Are we there yet?

Do we need a single digital identity for NSW?  Isn’t Cyber security just about tech teams and patching?  Is blockchain the answer?

We’ll come back to that in our next blogs, but first…the more thought-provoking common question we receive working in “digital government” is quite simply

Are we there yet?

And of course if Denmark, Estonia and Seoul are, how does NSW get there?

Welcome to a space where the digital.nsw team and others will be sharing our plans.  We’ve made a great start.  In fact, we think NSW is a leader, but as consumers of government services, you would probably agree we are not completely There yet. 

The purpose of openly sharing the next steps in our journey is threefold. 

Firstly, the more input and ideas we get the better. While we are simultaneously developing and delivering a digital.nsw delivery roadmap and investment strategy, we do not have all the answers.

Your thoughts will help to shape our approach and we hope you will provide suggestions on what has worked elsewhere and new ways to achieve our goals faster.  Some of our best solutions have come from ideas generated outside Government.  Agencies will continue this heritage with challenges like these from Transport and we hope to ramp this up through a number of new channels too, such as the Pitch to Pilot event planned for November.

Secondly, we want to model the way digital organisations should operate. Our objective is to transform the way government operates, from policy, regulation and investment through to service delivery and procurement.  Working in the open is a foundation of this transformation.

Finally, we hope that the documentation of our journey – including what does and does not work, and what we learn along the way will be of use to others on a similar journey.

Where is there?

We agree with Tom Loosemore, founder of the Government Digital Service in the United Kingdom –

“We’re not here to change government websites; we’re here to change government.”

For us, changing government quite simply means we support people - parents, carers, students, patients, … with better government services.

People want services that are smart, simple and seamless.

So, when will NSW be there?

There is when government knows and understands your story – which you should only have to tell us once (particularly for our most vulnerable).

There is when we support important events in your life in a way that is appropriate for your context and situation – where possible, without paper and without visiting a government “office” at a time that is convenient for government.

There is explaining what people need to do in simple terms (not in government, or agency jargon) and There is when services are designed around your needs and can be accessed in a manner of your choice.

There is also about Government respecting your time, making you feel safe, being proactive about issues that impact you and finding opportunities to help.

Feedback from people across NSW who have renewed a license, used an on-line court room or needed a clinician to access their medical images from anywhere in the state tell us that we are There with many of our services, which is great.

So the question now is - how do we do more, accelerate and scale this up?   

What do we have planned?

Accelerating Customer Experience initiatives is our number one focus.  Everything we do should be viewed through this lens first.  

We will test the way we want to describe our BIG IDEAS here with you in the coming months, but right now we are focused on:


Infographic of NSW Government's digital transformation vision


  • Working across clusters to design and deliver government services based on customer journeys and important life events.  Our plan is to start with “Making it easier for new parents to start or grow a family” and “Making it easier to manage the loss of a loved one” as also prioritised by the Australian Digital Council
  • Building more capacity in the Digital NSW Accelerator (DNA) Lab to work closely with Service NSW and Agencies to rapidly design, test and prototype how we support these customer journeys
  • Focusing on the adoption of common components across government that provide people with a Single View of Government.  We have built a Customer Experience (CX) Pipeline to enable this work.  Service NSW has already delivered a range of these products, in particular the MyService Account / ID 
  • Building a digital.nsw design system to scale the delivery of consistent, people-centric digital services across government.  The digital design system will have everything from style guidance and code for common tasks through to methods, roles and ways for the community to contribute and maintain it.  The first iteration is planned for later this year.

However, delivering digitally enabled services means progressing work on many fronts.  We think about the breadth of this work in terms of the following functions:

While we will not use this structure to describe our overall narrative to citizens, it does help us to make sure things line up.  For example:

  • A digital.nsw roadmap, funding model and architecture must be linked and our assurance model must work in this context
  • Accelerating Customer Experience initiatives requires common architecture components and our digital design system.  It is also closely linked to the way we use, share and analyse data, and
  • Building trust with people means that Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure must underpin everything we do

So watch out for upcoming posts from the teams working in these areas – starting with more on what Digital Government means to us, but also on priorities such as buy.nsw, the Critical Communications Enhancement Program (and connectivity more generally) as well as our Data Ecosystem, Cyber Security and Technology Platform priorities and much, much more.

Digital government is about technology, but it’s mostly about people.

designing for their needs

knowing their story

and connecting agencies to deliver better services

and when we do this, at scale, NSW will definitely be There.

Written by Greg Wells, NSW Government Chief Information and Digital Officer

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