Part 4Report on activities

Information Services Division


DPS is the primary provider and broker of ICT services for Parliament. DPS manages the ICT infrastructure, support and delivery of a range of information, telecommunication and broadcasting services inside Parliament House, to parliamentarians’ electorate offices, to Commonwealth Parliament Offices, to the public and to users of the Parliament of Australia website.

A new Chief Information Officer was appointed to DPS in November 2017, who will lead the Information Services Division to develop and implement an Australian Parliament Digital Strategy 2019–22 (the digital strategy). The digital strategy will replace the current Parliament of Australia ICT Strategic Plan 2013–18.

The existing ICT strategy has delivered service improvements across the areas of infrastructure, major projects, service delivery, architecture, security, Hansard and broadcasting.

The digital strategy will build on these strengths, providing a vision of what a ‘digital parliament’ will look like and how it will be achieved. The Information Services Division will work in partnership with the whole-of-government direction and broker the integration of appropriate new ICT services as they are made available by industry.

Divisional highlights

ICT Planning and Applications Branch

The ICT Planning and Applications Branch is primarily responsible for the delivery of strategic ICT capability as outlined in the Parliament of Australia ICT Strategic Plan 2013–18. This is achieved through an architectural approach, enabling improved access to parliamentary information and services through state-of-the-art technology. The branch is also responsible for the cyber security operations of the Parliament.

The branch is made up of three sections which report to the Assistant Secretary:

  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Cyber Security, and
  • ICT Project Management Office.

Key highlights of the branch include:

  • the launch of an innovative pilot which investigates new ways of leveraging cloud-based mobility services to enable flexible and secure ways of working for parliamentarians and their staff anywhere, any time, on a range of devices
  • continued improvements to the cyber security of the Parliament, through network design changes to harden the internal ICT network against cyber attack and the implementation of advanced denial-of-service attack preventions on the agency’s internet gateway. This work was complemented by the launch of a number of online and face-to-face cyber security awareness and simulation programs for Parliament House staff, to improve their understanding and ability to identify threats in cyber space
  • delivery of significant enhancements to the Parliament of Australia website to improve the availability of information and enable the public to actively engage with the Parliament and its committees, and
  • system upgrade, replacement and enhancement programs for ICT business systems within DPS, the Department of the House of Representatives, the Department of the Senate and the Parliamentary Budget Office, to facilitate operations and progress the digital transformation of services.

ICT Infrastructure and Services Branch

The ICT Infrastructure and Services Branch provides key operational support services as well as the management and maintenance of IT systems supporting the functioning of the Parliament, federal electorate offices and Commonwealth Parliament Offices across the country.

The branch is made up of four sections which report to the Assistant Secretary:

  • ICT Network Operations
  • ICT Support Services (2020 Service Desk, ICT Training, ParlICT for parliamentarians, Second Level Support)
  • ICT Infrastructure Operations, and
  • Web and Mobile Applications.

Key highlights of the branch include:

  • a major upgrade of the underlying email infrastructure to improve the performance and responsiveness of the email service. This upgrade will act as a cornerstone capability for the introduction of ICT technologies and features in future years
  • a refresh of core electorate office network infrastructure to proactively provide greater ICT resilience and future-proofing
  • the launch of an e-learning pilot to parliamentarians and their staff. The e-learning suite, which will allow training and development opportunities to be provided to all electorate offices, comprises approximately 180,000 instructional videos and 6,000 technical, software and business-related courses, to help staff gain new skills on demand. In particular, the pilot will provide greater opportunities for rural and remote staff to access training services without the cost of travelling to metropolitan areas
  • implementation of an updated Parliamentary Directory, which gives building occupants a faster and more efficient method for locating and contacting colleagues, and
  • an update to the 2018 version of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, to give parliamentarians and their staff the latest and most powerful multimedia editing tools.

Parliamentary Recording and Reporting Branch

The Parliamentary Recording and Reporting Branch (PRRB) is responsible for broadcasting and archiving the audio visual record of chamber and committee proceedings and for producing the official written record of parliamentary debates and committee hearings, known as Hansard.

The branch is made up of three sections which report to the Assistant Secretary:

  • Hansard
  • Parliamentary Audio Visual Services (ParlAV), including Broadcasting Infrastructure Support, and
  • Enterprise Information Management

In 2017–18, the Enterprise Information Management (EIM) section and the Broadcasting Infrastructure Support (BIS) unit were incorporated into PRRB. EIM’s inclusion in PRRB aligns with the branch’s responsibility for producing the two key business records of the work of the Parliament produced by DPS—Hansard and audio-visual recordings. BIS’s location within Parliamentary Audio Visual Services allows the section to operate self-sufficiently from both technical and operational standpoints.

Key highlights of the branch include:

  • completion of the Digital Continuity 2020 targets set out by the National Archives of Australia (NAA) to establish an information governance committee and framework and to designate an SES-level ‘chief information governance officer’. All other targets relating to information assets and business systems are in progress. In the NAA’s December 2017 snapshot of progress on Digital Continuity 2020, DPS achieved a score of 29, with scores ranging from 13 to 37 across 168 Commonwealth agencies
  • the broadcasting of major events including state visits from the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Solomon Islands, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Republic of Vanuatu, as well as celebrations and reflections on 30 years of Australian Parliament House, and
  • integration of the live captioning service with Hansard’s transcription processes, offsetting investment in new quality assurance measures and mitigating the impact of increased committee activity on service standards.
Table 16: Hours recorded and transcribed
Activity Number of hours recorded and transcribed
2015–16 2016–17 2017–18
Parliamentary proceedings in the Senate,
House of Representatives and Federation Chamber
1,204 1,342 1,352
Parliament House committee hearings 1,154 1,343 1,402
Interstate committee hearings 1,275 873 1,327
Total 3,633 3,558 4,081


Hansard reports on errors in transcription notified by its customers, as a guide to trends in the accuracy of its transcripts. Errors are notified by parliamentarians’ offices for chamber transcripts and by committee secretariats for committee hearings. In 2016–17, an improved process for recording and reporting error rates gave a more accurate picture, revealing that the error rate for committees in particular is higher than previously thought. Through 2017–18, as resources and delivery timeframes permitted, Hansard introduced a number of additional quality assurance processes that aim to improve the accuracy of the Hansard transcripts. Because the quality assurance measures for committees primarily related to staff feedback and to learning and development needs, there is expected to be a lag in the positive impact of these quality assurance measures on Hansard error rates. However, the gap between the 2017–18 committee error result and target is significant and will be the subject of a further review in the first quarter of 2018–19, with a view to further quality assurance processes being implemented for continuous improvement through the year.

Table 17: Hansard–Accuracy
Type of transcription Service standard target Error rate
2015–16 2016–17 2017–18
Chamber proceedings 5 or fewer errors
per 100 pages,
as notified by customers
1.81 errors 2.59 errors 3.02 errors *
Committee hearings (Parliament House and interstate) 5 or fewer errors
per 100 pages,
as notified by customers
2.33 errors 15.81 errors 18.1 errors ^

* Total pages 21,583
^ Total pages 27,057

Further analysis of Hansard is addressed in the Annual Performance Statements.

Hansard did not achieve its target for committee transcripts, due to a spike in committee activity between July and October 2017. In particular, the July–August winter recess saw an increase in workload of 41 per cent relative to the last comparable winter break (2015). In response, Hansard adjusted its resourcing and consulted the house departments’ committee offices on expected delays in committee transcription, to ensure priority transcripts were delivered on time.

Table 18: Hansard–Timeliness–Committees
Committee-agreed timeframe Service standard target Percentage delivered within service standards
2015–16 2016–17 2017–18
Delivery by next business day 95.00% 100.00% 100.00% 98.07%
Delivery within 1–3 business days 95.00% 98.00% 95.61% 88.27%
Delivery within 3–5 business days 95.00% 91.00% 97.37% 76.92%
Table 19: Access to ParlView on the Parliament of Australia website
2015–16 2016–17 2017–18
Country with most views Australia
92% of total views
90.2% of total views
92.5% of total views
Within Australia Canberra
27.5% of total views
33.2% of total views
39.4% of total views
Highest daily view 6 February 2016
19 October 2016
31 May 2018