Digital Victoria
Digital Transformation of Victorian Public Notices

Victorian State Government
20 government departments
6.6M +

Victorian Public Notices have traditionally been published in newspapers. However, the Victorian Government passed legislation enabling public notices to be published online.

As part of its digital transformation plan, the government agency Digital Victoria (DV) collaborated with District to extend the capabilities of our Engage SaaS product and create the Victorian Public Notices (VicPN) platform

The co-design process and use of District Engage framework enabled the development of a flexible and adaptable enterprise platform in just 16 weeks to meet swift legislative changes.

The Challenge

Digitising public notices posed a few key challenges. Extensive stakeholder engagement and collaboration across multiple layers of government was required to ensure the platform addressed varying requirements across more than 20 government departments. Furthermore, there was a tight timeline of just 16 weeks to design, build, and deploy the platform to meet the legislated launch date of 31 July, 2022.

To overcome these challenges, the VicPN platform was launched with a minimum viable product (MVP) and then iteratively enhanced based on user feedback. The co-design process was central to the discovery and design process, where service design, UX, and technical experts worked with multiple teams to develop the main platform workflows and processes.

The complicated federated roles and permissions structure were detailed, including individual requirements for government/business team types whilst District's designers worked with the DV team to create the front and back end experience for users.

By utilising the District Engage framework and building customised solutions on top of it, District could expedite the development of VicPN.



Key challenges of digitising public notices

Some of the key challenges included:

  • Extensive stakeholder engagement and close collaboration across multiple layers of government.
  • One platform that is capable of being utilised across more than 20 government departments.
  • A 16-week window to design, build and deploy the new platform to meet the legislated launch date of 31 July 2022.
Graphic showing a list of "who do you represent", including Dept of Families and Dept of Health



Requirements of an Online Platform for Public Notices

A key requirement for online delivery of public notices was the search feature. The VicPN platform uses ElasticSearch, which enables public users to use keywords, postcodes, or dates to narrow down the search for a notice. In the next release search will expand to include legislation so keywords such as "Police", "Weapons", or "Liquor" will return notices relevant to specific legislation.

To ensure efficiency, a streamlined publishing process was a critical aspect of the VicPN platform. Notifications are issued to authors about the status of user accounts and any submitted notices, and to administrators for requests to join a team, create a team, or approve a notice.

Additionally, public users who create a profile and tag categories to follow will receive notifications for notices published in those categories, which enhances public engagement.

Two overlapping screen shots of District Notices web pages

Workflow and permissions

As a legal document, all notices must go through a strict approval process before publishing on VicPN. User roles have been carefully designed, including public users, authors, approvers, team admins, team supervisors, and super admins, each with particular permissions.

Authors create notices as part of a team, while approvers (as part of a team) approve or reject notices. Team admins manage team members and create notices, while super admins manage users, teams, and pages, provide training, and unpublish notices that contain errors (as a legal document, a notice can't be edited).

Stylised graphic show five personas with associated website editing permissions



Benefits of an improved public notice platform

The team-based structure at the heart of VicPN’s approval workflow is a good illustration of how the platform, as a whole-of-government implementation, has transformed the way legislative functions can be managed across government.

The benefits are wide-ranging, including:

  • Significant reduction in overheads
  • Increased accessibility and reach
  • Improved approval workflows
  • Evolving functionality to improve user experience
  • Digtal archive of public notices




In the future, there are exciting opportunities for Engage Victoria and VicPN to become more closely aligned. With both platforms utilising District Engage, there is potential to transition statutory public notices into public consultations providing a seamless process of information publishing and engagement across the whole of government