Tender documents issued this morning have confirmed that the Australian government will push ahead with seeking to build a whole-of-government content management system based on the open source Drupal platform.
The Department of Finance has made an approach to market seeking request for proposals for ‘GovCMS’, which the RFP states will be based on Drupal and delivered via a public cloud service.
The documents state that research by the department identified a large number of government websites, the maintenance of which “consume significant resources from either the internal IT department, or through an external hosted arrangement”.
“Many websites also use commercially licensed software, which incur annual maintenance costs to keep up to date. The website survey, and interviews conducted through the feasibility study found that many small agencies do not have the resources to ensure that Commonwealth website standards around security accreditation and accessibility obligations are maintained.”
GovCMS “is envisaged as an important service offering for Australian Government agencies... GovCMS is intended to support more effective web channel delivery functions within Government, and enable agencies to redirect effort from non-core transactional activities, towards higher-value activities that are more aligned with core agency missions. The GovCMS feasibility study indicates that the Australian Government will be able to do this at a lower overall cost.”
The department in May first revealed plans to standardise on Drupal.
"The Government Content Management System (GovCMS) is envisaged as an important service offering for Australian Commonwealth Government agencies," the Australian government CTO, John Sheridan, wrote in a blog entry in May.
An analysis by the department found that between 182 and 450 websites could be transitioned to GovCMS over four years. The use of an open source solution means that Drupal modules could be shared between public sector agencies and the community, the draft states.
A transition to GovCMS will begin with Australia.gov.au and Finance.gov.au. The target go-live date is September this year.
Government has historically been one of Drupal's strongest markets, along with higher education.
In 2012 local developers unveiled 'aGov': A distribution of Drupal 7 designed specifically for use by Australian government agencies. PreviousNext's aGov is intended to make it quicker for agencies to build and deploy sites while complying with the government's mandatory Web requirements.
aGov has already been used to deliver the Web presence of a number of government agencies, including New South Wales' Service NSW.
More than 100 federal, state and territory government sites run the open source platform, according to Drupal.org.
Internationally, high-profile Drupal-based sites include Whitehouse.gov.