Gov 2.0 way forward report put in kinder language

Final report submitted to the Federal Government by the 2.0 Taskforce with toned down language
Government 2.0 Taskforce chair, Dr Nicholas Gruen

Government 2.0 Taskforce chair, Dr Nicholas Gruen

The Government 2.0 Taskforce has handed in its final report into its use of Web 2.0 technologies to the Federal Government.

In early December the Taskforce released a draft version for comment, which noted Federal Government agencies "must do better" to achieve the Government 2.0 goals and said agencies have not pursued "Government 2.0 in a co-ordinated way that reflects a whole of government position".

"The Taskforce recommends some important policy improvements that need to be made," it read. "However the greatest barrier to Government 2.0 is cultural. Leadership on the issue of more open disclosure and engagement is the key driver of cultural change."

The report retains the same 13 recommendations (see the report for the full list) but has been slimmed down from 11 chapters to 7. While it is noticeably easier to read and many of the same sentiments expressed above are retained, it has also toned down the language used in many sections.

For example, instead of the above quotes that began the Executive Summary of the draft report, the final report executive summary has no mention of needing to “do better”. While it continues to make important recommendations it avoids overtly critical language.

It is not until well down the summary that we get passages like the following: “For Australia to achieve the aspirations outlined in our terms of reference, it will require stronger, more co-ordinated governance; policy improvements and a renewed public service culture of openness and engagement. It is essential to find ways that government can adapt to the new paradigm of open and transparent government,” the report reads.

“Government 2.0 needs concerted leadership to drive the necessary reforms and bring about the shifts of culture and practice required across the whole of government.”

The Taskforce has also set out three pillars necessary for the Gov 2.0 agenda:

  • Leadership, policy and governance to achieve necessary shifts in public sector culture and practice
  • The application of Web 2.0 collaborative tools and practices to the business of government.
  • Open access to public sector information (PSI)

In a statement, Minister for Finance and Deregulation Lindsay Tanner acknowledged the work done by the Taskforce.

“We know that significant potential exists for governments to use web 2.0 technologies to deliver effective services, efficient public administration and meaningful community engagement,” he said.

“This report provides thirteen recommendations on how the Australian Government can do exactly that.”

The full final report can be downloaded from the Department of Finance and Deregulation website and the draft report can be found on the Taskforce website.

And comments from chair of the Taskforce Dr Nicholas Gruen on the final report and its changes can be seen on the Gov 2.0 website.

The government is now considering the recommendations but a time line for its response was not provided.

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