‘Little annoyances’ remain for users.
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wp_term_taxonomy.term_id = '16720',2,1 ),0 ) ) <> 1 ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 0, 14 [posts] => Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27225 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-25 15:19:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-25 05:19:03 [post_content] => Last weekend’s myGov makeover has improved the troubled website but has the federal government missed an opportunity to cheer up myGov users after all the past frustrations they have endured? In a joint announcement last week, Digital Transformation Minister Angus Taylor and Human Services Minister Alan Tudge, said the website overhaul made myGov easier to navigate, less information dense and more responsive when accessed on smartphones and tablets. The government claimed that it was now easier for users to sign in and to unlock their own accounts when they had been suspended, reducing incorrect logins by 37 per cent. The changes were ostensibly in response to the rapid expansion of the numbers of people using myGov, around ten million, while log-ins doubled over the last two years to 242,000 per day. The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) said it had conducted ‘hundreds of hours of research’ into the experiences of users and responded to their complaints, including that myGov used difficult language, complex instructions and frequently left them locked out of their accounts. Joe Russell, Director of User Engagement at Victorian company Buzinga, which specialises in web and mobile app development, acknowledged the changes were positive but said that the government had missed the chance to speed up and really improve the experience for users. “It is basically functional: finally. Before it was hard to do any of the core things it was meant to do,” Mr Russell said. “It’s easier to use, yes, but there are still major issues. I wouldn’t call it a huge leap. “Reducing incorrect logins by 37 per cent. I wouldn’t have thought that was something to brag about. Being able to log in is an assumption you make when you go into any site.” While the DTA website talks about ‘reimagining’ the user experience and putting users’ needs first, Mr Russell said this had not been done to any great extent. He said simple fixes that could have streamlined things for users had been ignored, such as not having to enter the same data twice and the cursor automatically moving to the next field to enter data. Another deficiency was the lack of loading indicators after users submitted a form, so they were unsure of whether the form was loading or not. This often led to users hitting the back button and resetting and clearing fields they had already completed. Mr Russell questioned whether the project had carried out sufficient usability testing. This is where an ‘average’ user is given tasks to complete while they are timed and any difficulties noted and comments taken on board to measure their experience and suggest improvements. “It does what it claims to do. It’s an improvement, I will give them that” but he said the DTA had missed the chance to speed up user interaction with myGov and make data entry easier and faster. “Usability testing could have solved these small things. This is basic best practice,” he said. “All these little annoyances can be resolved and hopefully will be next time.” The DTA has said the website changes were a result of extensive research conducted in more than 20 metropolitan, regional and rural locations. The agency’s website says this research included usability testing, as well as visits to shopfront sites, support staff interviews and testing with users of assistive technology. A DTA spokesperson said that any changes needed to be carefully considered and tested with users. "A sensible approach, and one that's consistent with the Digital Service Standard, is to make iterative improvements based on user research," said the spokesperson. "The latest release builds on changes made last year. User research is continuing and will guide future improvements." But just as myGov’s usability had not come on in leaps and bounds, Mr Russell said the look and feel of the website had changed slightly but was not ground breaking, “It’s basically black text on a white background. It’s as vanilla as you can get”, he said. Nor was replacing service icons with text a positive change for people who were visually impaired, elderly or dyslexic and he disagreed with the assertion that member services logos and the Australian Government crest were more prominent. MyGov was launched in 2013 to provide a single access point for ten different agencies providing services including Medicare, tax, Centrelink, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and My Health Record. The rollout which occurred last weekend, was a joint project between the Department of Human Services, the Digital Transformation Agency and the Australian Tax Office. It seems that the question posed on the DTA website, ‘what could good look like’ has morphed into ‘what could barely adequate look like’? Further comment from DTA and DHS to follow. [post_title] => MyGov verdict: functional (just) [post_excerpt] => ‘Little annoyances’ remain for users. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => mygov-verdict-functional-just [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-25 16:41:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-25 06:41:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27225 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27216 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-25 05:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-24 19:00:00 [post_content] => Bendigo Council's Presentation and Assets Director Craig Lloyd with Clean Cube. Pic: supplied. A solar waste compactor that functions with an ordinary household wheelie bin will be trialled by a Victorian council keen to increase bin capacity, cut costs and reduce the number of rubbish collections the council makes. The City of Greater Bendigo Council is currently trialling Clean Cube, a smart waste compactor which runs on renewable solar energy and tells you when it is full. The Clean Cube was developed by Korean start-up company Ecube and it can hold a 120 or 240 litre bin. Bendigo Council’s Australian supplier is Smart City Solutions. City of Greater Bendigo Presentation and Assets Director Craig Lloyd said it could help reduce the cost of waste collection. “By reducing the frequency of collections there is the potential to reduce the costs and labour associated with providing waste collection services to public areas by up to 80 per cent,” Mr Lloyd said. “It’s important to look at the new technology that exists to see if it’s viable for our community.” He said the Clean Cube used smart technology and multiple sensors to measure the bin’s fill level in real time. “The sensors trigger the automatic compaction of waste inside the bin and by doing this the capacity of the bin is increased by up to eight times meaning it doesn’t have to be emptied as often,” Mr Lloyd said. “However when it is full, the Clean Cube electronically notifies the city’s waste collection staff that it needs to be emptied.” Mr Lloyd said the compactor’s smart technology also included safety features that could detect sudden temperature rises, such as a fire in the bin. Using the compactor bins at events would also reduce overflowing and litter. Ecube Labs’ online marketing manager, Matti Juutinen, told IoTAustralia in June last year that the cube can hold up to eight times more rubbish than traditional bins. “We are the only company in the industry to offer an ultrasonic fill-level sensor (with 10 years battery life) and a smart solar-powered waste compacting bin on a single real-time monitoring platform that generates optimised schedules and routes based on fill-level forecasting,” Mr Juutinen said. He said the compactor could go for two to three weeks without sunlight once fully charged. Charging it takes three to four days if there has been at least four hours of sunlight on each day. The Clean Cube is being trialled at Lake Weeroona, the city’s most popular recreation area, until June 13. [post_title] => Korean solar waste compactor could slash councils' rubbish collection costs [post_excerpt] => Victorian council trials Clean Cube. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => vic-council-trials-korean-solar-waste-compactor-slash-rubbish-collection-costs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-25 16:23:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-25 06:23:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27216 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27207 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-24 12:33:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-24 02:33:44 [post_content] => An audit of underperformance in eight Commonwealth agencies and departments, including the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), has found there is ‘significant room for improvement’ in dealing with poor performers and that managers avoided tackling the problem and encouraged workers to take redundancy or retire instead. The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) looked into underperformance of eight federal government agencies and departments between 2012 and 2016, including the Attorney-General’s Department; Australian Taxation Office; Department of Agriculture and Water Resources; Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; Department of Social Services; Department of Veterans’ Affairs; IP Australia; and the National Film and Sound Archive. These eight were chosen to provide a mix of size and function, as well as a mix of how they had been rated for managing poor performers by their staff. The audit focused on how well agencies managed underperformance through policies, procedures and management practices and said it was important to address because weak performance management could impact negatively on productivity, efficiency and morale. “In most agencies underperformance is not being accurately identified and the proportion of employees undergoing structured underperformance processes is very low in all agencies," said the report, although it found that where it was addressed agencies stuck to procedural fairness. “Probation processes are not generally used robustly to test the suitability of newly appointed employees (except in the Australian Taxation Office and the National Film and Sound Archive).” The Audit Office said managers should not rely on encouraging badly performing staff to take redundancies or opt for retirement, “while these may be cost-effective approaches in situations of excess staffing or in particularly complex cases they should not be used to replace or undermine ongoing, robust underperformance management procedures.” The number of staff going through structured underperformance processes was 'very low', with the lowest rate of the eight departments being 0.03 per cent of staff at the ATO. The highest was the National Film and Sound Archive at 0.28 per cent. It said management culture and the lack of support and training for senior and middle managers were the main barriers in dealing with underperformance in the workplace, noting an unwillingness to tackle poor performers, give feedback or set clear expectations from some managers. Staff perceptions of how well government departments and agencies were doing were also unfavourable. Between 70 to 84 per cent of staff thought their department did not do a good job of managing substandard workers, although around half considered their supervisors did a decent job. It acknowledged that the causes of underperformance could be complex and include mental health or physical problems and personal issues as well as lax recruitment processes that fail to hire the right person for the job. Access to training and development could also play a role. Main findings
- Managers often avoided addressing underperformance, mainly due to lack of support, capability or incentives to do so
- Managers shied away from confronting poor performers, relying instead on redundancies or retirement, against Australian Public Service Commission guidelines
- The performance management process was being underused to manage poor performers
- Probation procedures were deficient in every agency
- Underperformance policies needed cleaning up and the procedures managing senior staff should be made more transparent
- Managers in every agency need to make a stronger commitment to dealing with poor performance, including setting clear expectations and giving feedback to staff
- More commitment from managers to tackle poor performance, rather than using retirement or redundancy
- Better training and support needed for managers, including the early involvement of an HR professional to help
- Clearer guidelines to make it easier for managers to identify inadequate performance
- Holding managers more accountable for the way they manage underperformance
- Improve the performance management framework with more ‘check-ins’ between managers and staff
- Leadership and public support by government, ministers and agency heads to create processes and a culture that encourage the release and sharing of data
- Legislation that sets out the rights and responsibilities governing access, sharing and protection of data for those who want the data and those who keep it. For example, the UK, US and France have mandated that data be open by default and be machine-readable and in in a standardised format
- Policies to guide agency and staff decisions and priorities around open data and privacy, data security and collaboration
- Regulations to provide certainty and to set expectations and obligations, as well as providing oversight and punishing non-compliance. These should balance rights to data with concerns over privacy and anticipating risk
- Promoting culture and collaboration that supports open data within government and with the public, for example co-operation between agencies and between international, national and sub-national levels of government
- Developing strategies to make data open, including funding open data, sharing success stories and engaging communities and individuals, for example the UKAuthority.
- Publish a complete catalogue of all datasets, including restricted datasets
- Moving from a legislative framework authorising data release to one that proactively encourages it
- Mandating departments to open specific datasets and set quotas for datasets to force collaboration
- Identify which datasets are important economic drivers for growth in regional areas and prioritise these
- Mandate departments to create machine-readable standardised formats for datasets to allow analytics and linked data applications
- Explicitly fund departments opening up high-value datasets in machine-readable format
- Adopt an anticipatory regulatory approach that promotes open data but ensures ongoing evaluation and assessment of security and privacy risks
- Develop in-depth guidelines on anonymisation and de-identification
- Identify workforce skills/knowledge gaps and opportunities to work with local government and other government agencies
- Adopt an incubator model where an open data company is embedded with an agency to co-develop ideas and applications on models, or engage with entities such as Code for Australia to bring in ideas and expertise
Victorian council trials Clean Cube.
Poor performers encouraged to resign or retire.
Users double over two years.
Don’t make us fight each other for jobs.
Former NSW Roads Minister retires.
Randwick Council’s late legal challenge.
Penalties of up to $1.8m for serious breaches.
Sydney’s inner-west services to go private.
Promoting a culture of open data and data sharing.
Prescription rules hold patients up.
Financial assistance grants unfrozen.
Accusations of racism and snobbery.