“One of the most recent areas of focus for NSW government is how to have technology better support collaboration,” New South Wales Government’s Chief Information and Digital Officer Damon Rees told the audience at Intermedium’s NSW Budget Briefing on 15 July 2017.
Rees said that although collaboration between agencies and jurisdictions is increasing, there is still no “systematic and structured way to do it.”
Once better supported, Rees expects collaboration to play a fundamental role in everything from shaping agency culture to more coordinated approach to information and cyber security.
“I think the big pivot for NSW is recognising that while the agencies need to maintain accountability for their own backyard, those backyards are all connected,” said Rees.
The emphasis on collaboration is likely to create a need for better systems integration, as well as secure communication and identity management platforms at the whole-of-government level.
Sector-wide collaboration is an area of focus for the NSW Government, which has indicated its support for a number of Federal Government initiatives, Rees said.
In late 2016 NSW signalled its intent to integrate with the DTA’s GovPass digital identity platform so that its citizens can access both federal and state services through a single login. It is also the first jurisdiction to permit its agencies to procure IT services through the Federal Government’s Digital Marketplace.
The interjurisdictional partnership between the two governments has also been deepened by plugging Service NSW into the Federal Government’s new Business Registration Service.
Improving citizen-centric service delivery and enabling more efficient data sharing and transparency through a ‘Data Ecosystem’ is also high on NSW’s digital agenda.
The NSW Government’s 2016 Open Data Policy encourages agencies to “start from a position of data openness, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure”, while continuing to observe privacy requirements.
As part of the recently announced NSW Government Digital Strategy, all departmental clusters will complete Digital Government Implementation Plans (DGIPs), which outline how clusters intend to deliver better customer experience, extract better outcomes through data, and realise internal transformation.
According to Rees, the first round of DGIPs will be published in the next few months, bringing greater transparency and insight into the Government’s progress towards the goals outlined in the Digital Strategy.
“We’ve also got a vision of how data can enable us to give real-time insights in government,” Rees told the audience.
The ‘Trends NSW’ platform is one of several digital service tools being developed by government that will enable the community to derive insights from. Trends NSW will provide citizens with a single point to access meaningful and easy to understand performance graphs and trends for NSW Government delivered programs and services.
The NSW government is also testing dMarketplace which will allow users to choose datasets based on third-party reviews, much like ‘Trip Advisor’.
Other services provide users with time-critical information on a map and in real time, such as the location of car accidents, hospital wait times, and the availability of emergency services. Fuelcheck.nsw.gov.au, for instance, allows users to search for the cheapest nearby fuel station on their smart phone.
Rees indicated that the implementation of digital drivers’ licences will make a major contribution to improved service delivery in NSW. The first customer trials are planned in regional NSW later this year.