Q & As on the Digital Service Standard

Since we released the Digital Service Standard, we’ve had some great questions from our community. The following pick up some of the common themes we’ve been asked about.

Q: Does the Standard just apply to Australian Government agencies? If so, what is the likelihood of it being adopted by other levels of government?

The Standard applies to all Australian Government (federal) agencies with in-scope services. We can’t speak for state, territory or local governments on adopting the Standard, but of course their digital strategies have the same intent - to deliver better services. The standard will be updated and improved to reflect emerging best practice, and we have a rich source of best practice examples coming from state-based services.

Q: What is the format of the plan that some agencies need to provide by September, and what does the plan need to cover?

Digital Transformation Plans will outline how agencies will transform their services in line with the Standard. This includes when agencies will have their high volume services available digitally and when they will commence adoption of common services such as the MyGov authentication or a digital mailbox.

The plans will also provide basic data required for benchmarking. Over time, this will enable us to publish a dashboard showing how the government’s digital transformation is progressing.

We have a team working on this with the Digital Transformation Coordinators; the people within agencies supporting the implementation of the agenda and the development of the plans.

Q: After agencies submit their plans, how long do they have to conform with the criteria in the standard?

All new or improved services must meet the Standard from July 2015. Plans will describe how agencies will adopt the Standard and deliver more user-centred services by 2017 and beyond.

The Digital Service Standard is about ongoing and continuous improvement in the way we design and deliver our services to be user centred, easy, simple and convenient.

Q: How does the design standard apply to mobile devices/apps?

Mobile apps are a digital delivery channel, so the Standard applies. However, an app should only be developed if the user needs research supports the need for one. All services need to be usable from any device, so services using an app will need to provide alternative access points. There is some initial guidance in How to apply the Standard that we will update over the coming months in creating a Digital Service Design Guide.

Q: How does the standard apply to ‘push’ channels like social media? For example, tweets could count as government transactions or information services so would Twitter be covered?

Most social media use by government is to direct people to a website or an app where the transaction occurs. The existing government guidelines around the use of social media still apply and will be incorporated into our design guidance.

Q: What’s the deadline for the Digital Service Design Guide that is being developed with agencies to help them implement the standard?

We’ve already published parts of what will become the Guide in the material supporting the Standard on our website. Over the next couple of months we’ll keep adding to that guidance. At the end of June we’ll re-publish this as ‘the Guide’ and then add further guidance as issues emerge.

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