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NSW to Roll Out COVID-19 Check-In Card

The NSW government will introduce a COVID-Safe check-in card that can be scanned at supermarkets and shops as an alternative to smartphone check-ins. The Digital and Customer Service Minister for NSW stated that customers will be able to register for the card via the Service NSW website, download and print it or have a plastic card mailed out.

Contact details will be stored within a QR code on the card, which will populate the web form when scanned by the business. The card will make checking in faster and safer and put an end to manual check-ins.

The aim is to ensure the COVID-Safe check-in is as safe and as accessible as possible, which is why the government is introducing the COVID-19 check-in card. The Minister noted that the days of seeking out somewhere to manually sign in with pen and paper should be an absolute last resort.

Meanwhile, the government has also introduced updates to the Service NSW app.

The first means people will be able to choose to extend their app login time by up to four hours removing the need to constantly re-enter their PIN. It also means they won’t have to remove masks to re-activate face IDs so often. The second enhancement to the app will allow people to review their check-in history and add or amend check out times. The additional features will be available from mid-August 2021.

According to another article, the NSW government is exploring whether it can integrate federal COVID-19 immunisation records into its Service NSW app. The potential integration comes as it also moves ahead with its plan to have a digital birth certificate prototype ready by the end of the year.

Once NSW begins to open up after lockdown, it is expected that some types of venues will require patrons to provide proof of vaccination in addition to checking in via a QR code, on top of requiring ID if they’re an establishment like a nightclub. This type of experience is already required in some countries overseas that have begun opening up.

With the digital version, all citizens would need to do is show their digital birth certificate and a QR code and if a proof is required for record-keeping purposes, recipients would get a generated log number that proves that a person has validated their certificate with them.

This would mean that third parties don’t actually store original birth certificates, which the minister said was another way of protecting digital identities.

On another front, the Minister remained optimistic that NSW’s own services would one day act as a portal into federal government services and vice versa. NSW is working with the federal government on this.

The NSW government is being enabled to use technology to work in new ways and solve problems that weren’t solvable in the past. Digital transformation is about:

  • technology and processes that allow agencies to be agile and fast – websites, apps or code and being creative in our approach to solving problems
  • rethinking how to use new capabilities to improve customer service – evidence based on a problem experienced by a user, rather than based on assumptions of those tasked with solving it
  • being open to evaluating your entire way of doing business – rethinking and redesigning the processes and interactions between customers and government from the ground up
  • Contributing to new frontiers of value – not just taking paper forms and putting them online or building apps or websites.

Thus, the new COVID-Safe check-in card is meant to hasten NSW’s digital journey and enable business and the public to return to a similar normal as soon as possible.

However, the government is also mindful of outliers within the population. Thus, the Minister’s department recently decided to roll out physical QR codes for checking in, because of feedback received from the community about those without smartphones.

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