Delivering seamless digital services
How we plan to integrate services across government so that people get what they need easily and efficiently.
People don’t generally choose to interact with government – but they will when they need to access a service we offer (for example, get an IRD number, apply for a passport) or because they are experiencing a significant change in their life (for example, turning 65, having a baby).
Government services should make what people want to do as easy and efficient as possible, integrating services around meeting people’s needs, rather than individual government organisational needs.
At the moment, when someone reaches out to government, their need is often greater than can be met by a single organisation. It may require services from multiple government organisations, and this can make it:
- difficult (such as for vulnerable people or people with accessibility needs)
- jarring (such as when people need to refamiliarise themselves as they are moved through the system of government from one part to another)
- inefficient (such as when people are asked to provide personal details again and again when they are moved around government)
- inadequate (such as when the service is not available through a person’s preferred technology or device, like Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant in Google Home devices).
This is because government doesn’t have common ways of operating. Just like any operating system, it doesn’t work if a system doesn’t have common capabilities and settings.
Government wants to create a unified, seamless experience when people access our services, one that is centred around the events in their lives and which is future proofed – that is, designed to be useful and successful in the future, even if the situation changes.
This means government organisations need to work together to provide the services people need at the time they need them, and to make these services easy to access and efficient to deliver.
The Government Chief Digital Officer (GCDO) is working to achieve these goals by supporting all parts of government to:
- 1. follow the same frameworks and standards
- 2. collaborate and connect their services around the events in people’s lives
- 3. use common approaches and ways of operating (settings) that support the government as one unified system.
This approach enables:
- a more effective experience for people when they access government services
- the ability for government to do something once and then reuse it multiple times, leading to efficiencies across the system.
The GCDO's work in this space supports the work programme of the cross-government Service Innovation Working Group.
Following the same frameworks and standards
In 2017, the GCDO sourced a best practice framework, the Digital Service Design Standard (the Standard) from overseas, and then worked across government to adapt and expand it for New Zealand.
Twelve principles form the basis of the Standard and each of these principles is supported by guidance, standards and tools.
The following guidance, standards and tools are included the framework:
- NZ Government Web Standards: These are based on the international accessibility and usability standards which are mandated and make sure digital products are usable and accessible for everyone.
- NZ Government Design System: This supports consistent design across government organisations by providing a catalogue of reusable components, patterns and base elements that can be used for websites or apps.
- Structured Content Model: This consists of content standards and a framework which are currently in development, and which will enable content to be created in one place and displayed in multiple locations while allowing people to use preferred technologies and devices.
- API Standard and Guidelines: This provides a consistent approach for transferring data, enabling it to be created in one place and used somewhere else.
The framework, guidance, standards and tools are being supported by initiatives to:
- inform people – for example, blog posts on Digital.govt.nz
- educate people – for example, in communities of practice, the technology supplier community, and in cross-government work to innovate and design better public services together
- embed the standards and tools across government through work programmes that support integrating services around events in people’s lives.
Government is considering a range of other approaches to further embed the framework and standards across government – for example, defining the capabilities, frameworks and tools as requirements when working with suppliers to drive a system-wide approach for any services they provide.
Collaborating and connecting services around events
A number of the GCDO’s work programmes focus on integrating services across government in the following ways to deliver unified, seamless, future-proofed experiences. These:
- encourage government organisations to work together to adopt the frameworks and standards, and – where appropriate – share data sets
- support government organisations to integrate services behind the scenes by collaborating to create system-wide, reusable approaches
- integrate the information on Govt.nz so that people can access what they need all in one place, no matter if different parts of government are involved in different aspects of the service.
All these approaches require government to work as a system, operating to the same settings, and supported by the market, skilled practitioners and multi-disciplinary teams.
Using common approaches and ways of operating
The more government works as a system, the easier it will be to integrate services across government for the people who need them. The following areas focus on either identifying or delivering opportunities to unify the system through using common approaches, capabilities and ways of operating.
- 1. The Digital Identity Programme is working on defining an approach and a Trust Framework to govern the operation of a digital identity ecosystem.
- 2. Government is engaging with the market to make sure they provide solutions that enhance common approaches so that government organisations all use the same settings to operate as one system.
- 3. The work the GCDO does (in partnership with the Government Chief Data Steward) to understand and guide technology spending across government is providing opportunities to support unified, seamless, future-proofed services for the people who need them, while also getting the most value from government investment.
- 4. A Digital Maturity Model assessment is being created (to help government organisations understand how well positioned they are to operate successfully in a digital world), which will allow the GCDO to identify areas that require system-wide improvements.
- 5. As we increasingly use the framework and standards in our work, we are identifying opportunities to improve service delivery across government.