In keeping with citizen expectations – which are largely shaped by interactions with private institutions, like banks – the Queensland and New South Wales governments are taking steps towards more personalised, proactive and connected services.
According to Service NSW Chief Executive Officer Rachna Gandhi speaking at an Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) NSW event last week, person-centric is replacing user-centric as an underlying driver of government service delivery.
This sentiment is shared by Andrew Spina, Assistant Director-General of Digital Productivity and Services at Queensland’s Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, who told Intermedium that simply “making existing services available [to citizens] online wouldn’t meet their expectations for government services to ‘know them’, ‘join up around them’ and ‘come to them’ – and deliver an experience similar to other progressive organisations they interact with”.
Complex situations where citizens interact with multiple departments, like starting new businesses, have been identified as user pain points suitable for improvements.
The process of starting a café, restaurant or small bar business in NSW now automatically presents a user with relevant advice and links based on interactive questioning, and guides the user through each step in the process based on the rules and regulations that pertain to a specified location.
Andrew Spina says that the Queensland Government is also currently trialling ways of delivering a more personalised government experience – including the Starting a Café online pilot, which like NSW’s café or restaurant service, helps to cut through the “information noise” by tailoring information based on the individual’s needs.
“For Queenslanders thinking about setting up a café business, this service personalises information on all the licences their new venture will need, what it costs and how long it will take,” said Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch in a press release.
Central to the personalised government experience is the user account, which allows citizens to access relevant government services through a single platform. NSW's single customer account, MyServiceNSW, was launched in early 2016 alongside a Whole of Government payments platform and an updated smartphone app.
Currently in the process of upgrading Queensland’s ‘my account’, DSITI has targeted the most critical services linked to the accounts to improve first. Early beneficiaries include seniors, who are now able to track concession services that are relevant to them through their ‘my account’, including where concessions can be used to get the best discounts in their area. Presently seeking feedback as a beta version, the public pilot version of ‘my account’ is anticipated for release in mid-2017.
In Queensland, the government will leverage the technology that users prefer, with social media among the technologies trialled that could potentially improve how citizens interact with government. Another example of leveraging user-preferred technology is the state’s customer identity solution, which enables customers to use an existing Google, Microsoft or Auskey account if they prefer not to create a new account.
New technologies, such as in-home digital assistants, natural language processing (NLP), assisted, and predictive technologies also have the potential to be “real game changers” to service delivery, says Spina.
The delivery of personalised services is largely reliant on the quality and accessibility of citizen data, with work currently underway to improve how governments collect, store, and analyse data, and how this useable data is shared with other agencies at all levels of government.
According to Spina, this new approach to service delivery will “not create a single honeypot of customer data”, but is about finding better ways to use the information government already collects. Behind the scenes, this means “better secure connections, interoperability and data sharing.“
Earlier this year, DSITI established a new office specifically to help eliminate impediments to sharing information between QLD departments and agencies.