- Directions and priorities
- Access to government services
- Access to government data
- Services to government employees
- Aligning agency applications
- Standardising enterprise applications
- Defining and reusing authoritative data
- Integrating workflow across government
- Unifying communications and networking
- Securing government information
- Aligning management of commodity software
- Building operational foundations
- Roadmap Overview Key
- Common capabilities
- COE Reference Architecture
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- Checklist for agencies
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- Trust and security
- Standards / compliance
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- Government Cloud Business Case 2011 FAQs
- Pre-2009 research
- Previous e-Government Strategy 2006
- The GCIO
- From the Government CIO
- GCIO news
- Government ICT Update - April 2013
- Government ICT Update - December 2012
- Government ICT Update September 2012
- Government ICT Update August 2012
- Colin MacDonald Keynote Speech — GOVIS Conference, 18 June 2012
- Government ICT Update June 2012
- Colin MacDonald Keynote Speech — Identity Conference, 30 April 2012
- GCIO Update April 2012
- Government CIO announces the New Zealand Government Cloud Programme
- Government IaaS contracts awarded
- Government goes to market for mobile technology
- igovt wins innovation award
- Open Door to Innovation
- Mix and Mash NZ 2011
- New website for Government ICT
- Contact the Office of the GCIO
- Meet the Office of the GCIO Agency Engagement team
- Government ICT Supply Management Office
Colin MacDonald Keynote Speech — GOVIS Conference, 18 June 2012
"Active collaboration — the road to better public services"
Colin MacDonald, Government Chief Information Officer
Thank you, Brenda, for that introduction. This is definitely a conference that government ICT people look forward to each year. I think a real strength of it is that GOVIS involves government people talking to government people.
The last time I spoke to GOVIS was two years ago when I was a member of the Government ICT Strategy Group, and was part of panel with Brendan Boyle and David Smol talking about the collective focus on government ICT. The message hasn't changed a lot, even through the direction we are heading in and the Government's expectations are somewhat different.
And last year we were very influenced by the Christchurch earthquakes and the lessons we had learned from them. There was a strong theme of 'working together' in those sessions, as well.
It's really encouraging and inspiring looking through the programme. I see a list of different people doing a lot of really innovative and exciting things. They might have originally developed these solutions for their own situations, but we can learn something from all of them. It's good to see the prominence given to open data and its reuse — a subject dear to my heart, and I’ll talk a little about that soon. And it’s also good to see the emphasis on the all-of-government ICT work led by the Office of the GCIO and how that will affect all agencies and give them some common capability.
So, there's been a theme over the years of cooperation. That's going to be part of my focus this morning, but I’ll also talk about how the environment for government ICT has changed and some of the things we need to do in response.
However, first I have an announcement to make.
As Brenda said, I am the chair of the Data and Information Re-use Chief Executives Steering Group. Today I am very pleased to release our first report on the Adoption of the Declaration on Open and Transparent Government.
Cabinet approved the Declaration on Open and Transparent Government in August last year — only 10 months ago — but we are seeing a genuine increase in the amount of data agencies are releasing for re-use. All government departments are starting to incorporate the Declaration into their core business. They have all assigned senior managers as data champions to lead this work. And something that is very encouraging for the ongoing success of this is that none of the departments have reported any insurmountable barriers to adopting the Declaration.
We are also finding that more businesses are working with departments to find new ways to share and re-use data. They are creating new smartphone apps and mashing up open government data from multiple departments and the private sector. A lot of this data is available through web services.
At this stage we are finding that most agencies are generally publishing or disseminating their data, rather than licensing and releasing high value data for re-use. However, this is a very encouraging start and the re-use of government data will only grow.
The report and the spreadsheets, which of course adhere to open data standards, are available on the ict.govt.nz website now. And I understand that the session on open data this afternoon is booked out. If you are going to it, you’ll hear more about the results of the survey and initiatives agencies are taking.
Looking wider than how we share our data, it’s obvious that the public service is facing some big changes. These are going to seriously challenge how we provide our services and how we work together to plan and implement our ICT programmes. One thing that is also going to change significantly is the leadership of government ICT.
The Directions and Priorities for Government ICT and Better Public Services provide the policy framework government ICT must deliver in.
The Government is looking for more coherent investment and management of ICT across service delivery, information, business processes and technical infrastructure. We’ve made some progress on utilising common capabilities, but we can and must do more. We know there are structural barriers to inter-agency collaboration, but the government has signalled it is prepared to shift some of these.
Much of the change is driven by the Government's priorities. It has certain expectations for how businesses and citizens interact with government and these are the driving force behind many of the initiatives we are currently advancing.
However, the Government is expecting more from us, and is expecting it to happen faster. Ministers have made their expectations clear at a policy level and they expect leadership from the public sector to deliver.
Changes are coming in the leadership of government ICT to make this happen. One of the biggest will be a requirement for agencies and officials to work together much more than we have been used to. Agencies will be part of this new approach by default. It is possible to opt out, but Ministers expect that the test for opting out will set the bar high. If too many of them can opt out, we won't get the progress we need.
I expect we will see more centralisation of the development of the strategic direction of government ICT, faster uptake of common capabilities, and agencies with common business objectives operating more of their ICT capability collectively in clusters.
A lot of this will centre around my role as Government Chief Information Officer. The changes in government ICT will be delivered collaboratively, but they will be centrally led — more so than they are now.
The current fiscal constraint we are all operating under is a significant factor in our approach. In the past year or so we have entered into a number of procurement contracts that are saving the government millions of dollars a year.
You’ll have heard about the infrastructure as a service contract that means agencies only pay for the infrastructure they use. That deal is expected to save up to $250 million over 10 years. And the all-of-government mobile voice and data contract will save up to $60 million over the next five years.
But these do more than save money — they introduce innovations and are a different way of planning and operating our ICT services. They, and other procurement contracts we are going to enter into, introduce common capabilities to the government. At a technology level, they are moving the public service into operating more as an integrated system, rather than a collection of individual agencies.
When the Prime Minister announced the Government’s Better Public Services programme in February, with the release of 10 priority areas the public service is expected to focus on, he started the wider public service along a path we have been moving along in government ICT. The priorities are: reducing long-term welfare dependency, supporting vulnerable children, boosting skills and employment, reducing crime and improving interaction with government. Agencies are expected to work together in these priority areas, each of which has a set of targets we are expected to meet.
Essentially, the Government expects us to be more responsive to the needs and expectations of people and communities, and be more willing to do things differently.
And the public’s expectations of us have changed. In many parts of their lives, they are making greater use of technology and on-line channels to access services they need. They are also less tied to their homes to do this. How many of you have a smart phone or tablet device? I bet a lot of you have both. People are more and more expecting to access our services when it suits them, not when it suits us.
They also expect that they won’t have to spend too much time trying to work out who provides the services they want. They expect a seamless and integrated experience as customers, and we often don’t give it to them.
This will bring some non-technical challenges — one of the biggest of which will be in the area of personal information.
There is a definite tension between using personal information to enable better public services and the protection of individual privacy.
There are changes coming to the Privacy Act that will make it easier for agencies to share information in situations where people's health and safety are at risk. However, these changes relate to extreme situations. What about the more routine situations, which are likely to be an important part of the more seamless experience we are trying to create for individuals dealing with government agencies?
This is going to be a significant challenge for us as we move to more seamless government services, and I've been encouraging a debate on society's approach to sharing information. It's something we need to discuss and be clear on as we introduce the changes we will make to public services.
To create this integrated, seamless experience for people dealing with the government we need to accelerate the government ICT programme. This programme aims to improve services to business and citizens, unlock value in the information we hold, optimise investment in service delivery and channels, and improve asset management. And in keeping with the collaboration approach, it is expected that we — the wider public service — will work as a single entity to achieve this.
At the moment, our current arrangements mean we have a plethora of systems, processes and service delivery channels that are largely in silos within individual agencies. This separation between agencies exposes citizens and businesses to the internal complexities of government. Currently, citizens and businesses have to act as the integration point across agencies and channels.
I'm sure we can all think of services where people have to deal with more than one agency to get an entitlement. Two I can think of from my time at Inland Revenue are student loans and Working for Families. If you want to apply for an accommodation supplement or childcare assistance under Working for Families you have to go through MSD. But if you want to apply for a family tax credit you have to apply to Inland Revenue. I know there are sound reasons why we have set that sort of system up, but it doesn't make it easy for the customer.
We are making some progress with integration initiatives. Services like one.govt, igovt and infrastructure as a service are starting to consolidate technology platforms. The business.govt.nz web portal and the Service Transformation programme are consolidating channels. However, they don't address the underlying complexities of the agency-centric systems.
The future is going to look very different. In the future, we need an approach where government deals with the complexity and presents an integrated face to citizens and businesses.
That means we need to look at how we can align our agencies' business processes and share technology platforms and data as much as possible. There are gains to be made from having standard approaches and common capability.
We already have some of the means to get there — igovt and the work on citizen-centric services will be part of the innovation at the service delivery level. Innovations in how agencies operate will lead to common business processes.
Standardisation, whether it’s of backend processes or technologies, will be the norm, rather than the exception.
The Service Transformation Programme is developing a new approach to delivering citizen-centric services that are designed around the needs of New Zealanders rather than the needs of agencies. There are now more than 20 agencies involved, which cover approximately 90 per cent of citizens’ transactions with government.
The programme envisages a significant shift of transactional services to the digital environment, which includes web sites, mobile phones and kiosks. The proposed digital environment will need to deliver a number of important outcomes. It needs to deliver digital services that are widely accessible to New Zealanders, and information that is easy to find and access. It needs to create simplified and connected services that operate across agency boundaries. It needs to increase transparency, participation and engagement, and to continuously reduce costs.
By the end of this month, the programme will have completed its investigation into what services are delivered though digital and non-digital channels and will understand agencies’ plans for migration of services. It will also build a more comprehensive view of New Zealanders’ preferences and requirements.
This is all crucial information for the action we will take to achieve the Government's results set out in the Better Public Services programme.
All the agencies responsible for the different priority areas in the Better Public Services programme have recently signed off their action plans for meeting the expected results and submitted them to Cabinet. I can tell you that it’s going to be pretty challenging work for us all. As part of the process the Service Transformation Programme went through to develop its action plan we developed a set of targets that particular agencies are expected to achieve. We have been working with these 20-odd agencies and have had very good engagement. There is a strong commitment to working together.
The targets that have been set are hard targets. However, we are building on what agencies are already doing or planning to do. It will be a stretch to reach some of these targets, but everyone is willing to work hard to achieve them and have given their commitment to do so.
You'll see the details of these action plans for the whole of the public service when they are released later this month. I'm sure many of you will be involved in this at a number of levels — developing policy, looking at service delivery, and the technological challenges to integrating service delivery channels — regardless of where you work.
Agencies are going to have to act differently in response to better public services. We are going to have to be less risk averse, while always remaining aware of the risks in any situation.
We are going to have to be 'fast followers' — certainly much faster than we are now. For some agencies, there is a yawning chasm between the off-the-shelf systems most of our staff work with every day, and what is available to them in their private lives. The current arrangements we have with some vendors have resulted in legacy systems that no longer suit our needs and which will cost a fortune to change. Being a fast follower is a matter of technology, attitude and the arrangements we have to make it possible to adapt quickly. Obviously, the changes we are making to procurement have an important role to play here.
This is also going to change your jobs. With the strong focus the Government has on better results and improved services, we are all expected to focus on the things that will make the real difference that Government and the public expect. The Better Public Services action plans will include the targets the Government expects us to reach. These are all measurable things that can make a real difference for people and businesses.
We are all going to have to work more across departmental boundaries. With government working as a more integrated system, organisational borders will matter less and become more porous. This presents many exciting opportunities for people in ICT and service delivery and design.
We also have to learn how to influence the business by posing the big questions that challenge assumptions we have — either personal or organisational assumptions that we will keep doing our own thing in the way we have been used to.
When did your organisation last have a serious discussion about why it has its own call centre? Or why you have your own financial management system? The information you are dealing with and the knowledge of the staff might be unique to your organisation, but the technology you use in these services is often not unique. As the people responsible for some of the biggest assets and investments your organisation makes, you need to be asking these questions.
In summary, we are heading into some very interesting times. The Government expects the public service to provide more seamless services to businesses, individuals and communities and deliver better results and improved services for New Zealanders.
Over the next two days you are going to be seeing and hearing about some wonderful initiatives your colleagues are working on in their agencies. I know how stimulating conferences like this can be and what a boost they can give you. When this session finishes, you'll hear about one such initiative that tackles a real and serious problem all government agencies and residents faced after the Christchurch earthquakes.
However, I'd encourage you to always keep in mind the bigger context of the changes we are making at a government-wide level, whether that is the Better Public Services Programme or the approach to government ICT. We are expected to work together more to achieve what the Government expects of us.
Good luck for the GOVIS conference. I'm sure it will be great success.