The Department of Finance and Deregulation has commissioned Deloitte to undertake a review of its Whole-of-Government Online Transaction Capability in order to facilitate further development of a user-centric online service delivery model.
Central to the review, which is in its final stages of completion, is the exploration and advancement of a ‘tell-us-once’ client information sharing approach, to be implemented as part of a broader objective to deliver more coordinated services.
When asked what had prompted the review, a Finance spokesperson told Intermedium that the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has been developing user-centric online transaction capabilities for several years; many of which are now in operation on australia.gov.au.
“More recently, there has been a renewed focus on this work as it is an enabling technology for several of the ‘tell-us-once’ style service reforms underway across government”, the spokesperson said.
“AGIMO commissioned this review as part of its ongoing efforts to ensure the most suitable models and solutions are being used to meet whole-of-government online transaction requirements”
According to the spokesperson, the findings of the review will inform existing and future design activities and thus has the potential to significantly affect Departmental procurement.
The announcement of the review is in-line with AGIMO’s Draft Strategic Vision for the Commonwealth Government’s use of ICT, released for comment on the AGIMO Blog in mid-April 2011. The Draft Strategic Vision, which aimed to generate the greatest possible benefits from ICT investment by avoiding duplication and enhancing inter-agency communication, advanced a ‘tell-us-once’ client information sharing functionality.
“This provides people the option – entirely within the control of citizens – to access government services through a secure log on to government and joined up government”, the Vision stated.
“People will be able to connect to agencies sharing data, within security and privacy constraints, to enable a ‘tell-us-once’ approach. This will involve seamless service delivery across Australian, State and Territory, and Local government jurisdictions, over time”
While the review is not linked to any particular budget initiative, Intermedium’s budget IT tool reveals that Finance has received further funding to enhance government service delivery, allocated $2.3 million in 2011-12 to ‘Improve Access to Australian Government Services’.
This initiative will allow the Department to investigate and test ways to improve individuals’ ease of use and access to Australian Government services through a scoping study, technical pilot and business case. Other improvements to be investigated include allowing individuals to communicate updated details to multiple agencies simultaneously, ‘pre-fill’ forms using information previously submitted to another agency and view all their government communications in one place.
Finance’s decision to review its online transaction capabilities and advance a ‘tell-us-once’ model has wider whole-of-government implications, with similar projects currently underway at the Federal Department of Human Services (DHS) and at State and Territory levels.
Analysis of the Federal Budget reveals that the integration of Centrelink, Medicare and the Child Support Agency into DHS was the largest ICT allocation in 2011-12. Of the $569.9 million in allocations to consolidate the ICT functions of these agencies, $157.6 million will be spent over four years to give customers the option to manage all of their accounts online with a ‘tell-us-once’ information sharing capability.
The ATO has also been working towards the achievement of a ‘tell-us-once’ single client view since 2003 as part of its $1 billion ICT Change Program.
Similar initiatives have been realised at State level, with the advancement of the single client views at client-serving agencies in NSW, Queensland and Victoria. The Victorian DHS issued a request for expressions of interest for its ‘One DHS- Single Client’ strategy in February 2011, which will implement a single view of clients across divisions, including Children, Youth and Families, Disabilities, and Housing and Community Building.
Human Services NSW and Queensland’s Department of Communities also indicated that they intended to follow a similar strategic direction in the near future.