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Commitment 6 progress report: 31 December 2020

Open Government Partnership New Zealand National Action Plan 2018-2021

Progress report to: September 2020 – December 2020

Commitment 6: Service Design

Lead agency: Department of Internal Affairs

Objective: To develop an assessment model to support implementation of the all-of

government Digital Service Design Standard (the Standard) by public sector agencies:

The Standard provides the design thinking to support the objective of New Zealanders being able to work collaboratively with government to shape the design of public services. Collaboratively designed services will be more trusted, accessible, integrated and inclusive. The assessment model provides the basis to assess and measure agencies’ performance against the Standard and it supports a mind-set and culture change, both at an individual agency maturity level and in terms of systemwide change.

Ambition: People experience more responsive, open, citizen-centric and user focused service delivery.

OGP values: Public Participation, Technology and Innovation


Milestone 1

Identify suitable assessment models for supporting agency uptake of the standard, including options for assessment and measurement of performance against the standard.

Start/End dates: August 2018-March 2019

Progress: completed

Milestone 2

Publication of preferred assessment model for implementation.

Start/End dates: April 2019 - June 2021

Progress: underway

Milestone 2A

Piloting of assessment models with agencies through iterative refinements to reach a preferred and suitable framework.

Start/End dates: January 2020 – December 2021

Progress: underway

Milestone 3

Public engagement on a refresh and review of the Digital Service Design Standard.

Start/End dates: No longer applicable

Progress: NA

What we have been doing

Piloting the Standard

Interviews have been conducted with participating agencies about their experiences piloting the Standard. Consistent themes have emerged:

  • Changes to the structure and language of the Standard need to happen because it is too long and onerous. There is an opportunity to make it easier for agencies to understand and implement by splitting it into a project checklist and wider organisational requirements captured by existing standards, guidance and frameworks (e.g. privacy, security, information management).
  • It is also clear that work needs to be done to make it implementable as the design principles don’t have measurable metrics. The Standard can’t be assessed without specific measures. There is also a lack of information on the ‘how’ of implementing it.

For government agencies, successful implementation of the Standard would also require support and advice. For example:

  • a team of people skilled in the areas of expertise outlined in the Standard, who could be called upon for on-the-ground help,
  • additional frameworks like a Digital Maturity Model, to benchmark services and service delivery and provide clear steps and actions for improvement.

These themes reflect and reinforce the findings from the engagement on the assessment model done in 2018.

An ‘outside in’ view comes from the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) who was also interviewed during this time. The CAB sees the focus on equitable access to government services in Principle 4 (Be inclusive, and provide ethical and equitable services) as an opportunity to ensure a consistent, high quality experience for people. Their recommendation is that the Standard needs to apply to all channels, not just digital.

“...the design of government services must proactively include pathways for those who are digitally excluded as a matter of right, not as a reflection of failure, or as an exception to the ‘digital-first’ rule.” (Citizens Advice Bureau representative, December 2019).

How we are keeping diverse communities informed

  • Participating agencies have involved staff whose roles include accessibility needs and/or cultural sensitivity as and when appropriate.
  • Blogging on e.g. progress on development of an assessment model.
  • Blogging on New Zealand Government Web Community channel on Yammer.

What’s next?

  • Considering options for refreshing the Standard and potential assessment models to inform next steps. The options are based on feedback from the consultation and the pilots done by government agencies.
  • Creating an engagement plan to ensure stakeholders and the public can find out about the work and participate in decision making where possible.

Links – evidence of progress and milestones achieved