Federal government's Drupal-based Web platform goes live

govCMS exits beta

The gates to the federal government's cloud-hosted content-management system, govCMS, have been thrown open.

Acquia, which hosts the platform, and the Department of Finance announced today that govCMS has officially gone live.

The contract is worth up to $24 million over four years to Acquia, depending on how many agencies shift to the platform.

govCMS is based on the open source Drupal Web platform.

As part of an early adopter program, a number of federal government agencies have already begun migrating to the platform, which from today will also be open to local and state government entities.

Along with the Department of Finance, early adopters included the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, the Department of Communications, and the Department of Social Services.

Australia.gov.au was the first site to go live on the new CMS, followed by Finance.gov.au.

govCMS is available an as-a-service option for agencies. Migration to the platform is not mandatory.

govCMS hosting starts at $10,500.

Read more: In brief: Government boosts cloud services panel

The Australian government chief technology officer, John Sheridan, said in a presentation last year that the platform would offer cost-effective Web content management for agencies, particularly those with a large number of brochure-style websites.

"Today’s release opens a new era of open government focused on meeting the needs of Australians," Acquia's director for Asia Pacific and Japan, Chris Harrop, said in a statement.

In a blog entry published today, Sheridan wrote that feedback from agencies that joined the early adopter program has been "very positive".

"[B]y developing our departmental website in govCMS we are gaining the benefits of a cloud hosting solution and we will be able to share new modules designed to enhance policy consultation and engagement, with other members of the govCMS community," the blog entry quoted Drew Clarke, secretary of the Department of Communications, as saying

"It supports our aim as an organisation to be a digital leader in government," Clarke said.

The government approached the market in mid-2014 with a request for proposals for govCMS.

An analysis by the Department of Finance 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, a government report released in May 2014 stated.

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