Service NSW wants to share technology for cross-border service delivery

Service NSW's acting CEO told ZDNet that the organisation should be opening its technology to the rest of the country to assist in citizen service delivery.

The New South Wales government's one-stop-shop for service delivery knows it needs to start collaborating with Commonwealth and local government colleagues to do more around streamlining service delivery in Australia.

However, Service NSW's acting CEO Damon Rees told ZDNet that while there needs to be a more streamlined cross-border approach, he doesn't see a need for a whole-of-country digital delivery house.

"I think if we're true to our word about being customer-centric, then the answer is we absolutely must be obsessed with that outcome, as it's not good for our customers to have a bad experience the moment they leave our borders," he said.

"Around this region there are a number of customers that are moving back and forth between states ... so I think the more interoperability we can have as a nation, the better.

"We'd absolutely love that; we'd welcome that with open arms."

Rees is of the opinion that Service NSW should also be opening its tech to the rest of the country.

"I'm of the firm belief that every single line of code that we write as a state, every single document that we produce as a state, that should all be on GitHub and shared and added to, and built on by all of our friends in other states -- or elsewhere for that matter," he told ZDNet during his presentation at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo on the Gold Coast on Wednesday.

"There's almost nothing we should do that we should be holding to ourselves."

Although touted as the poster child for government service delivery in Australia, Rees said Service NSW is not in a position to lead the amalgamation of a country-wide approach.

"I think we're in a position to absolutely help others go on their journey ... we're doing that and we will always answer the phone for help with that," he said.

"Should there be a Service Australia? The positive with doing something at a national level is that you have consistency and maybe arguably efficiency, but the risk of doing something at a national level is that you get further and further away from the individual requirements of the customers."

Rees said that while each of the Service NSW shopfronts are obviously part of the same brand, they don't possess that "McDonald's-type" consistency.

"They're not identical, they've all got their own subtle nuances, personalities ... we've got a different customer base from suburb to suburb, different staff base, so the experience is not uniform and I think that's actually part of our strength," he added. "The broader you go, the risk is the less personalised you become."

What becomes difficult when dealing with whole-of-government service delivery, Rees explained, is understanding the customer across multiple organisations.

"It's really hard; hard within normal organisations, massively hard within government," he said. "We've got an identity taskforce trying to at least land on a common identity platform for the state and how that will collaborate with other jurisdictions around that."

"Within Service NSW we're building out not a single view of the customer, but a single view of government for our customers and starting to progressively link products and interactions that haven't had any linkage to the customer."

While tight-lipped on the end-game of the taskforce, Rees said it is a really complex area that is critically important to Service NSW.

Launched in July 2014, Service NSW brought together a number of different NSW government services under the one office -- including RMS; Births, Deaths and Marriages; and small business support -- with the remit to be the one-stop-shop for state government interactions, combined with a mandate from government to bring 80 percent of transactions through a digital channel.

Disclosure: Asha McLean travelled to Gartner Symposium/ITxpo as a guest of Gartner.

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