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Last December, the New Zealand Government’s digital service standard (DSS) was published on with the intent of setting out best practice principles for the design and delivery of government services. An online consultation on DSS opened on 15 Feb and will run until the end of March.

Approach to the standard

The DSS is based on 10 principles that define how we want to deliver and operate services:

  1. Be clear about what you are trying to achieve.
  2. Understand ongoing user need from user’s points of view.
  3. Establish a diverse multidisciplinary team.
  4. Build a team culture that is adaptive, service oriented and collaborative.
  5. Plan and resource for continuous and frequent improvement.
  6. Be inclusive and provide equitable services.
  7. Understand and address security and privacy needs proportionate to risk.
  8. Work in the open.
  9. Reuse and enable reuse by others.
  10. Be accountable to the public.

We’re trying to follow these principles as well as apply them in a New Zealand context. We’ve borrowed from similar guidance in other countries, adapted the advice and have published them so that we can have a conversation about what the New Zealand DSS should cover.

Where it fits in the grand scheme of things

Anyone who’s worked in the public sector for a while will not be surprised by any of these principles since they’re also reflected in the:


With its focus on all-of-government issues through the Government Chief Digital Officer (GCDO), the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has taken on the role of drafting and publishing this standard. The aim is to make sure that it meets the needs of all users: government agencies, vendors, contractors, and anyone who needs to navigate government websites. DIA is taking a consultative approach and comments from all stakeholders are taken into account.

As part of this consultation, we’re testing out a New Zealand-based, open source collaboration tool called Loomio, which will let us moderate the online discussion, share information and explore implementation issues identified by participants.  The DSS consultation is open to anyone who wants to participate; you just need a valid email address to join. If you want to join as part of your organisation and as an individual, that’s fine too. We’ve set up a few threads to get things started, but feel free to add your own topics.

There’s also some guidance to help you learn your way around Loomio and an invite to introduce yourself to the group. But if you have any questions, just give us a shout at and we’ll get things sorted for you.

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