The Contestability state (State 3) of the Commonwealth Digital and ICT Oversight Framework ensures proposals that come forward for consideration are robust and meet whole-of-government digital standards prior to a decision being taken.

What happens at this state?

The DTA works with agencies as digital and ICT-enabled investment proposals are developed and assesses them against Whole-of-Government digital and ICT policies, best practices and standards to ensure proposals are aligned strategically with the Australian Government’s digital and ICT objectives.

The DTA provides advice to the agency on any actions to improve the policy alignment and robustness of the proposal. The DTA will also provide advice to the Government to assist it in considering whether to agree to implement the proposal.

What do agencies need to do?

Agencies need to engage with the DTA as early as possible when developing a digital and ICT-enabled investment proposal for the Government's consideration2.

Agencies need to provide the DTA with evidence the proposal being brought forward for funding aligns with whole-of-government digital and ICT strategies, policies and standards, and that the proposed initiative can be successfully delivered. Additional evidence to support a new digital and ICT-enabled investment proposal could include the following:

  • benefits management artefacts: profiles, registers, maps and realisation plans
  • draft New Policy Proposals (NPPs)
  • supporting business cases
  • technical design and architectural models
  • sourcing strategy and procurement approach
  • risk management approach and assessment (for example, through the Risk Potential Assessment Tool (RPAT)).

Where a digital and ICT enabled proposal has anticipated total whole-of-life costs of $30 million or more, including digital and ICT costs of $10 million or more, agencies need to seek the DTA’s advice whether it will be subject to the ICT Investment Approval Process (IIAP).

Agencies also need to develop fit-for-purpose assurance arrangements which meet requirements under the Assurance Framework for Digital and ICT Investments. This includes agreeing an Assurance Plan with the DTA.

What the DTA will be doing

The DTA will work with agencies to assess proposals against specific whole-of-government digital and ICT policies and standards identified below. This ensures proposals are robust, evidence-based and will achieve stated benefits when coming forward for Government consideration. The DTA will also support agencies to develop an Assurance Plan in accordance with the Assurance Framework for Digital and ICT Investments. See Delivery Assurance for further information on the assurance process and the requirements.

Digital Policies and Standards

The DTA has policy responsibility for a range of Digital and ICT domains. 

From 1 July 2021, all relevant Digital and ICT-enabled investment proposals will be assessed by the DTA against the following policies and standards: 



[2] Entities must provide the DTA with all necessary information at least six working days prior to the release of Exposure Draft, lodgment of short form paper, or submission to the Prime Minister. For proposals subject to the IIAP, this generally requires entities to provide the DTA with draft business cases at least seven weeks prior to Cabinet consideration.

Get in touch

If you need help or advice on Contestability, including how it might apply to your digital and ICT-enabled investment, please contact us at