Digital Transformation Office chief executive Paul Shetler wants better design and delivery in online services. Photo: Christopher PearceMore public service news

Public servants feel under-equipped to meet the challenge of the digital reforms about to sweep through the bureaucracy, according to the n Public Service Commission’s State of the Service report.

About a third of staff said they had not received training, while 28 per cent were learning on an ad-hoc basis as they did their job.

A quarter already had the skills needed for their job and 15 per cent were receiving formal digital skills training.

Digital Transformation Office chief executive Paul Shetler, whose agency will help agencies make digital reforms, said the survey identified a clear gap in capability.

The results showed only parts of some agencies were digitally capable while others had not developed capability.

“The need for comprehensive digital planning across the APS and the need to ensure digital strategies are integrated with broader agency strategic planning,” Mr Shetler said.

“What’s been lacking until recently has been a clear mandate for the way forward, a road map for the steps to take, and strong government support for the – sometimes small, sometimes radical – changes that need to be made.”

He said his office would play a major role in providing the road map.

Agencies have been working on “digital transformation plans” and putting together project teams to change the way they dealt with the public online.

“We’ll be working to increase our digital knowledge and capabilities right across the service,” Mr Shetler said.

“Digital transformation doesn’t need to be huge and overwhelming.

“Yes, some of us are dealing with services that cost millions of dollars and affect huge numbers of people.

“But we don’t need to change the world overnight.”

The survey found nearly two-thirds of federal public servants used their agency’s suite of digital technologies for carrying out tasks and interacting with colleagues.

Eighty-three percent believed digital technologies gave them greater access to information.

You’ll often hear me say, think big, start small. Part of our approach is picking out small parts of those large, complex services; getting an improved basic version out very quickly; then making incremental changes that can be tested, improved and gradually scaled-up.