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For government organisations needing support to maintain critical digital services during COVID-19, email gcdo@dia.govt.nz

It’s difficult to keep information accurate and up to date. Especially with government organisations, as things are changing all the time. When Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission (PSC) – formerly State Services Commission (SSC) – released their open dataset in June 2020, it was a great opportunity to incorporate this authoritative data into our processes for checking and updating the information we provide on Govt.nz.

We’ve used PSC’s dataset to validate details on the A–Z list of government state sector agencies on Govt.nz, and we are putting in place an alert if any agency information changes so we can quickly update it.

See the information this dataset contains: Agency name open dataset – ready for reuse!

The data is stored publicly on data.govt.nz and accessed via an Application Programming Interface (API).

The approach

We wanted to find a way to automatically check differences in organisational and Māori names, to make sure the information on our A–Z list is correct. We matched fields between the data and our system, and created a report that would show us if things didn’t match.

We found that by adding the “OrgID” field from the PSC dataset into Govt.nz’s organisational directory, we could quickly match organisations.

Once this field was added, we generated a report that showed us what matched, and what didn’t. Then the team could update organisational details in our A–Z list. We were also able to feed back to PSC some things we found in the data that will need to be updated on the authoritative dataset.

We’ll continue to refine this repeatable process, but this is a really good starting point.

The outcome

We updated details for over 50 government organisations and added another 15 organisations to our A–Z list.

This has improved the accuracy of our A–Z list of government organisations, which will help to promote a higher level of trust with our users.

This work contributes to our commitment to open government and to the delivery of the Strategy for a Digital Public Service. The Strategy advises government organisations that we should use open datasets to help us better deliver services to the public.

What’s next

We’re working on automating the reporting so that email notifications will be generated about any information that changes and needs updating.

We’re also going to investigate other authoritative government datasets that we can use to keep our information accurate and up to date.

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