Success for public sector staff and agencies means being more customer-centred in their thinking and in the way they communicate with the public. The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is working now to figure out how government websites can best contribute to that success.
In a speech to senior public servants earlier this year, Deputy Prime Minister Hon Bill English said:
The shift in public services to organisation around the customer, rather than by government department, will last for your professional lifetime … the public expects results, and results that are relevant to them.
Ministers are serious about getting better results for customers by continually improving public services. They require public sector chief executives to prioritise the things that matter to New Zealanders rather than the performance of individual agencies. The requirement is codified in the 2012 changes in the State Sector and Public Finance Reform Bill, and measured through the Better Public Services Programme. Digital content is an essential channel for this initiative.
So DIA looked into how government agencies organise service information and transactions across more 550 government websites (and growing). We wanted to figure out if it was worth reducing the number of sites and removing the duplication of content: would this make it easier for people to deal with government?
The Web Consolidation Strategic Assessment found that the proliferation of government websites was confusing for customers and inefficient for agencies. DIA recommended agencies adopt more collaborative modes of creating content. So the question now is: what’s the best way to do that? Is it practicable for agencies to collaborate to create content that makes it easier for customers to find, understand and use information across government websites?
There’s one way to find out. C3GI — Consolidating Customer-Centric Government Information — is coordinating the first attempt to test the idea. It is working with agencies to:
- develop content for older people, and the ‘Birth of a Child’ life event
- improve user journeys across agency sites, using analytics and other data sources to identify what’s not working
- investigate further opportunities.
C3GI is funded by the Better Public Services Seed Fund and overseen by the Service Innovation Working Group, which is part of the Government Chief Information Officer’s Partnership Framework.
Working with Govt.nz, the C3GI team will devise and test processes, systems and standards for developing and maintaining cross-agency content. The results will inform any plans for future optimisation and consolidation of the government web domain.
In the next few months, we will work with the Ministry of Social Development and its partner agencies on the first tranche of content for older people. We will also report back to the Service Innovation Working Group on the initial findings from our analysis on the user journeys across agency sites.
As things progress, you’ll hear more about what C3GI is learning. If you have any questions, please let me know: Tom.Shanley@dia.govt.nz.