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GOV.AU — the new kid on the block

Currently at Alpha stage (with a prototype available), GOV.AU will bring together content from hundreds of government websites. The Beta version is scheduled for later this year and will be integrated with govCMS.

Salsa Digital 22 April 2016


On 23 March the Digital Transformation Office (DTO) launched its first Alpha version of GOV.AU, a new website portal that aims to make accessing online services easier and faster for Aussie citizens. “People shouldn’t have to understand the structure of government in order to get things done, so we need to create a new way of organising our information and services that meets the needs of our users. That is what GOV.AU will do,”saidDTO’s Head of Service Design, Leisa Reichelt in a DTO blog on 21 March.

The discovery phase included detailed analysis of user patterns and identified four main entry points into government content:

  1. Department and agency entry points – used when people know which department they need to contact.

  2. Topic-based entry points (category) – when users are looking for information on a topic.

  3. Transition entry points – used when people need a service that has multiple stages across several government departments.

  4. Deep-linked content (URLs) – for very specific content searches.

(Taken from DTO blog GOV.AU’s content model explained.)

“Our vision is that everyone who needs to use government services should be able to find what they need to get it done quickly and easily,” Radi Kovacevic said in his presentation at the GOV.AU Q&A on 6 April 2016.

The prototype

The prototype focuses on three types of transactions/services:

  1. Starting a business

  2. Becoming an approved business sponsor (for an overseas skilled worker)

  3. Applying for an Australian work visa.

The prototype also provides examples of more static content, with sample pages for the Department of Communications and the ArtsDepartment of Industry, Innovation and Science and two ministers’ sites — The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP and The Hon Angus Taylor MP.

According to Reichelt, “The prototype’s purpose is to explore design patterns that could be used widely across government.”

The platform (GOV.AU and govCMS)

Soon after the launch there was a lot of discussion (and media coverage) around how GOV.AU would/could work with govCMS. There was even media speculation that the DTO and the Department of Finance were ‘at war’! However, the DTO always stressed that GOV.AU was NOT a platform. On 19 April they announced that govCMS would ‘underpin’ the Beta GOV.AU website and that: “In the near future, agencies will author content using govCMS and it will be published on the GOV.AU Beta website.”

DTO CEO Paul Shetler calls GOV.AU a “service design approach” (whereas govCMS is a content management system).

Salsa Digital’s take

GOV.AU is a great example of service unification — an essential part of digital transformation in government. We’re also thrilled by the recent announcement regarding the use of govCMS to build the Beta GOV.AU site. It’s a fantastic demonstration of agencies working together to come up with one solution. And, of course, it’s no secret that we’re huge fans of govCMS here at Salsa.

We’re looking forward to the Beta release of GOV.AU later this year and to continuing our work with government agencies that are signing up for govCMS and reaping the rewards. Now it will be even easier for them to be part of the future in digital delivery in Australia…GOV.AU.

DTO background

The DTO was created by in July 2015 as part of the Prime Minister’s portfolio. Its mission is simple: to “lead the transformation of government services”. The DTO is currently working on a variety of projects, including the GOV.AU portal.

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