Technology | Innovation

Government has an ethical obligation to provide the best services to users

Government has an ethical obligation to provide the best services to users, Digital Transformation Office (DTO) CEO, Paul Shetler has told a CEDA audience in Melbourne.

“Although we’re not in a competitive market place we are judged by the standard of service the people have in everyday life and we do fall short,” he said.

“Because of the lack of choice…we have an ethical obligation to provide the best services we can to users…and to provide them in the fastest possible time.”

Currently there are about 1600 different websites at the Commonwealth level for government services which needs to be streamlined, he said.

“When people use government services they should be able to find what they want, quickly and easily,” he said.

The DTO is currently focussing on redesigning three areas of delivery for public services; starting a business, preparing for retirement and “becoming a grown-up” which includes getting tax file numbers and enrolling to vote, he said.

Mr Shetler said what has held government back from developing digital services is IT and expenditure issues.

“My view is many of the things which have held us back have been notions to do with IT and service delivery based around huge capital expenditures,” he said.

On government, Mr Shetler said it should be dynamic, agile and future thinking.

“We want a government that can respond quickly to change…we want a government that can learn from reality,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet Special Advisor Business Transactions Reform, Joanne de Morton said it is important to solve common barriers across all levels of government.

Ms de Morton said it is important to remember digitisation is about service reform.

“It’s actually about service reform rather than digitisation so making sure that what you protect is your capability to think about how services are designed and delivered as the primary thing,” she said.

In regards to security, privacy and identity Ms de Morton said people are willing to provide person information online: 

“If there’s a way that we can offer this that actually adds value and makes people’s life easier most people are quite generous with that (information),” she said.

Adventure Capital Founder and Managing Partner, Stuart Richardson said online engagement is happening at all age levels and we need to think of government and services as a platform.

“The ability for government to engage with citizens and deliver citizen services is obviously something that new businesses bump into regularly,” he said.
“The ability for government to engage in an open innovation approach gives them also the ability to explore how they engage not only with the citizen but also with corporations.”

Mr Richardson said leadership is important to drive the digitisation agenda and leadership must not only be shown but also put into action.