The federal government’s freshly minted Digital Transformation Office has issued the list of expectations agencies will need to meet before they launch any major new electronic services.
The ‘standards’ - borrowed from the UK Government’s own service design criteria - will apply to all new and redesigned services owned or partly-owned by Commonwealth agencies that account for more than 50,000 transactions per year.
A service must meet the standards before it can go live, according to DTO's new interim website. Agencies will have until the middle of the year to comply.
The DTO’s acting CEO David Hazlehurst - who will keep the top job until a permanent head can be found - described the framework as the “criteria that all Australian government services and information will need to meet to ensure they're easier to find and easier to interact with”.
One of the DTO’s first requirements is that agencies put together a “sustainable multi-disciplinary” team to run the specific service and oversee its renewal.
“The team should meet regularly, and work closely to deliver ongoing iterations of user-centred services,” the online guide states.
The DTO outlined a list of example roles that might be included in the unit, and referred to IT contractor procurement panels for agencies that want to outsource the functions.
It also took the unprecedented step of demanding agencies use “agile” and “iterative” methods to build the services.
The new e-services agency made it clear that it will expect all services to be ‘user-centric’, and that entities will research the specific needs and habits of their customer base. The DTO will also require agencies to measure traffic and satisfaction against pre-determined benchmarks.
“There are good examples of government digital services, but there is room for improvement. Inconsistent look, feel and function of services and information makes things confusing for users,” the DTO’s Jacqui van Teulingen said in a blog introducing the framework.
“The new standard underpins a 'digital by design' approach - designing with digital delivery as the focus and removing unnecessary hangovers from paper-based systems.”
The DTO plans to consult with agencies on what the new standards mean and how to apply them in the coming months.
The new agency was launched by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull in January this year, and will take over all electronic service delivery responsibilities previously held by the Department of Finance.