovation’ award category

The awards, which were launched this year, had 83 nominations from across the Australian public service in four categories.

Winner of the innovative solutions category was the Department of Defence’s Redwing programme which involves the design and production of a low-cost counter improvised explosive device (IED) device that jams radio signals which can set off IEDs.

Judges said the project “offered commercial impact in defence and internationally, with the innovation able to be applied to other defence projects, ensuring a multiplier effect beyond the already significant cost savings.”

Acting secretary Brendan Sargeant said: “The Redwing programme saves lives.

“It offers a suite of practical counter IED devices that operate in austere environments.

“The rapid development of Redwing shows how Defence is innovative and working with industry to respond quickly to user driven need.”

Chief defence scientist Dr Alex Zelinksy described the programme as a “fine example of innovation with Defence and industry working together to deliver an operational capability for the national good.”

Under the programme, two robust, light-weight systems were developed – a handheld version called Greengum for use by dismounted troops, and a more powerful system called Greygum for fitting to light vehicles.

Greengum and Greygum systems were developed by the Defence Science and Technology Group, sponsored by Defence’s Counter-IED Task Force and manufactured by Australian industry under project coordination by the Australian Military Sales Office.

Zelinsky added that “to date Australia has supplied 100,000 units of the Redwing equipment to the Afghanistan National Security Forces, with a further 50,000 systems on order, to meet their security needs.”

Funding for these systems has been sourced from Australia’s annual contributions to the Afghan National Army Trust Fund, coordinated through Defence’s International Policy Division.

Redwing Aus Award-min

The Department of Defence’s Redwing programme won the ‘innovative solutions’ category

The award for engaging with the edge went to Geoscience Australia – Australia’s national geological survey – for its Mineral Potential Mapper, a computer-based system that maps Australia’s potential for a range of new mineral resources.

The mapper will assist with decision-making regarding mineral exploration, particularly in greenfield regions.

The judges considered this is a “new and well-articulated approach to applying data analytics with demonstrable economic benefit.”

Geoscience Australia Award-min

Geoscience Australia won the ‘engaging with the edge’ award

The trophy for the fourth category for digital transformation went to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) – the country’s regulator for the charitable sector, which created the so-called Charity Portal.

The portal is a digital by default service where people involved in the running of charities can access and update a charity’s details immediately on the ACNC register; submit their Annual Information Statement onto the Register; and print a copy of their charity’s registration certificate.

The judges said that “the success of this initiative was demonstrated with broad based buy-in and an innovative approach to engagement with older Australians who dominate the charitable sector.”

Charity Portal Australia Awards-min

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), which created the so-called Charity Portal, won the ‘digital transformation’ award

Winners of the awards were announced by Greg Hunt, minister for industry, innovation and science, during a special ceremony on Wednesday.

For up to date government news and international best practice follow us on Twitter @globegov

See also:

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New Australian government website focused on user needs could go live by end of year

Paul Shetler, chief executive, Digital Transformation Office, government of Australia: Exclusive interview

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About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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