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Local Government Transformation

pwd staff OLIVER WOOD
Oliver Wood

|2nd July 2022

Election woes highlight digital transformation opportunity

When you consider Western Australia and its vastness, it is the perfect candidate for moving government services and voting to a robust online format sooner rather than later.

Not only would this better serve those in remote communities, but it also increases the ability to include those in our community who are immobile, elderly or living with disability. Voting challenges experienced through the Federal election are a reminder we need action on this issue. While many of us are only experiencing these difficulties in pandemic times, it is a struggle many vulnerable people have been dealing with silently for decades. Security technology similar to facial recognition and thumbprint verifications smart device users are accustomed to could build integrity into a digital voting system; both increasing the efficiency of the process and reducing the significant cost burden of filling more than 100,000 temporary staffing roles.

But this isn’t limited to voting process and can be applied to a range of services. Convenience and flexibility could be unearthed through a government-led digital revolution that would dually integrate significant efficiencies and help governments keep costs down. At a Federal level, the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has been established to oversee what is hoped to be a world leading digital transformation, promising the introduction of responsive policy, reduced red tape and greater flexibility. The DTA’s vision according to its strategy document is for Australia to “be one of the top 3 digital governments in the world by 2025.”

As part of this work, the agency will deliver personalised user experience where services are organised around individuals’ needs and life events, as well as the opportunity to engage on personally important issues. While this may be an ambitious target, it is a positive step forward our new Labor leadership must seriously invest in. Setting lofty goals means that even if it falls short, we are still propelling the nation forward – and it is the way we need to go – and changes are already in the works. Testing is currently in progress in NSW for the world’s first digital birth certificates, improving accessibility and security. The biggest challenge to achieve total digital transformation will be to bring the disparate systems from the different levels of government into one place. It’s going to be a big shift.

We anticipate younger generations will be more accepting of the digital revolution, but older generations or those who are less tech literate will likely be more resistant and wary of their information moving online. The key will be in building simple, user-friendly interfaces designed with accessibility in mind. It also requires governments to build public trust in these systems, by placing a key focus on security and integrity. This change can be achieved through a phased approach with the right support in place, allowing everyone to benefit from improved user interactions with government services they rely on. Looking at going digital but not sure where to start? Get in touch.