Thoughtworks to develop Australia's electronic birth certificate

The NSW government has charged Thoughtworks with the responsibility to deliver a digital birth certificate that can operate across multiple platforms.

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Image: Asha Barbaschow/ZDNet

Thoughtworks has landed the contract to help the New South Wales government develop a national digital birth certificate.

The NSW government first announced its plans for a national electronic birth certificate in April 2021. At the time, NSW Minister for Digital and Customer Victor Dominello said the aim of the initiative was to "use technology to make life easier for families, so they can spend more time with their newborn and less time dealing with government".

The state government then issued a tender last November in search for a vendor to help build the digital certificate.

With Thoughtworks securing that contract, it will now be responsible for delivering a digital birth certificate that can operate across multiple platforms, including Android, Apple iOS, and as a multi-browser web app.

The project, slated to launch later this year, will also undergo beta testing for quality and web content accessibility, applicable legal and regulatory requirements, and to ensure all relevant data privacy and cybersecurity specifications are met.

Prior to issuing the tender, the NSW government undertook a research process where it consulted a long list of stakeholders, which helped it establish guiding principles for the product design.

According to NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriage registrar Amanda Ianna, the research uncovered four key features customers across public and private sector expect to be included in the digital birth certificate: Security and privacy, such as having only minimal information visible on screens; it can be used for verification and traceability; it needs to contain a source of truth when a copy of it is shared; and it must contain the most up-to-date information on a person.

The NSW government has assured that once the digital birth certificate is released, it will be optional and designed to complement the paper birth certificate, not replace it.

"The digital birth certificate will be more than just the commencement of identity. It'll help to support your story," Ianna said previously.

"If you look at the graphics on it, the graphics will actually match the birth certificate paper that we use in this whole country. Every state and territory use the same birth certificate paper, and we will mirror what we build to look exactly the same."

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