​NSW government to appoint chief information and digital officer

The NSW government has announced the resurrection of the state government CIO, adding the word digital to the title in a bid to keep up with the evolving nature of the role.

The New South Wales government has announced the appointment of a chief information and digital officer, calling it a modern spin on the traditional CIO role.

Making the announcement at the CeBIT Australia 2016 conference in Sydney on Tuesday, NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet said the upcoming appointment is reflective of the rapidly evolving nature of government.

"Over the past five years, we've seen the industry and the role of the CIO change significantly from someone who just used to hit the lights on," Perrotett said.

"This role has now evolved to be one of the most significant champions of digital initiatives in many organisations.

"This is no different in government."

Perrottet called the impending appointment a resurrection with a slight twist, with the addition of the word digital in line with the accelerating use of digital services.

"This dual title reflects a dual mandate to appropriately manage and secure the government structures of key ICT projects within government, as well as working with the customer service commissioner to drive the customer-first mentality across government agencies," Perrotett said.

The state minister confirmed that the successful candidate for the digitised role would be announced in the near future.

The NSW government became the frontrunner in digitalising its services in July 2014, launching Service NSW to bring together a number of different state services under the one office, including RMS; Births, Deaths and Marriages; and small business support.

In the 2015-16 Budget, Service NSW was slated to receive AU$362 million to increase the number of digital interactions between consumers and government, and to roll out a further 27 one-stop shops across the state.

As of February 2016, the Service NSW website showed that there were 95 shopfronts across the state.

A Service NSW smartphone app for iOS and Android was then launched, with an update added in February to enable users to view, pay, and contest infringement notices.

"Today, traffic fines are posted out to people who then have to keep track of the paper, manually type in their details, and remember to pay on time -- and many people forget," Perrottet said previously.

"No one likes getting a fine, but even worse is forgetting to pay and winding up with a late fee as well."

Keeping to the theme of digital, Perrottet announced in November that the state would begin the distribution of digital licences in mid-2016.

Digital versions of the Recreational Fishing Licence, the Responsible Service of Alcohol Card, and the Responsible Conduct of Gambling Competency Cards will be the first, and will be available on an opt-in basis, with consumers given the choice between a digital licence, a physical card, or both.

"Each year in NSW we issue, print, post, and administer over 23 million licences across 70 different categories," he said on Tuesday. "This is an area ripe for disruption."

Perrottet said digitising a business model comes down to simply taking a manual process and dumping it online.

"It's rethinking and reimagining that service; making full use of our digital capabilities and making digital transactions simpler," he said.