Dominello plots NSW govt website chop to delete ‘digital clutter’

December 9, 2019 Off By

Fewer, more consistent websites from next year.

NSW customer service minister Victor Dominello has hinted future plans to drastically reduce the state’s vast number of government websites in order to improve how citizens access information.

Dominello revealed the planned consolidation of websites, likely to begin next year, ahead of the fifth meeting of the Australian Digital and Data Council at the Sydney Startup Hub on Friday.

“My frustration is there’s a whole lot of websites and government, and quite frankly, it’s just digital clutter,” he told iTnews at a breakfast gathering with technology media and startups.

“And how is that a good experience for any person in our state trying to navigate their way through government, which is hard enough at the best of times.”

While Dominello was tight-lipped on the details of the proposal, he said the project was an “easy win” and would look to eliminate websites that are rarely used or don’t track citizen sentiment.

It will also help ensure those websites that are used have a similar look and feel, similar to the way the state’s digital design system is keeping government services consistent.

“When you look at the websites, some of them were build five, six, ten years ago. Who knows what the traction is, what the traffic is, whether people like it,” he said.

“So what I want I do is, if there are good websites where you get lots of traffic and you get great feedback, keep going.

“All we need to do is just standardise it or … consolidate as much as we can so it’s one experience, but there might be [the need for] some really standalone [websites].”

Dominello said the website consolidation will also leverage the government’s planned ‘tell us once’ functionality, which is a central component of the state’s new digital and customer strategy.

It is not understood whether the initiative will take the shape of single, whole-of-government website or simply mandate website consistency among departments and agencies.

The NSW government had previously ruled out adopting a single government website because it was considered, in the words of former chief information and digital officer Damon Rees, “yesterday’s paradigm”.

But this was just after the Digital Transformation Agency’s project for a single, whole-of-government website, gov.au, was dumped by the federal government.

Since then, however, other states such as South Australia and Victoria have since introduced single government websites, underpinned by government-wide content management systems.