Malcolm Turnbull’s young pet agency will make its first major whole-of-government release when it sets a beta version of its single-view government website - Gov.au - live 'soon'.
The platform, which will organise services by theme rather than agency within a unified design, follows in the footsteps of the UK government and even the South Australian government, which has had its own version of a common service portal up and running for several years.
Speaking at the Technology in Government summit in Canberra today, Digital Transformation Office boss Paul Shetler complained that at last count, the government had 1524 different websites.
“The DTO’s thesis is that we can dramatically improve the experience of people accessing government services if maybe we had 1523 fewer websites,” he said.
DTO will unleash a minimum viable product of Gov.au, populated with limited production data, very soon, Shetler flagged.
It plans to continue tweaking the platform as users get their hands on it and find out what they do and don’t like about the interface.
“We will continue to move forward, and continue to make it better and enrich it every step along the way. You will get a very clear idea of where we are going with this when it goes into beta,” he said.
Shetler’s vision for the platform, which is being driven by former Prime Minister and Cabinet CIO Radi Kovacevic, is to hide the mechanics of government from people who don’t necessarily care about administrative orders, annual reports, and agency divisions, and who just want to register a business or sign a child up for their first Medicare card.
“If you order something on Amazon or you want to view something on Netflix there is an awful lot of stuff happening behind the scenes that is very complex. But it is all hidden from you," Shetler said.
“Obviously government has a lot of complexity in the way it operates, but we don’t need to rub this in our users’ faces."
Also queued up in the DTO release schedule is a digital services marketplace that will be built around its digital specialist panel initially, and aimed at making it easier for SMEs and startups to get a foot in the door when it comes to government procurement.
The beta marketplace will become visible “very shortly”, Shetler said.
The DTO will also imminently publish a full beta version of its digital service performance dashboard, after offering up a limited sneak peak of its alpha last month.