Andrew Colley
September 26, 2018

NSW drags digital to the centre

Digital

NSW drags digital to the centre

Victor Dominello: Moving digital delivery closer to the centre of government 

NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello has foreshadowed structural changes in government that would bring its successful citizen-facing Service NSW delivery model even closer to the centre of government if it is returned at the next election.

While keeping specific detail close, Mr Dominello revealed the outline of a plan at the RegTech forum in Sydney on Wednesday, telling delegates that government was keen to maintain the momentum that Service NSW had given to its digital transformation effort.

“I just want to give you this assurance – even though we’re ahead of the pack, it’s not like I think it’s time to slow down,” Mr Dominello said. “Subject to the good graces of the people after the next election, we have every intention to go into turbo mode.”

“We’re already working on machinery of government provisions to make sure that the digital transformation piece, which is now really sitting at the front (and) needs to comes closer to the centre, so it goes right across every agency,” he said.

Speaking to InnovationAus.com on the sidelines of the event, Mr Dominello said the plan would expand the concept behind Service NSW make it “wider and deeper”.

“What we’ve got to do is make sure that that kind of ethos comes closer to the centre so it’s not just seen as the front – it’s seen as permeating right through government,” Mr Dominello said.

Service NSW’ defining feature is providing a central contact point for access to multiple services in areas the state government regulates that citizens routinely access, such as licenses, permits, fines and registries.

With 3.6 million online account holders – expected to grow to four million by next year – the model has been a spectacular success and given NSW a clear lead over the states and territories in digital service delivery.

It’s not clear what Mr Dominello meant by bringing the Service NSW model “closer to the centre” of government. However, arguably, there a valuable political dividends to be gained from the perception that it’s underpinning the policy formation and execution functions of government; an efficient, high-functioning and well-oiled administrative apparatus.

It’s possible to speculate that it could involve more centralisation of government data sets such as those related to geospatial information, land use, infrastructure, housing, health, employment and crime, and potentially to drive policy formation in a more timely way than is currently possible.

Mr Dominello has been a primary driver of the NSW digital agenda at state level. He did admit to having some frustration with the pace of national progress on one of the key enablers of digital transformation, the digital ID.

While the Service NSW online account has succeeded as a digital ID for NSW services, Mr Dominello says he would like to see his federal colleagues move faster on developing its plans for a federated digital identity model.

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