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Customer-centred digital government at the heart of changes

Te Tari Taiwhenua the Department of Internal Affairs is making changes to the way its all-of-government digital branch is organised. The changes aim to help the Department better support government agencies to respond to New Zealanders’ expectations for faster, more agile, more accessible and more integrated digital services.

Government Chief Digital Officer (GCDO) and the Department’s Chief Executive Paul James says the internal changes reflect the public sector’s changing digital landscape and needs. “We have a lead role on behalf of government to support a more connected, responsive and consistent digital public service, and we’re making some changes to help drive and deliver that. This reflects our purpose to work with and through agencies to drive and deliver customer-centred digital government.”

Core permanent team with flex

The changes will see a core permanent team established that will focus the branch’s efforts and resources on key aspects of digital government. This will help the branch to connect and interact with agencies to identify digital needs across the state sector system and then respond effectively.

“We are establishing a central team that can adjust and flex to meet future requirements, including being able to respond to emerging issues and opportunities,” says Paul. “The digital landscape is a changing one, so we need to be able to move with it to stay ahead of the curve.”

Work is also underway in the branch to look at all-of-government procurement needs, which includes working with relevant agencies to fully understand how the branch can better connect public sector and vendor markets to drive efficiencies, standardisation, consolidation and innovation.

Next steps

The next few months will be about reorganising the branch roles and responsibilities, managing work-in-progress, and looking at the larger plan of delivering to government priorities and mandates as well as the newly-developed Strategy for a Digital Public Service. The Department is also establishing the branch’s new leadership team, which, together with other key senior leader roles, includes recruiting a new DCE and Deputy Government Chief Digital Officer to lead the branch.

Says Paul: “Our plan is to work with agencies and other digital stakeholders in a more proactive and joined-up way to ensure they are well-supported to deliver integrated digital services to New Zealanders.

“We want to build agency capability and culture to work together as an integrated digital system for New Zealanders. That’s our reason for being, and that’s where we’re focusing our efforts.”

Watch Paul James talk about the new DCE role in the video “Now recruiting: Talented senior leaders to drive Government Chief Digital Officer work.”

Video 1. 
Video transcript

Paul James, Chief Executive of DIA appears in the centre of the screen.

“Kia ora. I’m the Chief Executive of DIA and as a result, I’m also the Government Chief Digital Officer for New Zealand.

Look, I’m making this video message because we’re changing, we’re stepping up and stepping forward – in our branch and team that deliver the Government Chief Digital Officer role. So I’m looking for new leaders to come in and be part of a leadership team that are going to really step us forward in this area. It’s a great mandate and it’s a great area of our work.

So our purpose is that we want to work with and through agencies to deliver customer-centred digital government. I’m looking for people who have the passion, knowledge and the skillset to come in and be leaders of a team of people to deliver on that.

There’s a whole lot of parts to that. One of them is that we have to work with other agencies. The reality is that digital government won’t be done solely at the centre by a small group of people. We need everyone in government to be doing this and all agencies. However, there is a central role for us in terms of charting that direction, building the vision and strategy, and then the buy-in to that.

There are also some things that we need to deliver. We need to solve system problems, we need to build the building blocks, the assets, the infrastructure, the rules etc that will sit at the centre and enable that. We need to create a platform for digital government.

In order to do that, we need to be aware of digital ourselves. We need to know and have a passion and understanding of it. But we’ve got to be adept at working within government. We have to recognise that we’ve got legacy, we’ve got infrastructure already, and we’ve got a lot of pressures competing across government.

I’m really excited about the opportunity this work represents, I’m really confident in our team and our direction. And I really encourage you to look more into our work, into the roles that are available and think about whether that’s a good fit for you.”

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