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NSW taken to task by community on digital government

by Staff Writers •
Free resource

Only 44 per cent of respondents had satisfactory experiences when using online or mobile applications for government transactions, according to a survey conducted by the NSW Accelerating Digital Government Taskforce. While 64 per cent of respondents already use public services online, the lack of satisfaction from within this group highlights the job at hand for the Taskforce as it works on its digital government roadmap to present to the Government between April and June 2015.  

Security and privacy emerged as the two key concerns for respondents. In a worrying result for the Government, only 36.7 per cent selected “agree” or “strongly agree” when asked if they trust the ability of NSW to manage and protect their personal data.

29 per cent selected security as their primary concern whereas only 4 per cent listed the digital economy.

Other key findings include:

  • 80 per cent of respondents thought modern technology has the power to make services more available and efficient;
  • 81 per cent did not disagree that stronger digital channels for public policy discussion would likely drive their participation; and
  • 66 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that having the option for in-person or phone channels for service delivery remain important.

Participants also had the opportunity to provide additional ideas and comments. These included:

  • A single portal for government transactions regardless of jurisdiction (i.e. widening access to myGov);
  • Providing citizens with a recognised profile and allowing the use of digital signatures;
  • An emphasis on design in creating a customer-focused service delivery initiative;
  • Allowing citizens to track the progress of government correspondence;
  • Creating a single public service infrastructure to facilitate greater levels of remote access for employees; and
  • Allowing public servants to have greater participation on social media to better gauge community attitudes.

1,853 people responded to the survey which was distributed online and in hard copy via Service NSW service centres. It was advertised to public sector and industry groups, however, it suffers from inadequately reflecting the population of NSW. A disproportionately large number of participants were between the ages of 40-59 compared to their population percentage (they consisted of 40 per cent of respondents despite making up only 27 per cent of the state population). Females over 60 years old, and people aged between 0-19 were also underrepresented while NSW Government employees were overrepresented (26 per cent of respondents were NSW Government employees despite only numbering 11 per cent of employed NSW citizens).

The Taskforce also held three workshops comprising of 70 participants from the public sector, research sector, industry, and NGOs. Tasked with identifying the ‘digital government ideal state’, the workshops articulated the value propositions for digital government. These included:

  • Service affordability by faster communications and self-service;
  • Reduced inefficiency through standardisation;
  • Reducing red tape;  
  • Increased transparency and accountability;
  • Wider political engagement; and
  • More opportunities for interaction and access to services in the way best suited to the individual.


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