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If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

African proverb

At the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), we've had some cracking strategies over the past decade. Rethink Online and the Web Consolidation Strategic Assessment have both had some sensible, well thought out ideas like bringing information and services together around people’s needs and creating centres of excellence to help share digital skills. Yet these ideas about how should we structure and manage the government web domain have never been implemented.

Strategies come and go and we (government) continue to create more websites and invest in web ‘refreshes’ with no co-ordinated planning, investment or governance across the whole domain. This isn’t a criticism. It’s enough of an achievement to just get stuff done, complete that project, launch that website, without thinking about what’s the best thing we can do at a system level.

What can we do about it?

Right now we’ve got another chance to workshop our ideas about delivering websites, and what it’s like to find and use government information. This is critical if we want to test the most valuable direction we can take the web domain in. Alongside we will acknowledge what changes to the system we need, to be able to actually implement a strategy (e.g. system requirements such as leadership, governance, operating model, funding, standards and guidance, incentives for agencies to work across the system, and culture change).

Start small, test & learn

In the Government Information Services team at DIA, we’ve seen a repeated need to bring together government information which is about the workings of government. This includes annual reports, statements of intent, policy, standards and guidance. It’s often work that government has to do, but it takes time away from its primary focus of service delivery, yet it’s critical to open and transparent government. It also provides opportunities for sharing and reuse that could deliver significant efficiency benefits to government agencies.

Ideas for testing this out could include:

  • aggregating government’s accountability documents
  • creating a platform for short-lived websites
  • reduce the impact of ‘machinery of government’ changes (when new agencies are formed or disbanded) on agencies (new domain names and website changes) and on people
  • making better use of data sharing opportunities e.g. sharing authoritative lists like government agency names, contact details, people in roles.

Want to get involved?

It would be brilliant if you could come along, share your ideas and help select what we’re going to test.

If you’re outside of government and want to participate, get in touch by email and we can arrange a separate meetup.

Date: 23 March 2017 Time: 12–2pm Place: Poutama Ruma, Archives NZ, Mulgrave St.

Please RSVP.

There will be snacks.

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