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DTA Australia reviewing standards for digital government services

The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) in Australia is reviewing the Digital Service Standard (the Standard) to make sure that it’s working for all the agencies and users- government service teams.

It is seeking feedback from agencies which have used the Standard in their work. Over the next few weeks DTA will also be conducting research interviews with a range of agencies and people who have used the Standard. The DTA is looking to understand what’s working well, what’s not working well and what barriers agencies may come across when they’re trying to use that Standard. During the review period, the Standard will continue to apply.

The Digital Service Standard has been live for 18 months. It applies to public facing Australian Government (federal) services owned by non-corporate Commonwealth entities. It is relevant for new and redesigned government services (information and transactional) and all high volume transactional services (for example, lodging a tax return online), existing or being designed/redesigned.

It is meant to ensure that digital teams build government services that are simple, clear and fast. All services which were designed or redesigned after 6 May 2016 fall within the scope of the standard and must be assessed against it.

The current version of the standard has 13 criteria:

  1. Understand user needs - Research to develop a deep knowledge of the users and their context for the service.
  2. Have a multidisciplinary team- Establish a sustainable multidisciplinary team to design, build, operate and iterate the service, led by an experienced product manager with decision-making responsibility.
  3. Agile and user-centred process- Design and build the service using the service design and delivery process, taking an agile and user-centred approach.
  4. Understand tools and systems- Understand the tools and systems required to build, host, operate and measure the service and how to adopt, adapt or procure them.
  5. Make it secure- Identify the data and information the service will use or create. Put appropriate legal, privacy and security measures in place.
  6. Consistent and responsive design- Build the service with responsive design methods using common design patterns and the style guide.
  7. Use open standards and common platforms- Build using open standards and common government platforms where appropriate.
  8. Make source code open- Make all new source code open by default.
  9. Make it accessible- Ensure the service is accessible to all users regardless of their ability and environment.
  10. Test the service- Test the service from end to end, in an environment that replicates the live version.
  11. Measure performance- Measure performance against KPIs set out in the guides. Report on public dashboard.
  12. Don’t forget the non-digital experience- Ensure that people who use the digital service can also use the other available channels if needed, without repetition or confusion.
  13. Encourage everyone to use the digital service- Encourage users to choose the digital service and consolidate or phase out existing alternative channels where appropriate.
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