Top ten most influential of 2010: Gov 2.0

2010 is the year when Government 2.0 began to be delivered on making it a Top 10 influential contender

Each Friday until the end of the year, Computerworld Australia is revealing one of the top ten most influential people, technologies and trends that shaped 2010 in Australia. The top ten was collated and determined by our editorial team and advisory panel of IT managers, industry experts, consultants and analysts. The list so far:

(See how we chose the top ten)

A Readers’ Choice poll is also open to determine what our readers think should be included, and what shouldn’t.

Coming in at number seven for Computerworld Australia's top ten most influential of 2010: Gov 2.0.

Gov 2.0

Government 2.0 — the use of Web 2.0 tools such as as blogs, Twitter and social networking - to encourage greater citizen participation and promote more transparency in agency decision-making and administration — has arguably come a long way since the Gov 2.0 Taskforce handed in its recommendations in December.

2010 has seen the initiative move from a niche discussion area within some government circles to a real, tangible phenomenon, in no small part due to the Federal Government agreeing to implement 12 of the 13 recommendations laid-out in the Government 2.0 Taskforce report.

Gov 2.0 rests on three pillars: 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; and Open access to public sector information. The year of 2010 saw major advancements in at least two of these areas.

On the Web 2.0 front, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has arguably made the largest steps forward in opening up the processes of government via its promotion of the govspace.gov.au domain and its own AGIMO Gov 2.0 blog

With the site the agency has opened up on the process of procurement, transitioning to IPv6, accessibility, public sector collaboration and practical side of Gov 2.0, such as intellectual property principles.

Open access to public sector information has also advanced, with news this month that FoI requests to the Federal Government could soon be streamlined when Gov 2.0 lead agency, AHIMO, releases the final version of its dataset repository in December

Crucially, Gov 2.0 has not been confined to federal politics, but has expanded out into the states, notably with NSW’s apps4NSW competition and Victoria’s App My State competition aimed at fostering application development based on public data sets.

The issue of leadership, policy and governance to achieve necessary shifts in public sector culture and practice has been the major stumbling block to Gov 2.0 in 2010 and has attracted its share of criticism.

This month, AGIMO's assistant secretary of the online services branch, Peter Alexander , argued that while Gov 2.0 was progressing, cultural change remained the biggest barrier to its widespread adoption.

“We are in the early days of building a new culture and changing the [current] culture, but [Gov 2.0] is exponentially accelerating as each time an agency sees a good practice within another agency their confidence builds and builds,” he said.

In August, the former head of the Government 2.0 Taskforce, Dr Nicholas Gruen, also hinted at cultural issues and was critical of the Opposition and minor parties’ lack of Web 2.0 technologies usage to shift the political debate.

“Parties are full of people that want to control messages and they have to be because the media won't accept anything except messages that aren't controlled,” Dr Gruen said.

“The opposition are always starved for good news, the media dynamics are such the only coverage they get for criticising.”

Labor Senator and Gov 2.0 crusader, Kate Lundy, has also tirelessly pushed the need for a cultural transformation within Federal Government departments as a requisite step in the move to Gov 2.0.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will government suddenly change decades-old processes and cultures in a year, but 2010 should go down in history as the year when Gov 2.0 made some serious advances, and when it became a top 10 influential issue. (Do you agree with the data growth ranking in Computerworld’s top ten most influential? Let us know below or vote in the Readers' Choice award to have your say.)

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