In December 2016, 4 agencies launched SmartStart, the first-ever government ‘life event’ project — a new approach where government services are based on key events in people’s lives, rather than how government agencies are set up.
Government information and support online in 1 place
SmartStart is an online tool aimed at parents and caregivers about to have a baby. It gives people online access to integrated government information and support related to each phase of pregnancy and the first 6 months of early childhood development.
Using SmartStart, an expectant parent can create a profile and add their due date to personalise the timeline with key dates that align with the important tasks they need to complete, such as choosing a lead maternity carer and ordering a birth certificate.
Parents and caregivers can get tips on keeping themselves and the baby healthy and safe, as well as contact details for organisations that offer help and support.
People using SmartStart can also complete specific tasks online such as registering the birth of a new baby.
As part of the same process, users can consent to sharing their baby’s registration information with Inland Revenue to apply for an Inland Revenue number for their baby and with the Ministry of Social Development to update their benefit entitlement details.
Soon, the tool will be adapted so people can view the location of nearby services such as antenatal classes and breastfeeding support.
Collaboration between government agencies and with service providers
SmartStart was collaboratively designed by the Department of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Social Development, Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Health to give people 1 place to go for the range of trusted, authoritative government information they need when they’re about to have a baby.
Developed in under 6 months, the project was developed with input from Plunket New Zealand and the New Zealand College of Midwives who were key advisors throughout.
Innovation through collaboration, technology and people
The goal of SmartStart is to save soon-to-be parents and caregivers time and effort by eliminating the need to call or drop into various agencies, fill out paperwork and provide the same identity information repeatedly to different agencies.
As a tool, it represents a significant break away from the model government agencies typically use to provide information and support to New Zealanders.
Designing government services collaboratively, using technology and with a focus on key events in a person’s life aims to make government services more accessible, affordable and easier to use for everyone.
In its 1st year SmartStart clocked up more than 170,000 users. The plan is to continue developing the tool by gathering customer feedback and, where needed, expanding the information and support covered by the tool.
SmartStart is the 1st of many more government ‘life event’ projects either under way or in the pipeline.