Innovation on a national scale - Australian Government and Drupal

Submitted by davidseth on Sun, 29/Mar/2015 - 23:51

Innovation on a national scale - Australian Government and Drupal


Today the Australian Government officially announced the govCMS program.

govCMS is a whole of gov re-think about online, agile, accessibility, procurement, security, support and open source.

Not just code.

What is govCMS?

govCMS is an open source web content management system hosted on the public cloud. Using govCMS, agencies are able to create and manage unclassified websites cost effectively, in compliance with Australian Government standards. It comes with a range of included services such as support, monitoring and security patching, aimed at ensuring that government websites remain online and available to the public.

govCMS is intended to support more effective web channel delivery functions within government, and enable agencies to redirect effort from non-core activities to activities that are more aligned with core agency missions.

Text from the govCMS site

Leading the way

This is a world leading project, nowhere else is a government so open to doing things in such a collaborative manner. My role has been to advise and help lay the groundwork for this program as the initial lead architect with Acquia. This entailed architecture decisions regarding Drupal, common data formats, use cases and most significantly, the security decisions and direction that needed to be in place to ensure that the govCMS platform was fully secured by default.

Security and cloud were of top importance to the govCMS team due to the very nature of government sites along with the fact that this was a very high profile project that would put Open Source and the Cloud into the mainstream. Any problems that might occur (no matter the cause) could cast a doubt on both Drupal and Open Source.

Collaboration within government

Along with a common Open Source Drupal platform to build on, the program is also about collaboration amongst government agencies. Traditionally this is an area that has not gone well which leads to massive waste of time and money. Re-inventing the wheel is very common. Lack of collaboration also means that skills learned in one agency are quickly thrown out in another.

govCMS aims to change all that by creating a community around a centralised project -- Drupal. Now skills can be built up over time and as an individual moves from agency to agency, her skills are built up and become more valuable.

Open by default

Government and Open are traditionally two words not used together. The govCMS program is changing that by keeping the entire process from issue requests, bug reports, entire platforms and testing methods all in the public domain. Everything is available. The learnings from years of work from many talented people are all written in documention, issues and importantly, code.

This is proven out by the fact that all the code and testing frameworks are on github. An individual or agency can download the code, kick the tyres and get an understanding of what value govCMS and Drupal brings.

The future

I am excited by what is happening in Australia. We are building on many success from other governments and Open Source and mixing it with "all the right thing" to come up with framework that is a model for other governments to adopt.

What do you think?

What are your thoughts on Drupal, Open Source and government? I would love to hear your opinion or get some feedback so please add a comment or drop me a line on Twitter: @davidseth.

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