Digital Council winds up following successful tenure

Digital Economy and Communications

An advisory group established to advise the Government on how to maximise the benefits of digital and data-driven technologies will wind up this month.

The Digital Council was brought together in late 2019, a year before the formation of the Digital Economy and Communications portfolio which was designed to streamline digital work streams across government and its departments.

“The last few years have been something of a digital revolution for the world. The COVID-19 pandemic made all of us re-think how we learn, earn and socialise – forcing us to embrace digital technology faster than we otherwise would have,” Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, Dr David Clark said.

“When the Digital Council first came to be, government had disparate digital work streams. Since then, we’ve come leaps and bounds and a lot of that is thanks to the advice of the council.

“A major piece of the council’s work programme was focused on helping shape the Mahi Tahi (inclusion) and Mahi Tika (trust) pillars of the recently launched Digital Strategy for Aotearoa and its action plan.

“Now this has been delivered, it feels like an appropriate time to disestablish the council and thank its members profusely for their dedicated time and effort. They have been a real catalyst for change,” David Clark said.

The Government has also recently established an interdepartmental Digital Executive Board to coordinate delivery in the DEC portfolio and lead the implementation of the Strategy and its action plan.

The Digital Executive Board’s members are Chief Executives of the Department of Internal Affairs; the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; and Statistics New Zealand. There will also be an independent advisor to the board that is external to the public service.

Parallel to this, work is also underway to pull together an independent group of data ethics experts with the expectation of launching a data ethics centre in the New Year. A council will oversee the centre and consist of champions for the value of data and technology, undertake research and provide advice on ethical dilemmas and what support tools are needed to encourage best practice when new technology, such as artificial intelligence, is deployed.

The Digital Council will meet for the final time on December 15.