In the first article in this series, we explored the opportunity for governments to seize the moment and reset services underpinned by a focus on design, digital and data. In this second article, we investigate how governments can create the foundation for this new thinking.
Australia’s great digital reset requires a shift in the fundamental concept of government, re-aligning services to focus on specific communities or individual needs as the preliminary step.
Government departments have been aligned along their key policy areas for a long time; this traditional, policy-based structure endures within most countries. There are several good reasons for this: It helps align policy with service delivery with a clear line of sight of accountability and enables organisations to build deep understanding within their specialist areas.
However, these models aren’t as effective at meeting the needs of communities or individuals. There are many instances where people can be passed between one organisation and another, or simply ‘fall between the cracks’ of entrenched organisational boundaries. This can happen at a delivery level where citizens need to contact multiple agencies to solve an issue or inform government of a change in circumstances. It can also happen at a system level where a lack of investment by one agency in a citizen cohort can inadvertently drive increased service demands in other agencies over time.
Tackling these challenges is more than just a better citizen service experience. It is better for the individual to get the service they need when they want it, but it is also better for society – helping to ensure a more efficient distribution of government resources in the long-run and creating safer, fairer and healthier outcomes.
Standard model for exploring society centred design
To achieve better citizen and societal outcomes, it is helpful to consider a simple service value chain consisting of functions that broadly relate to service commissioning (including strategy, investment and system design) and those that relate to delivery (including implementation, access and service delivery), summarised as: