NSW looks to market for solutions to wicked problems

A new procurement platform to be launched on 31 May is part of a broader approach to making it easier to do business with the NSW Government, its most senior ICT executive says.

The NSW Government’s buy.nsw procurement platform, which is to be launched at the end of this month, aims to “take the friction out of connecting buyers and sellers,” according to Dawn Routledge, acting government information and digital officer.

But it also signals how the State Government is trying to “apply the principles of digital transformation to procurement processes,” she says, adding the aim is to have robust but faster on-boarding for vendors and single registration to sell to different government agencies.

In addition, the government’s digital.nsw website creates visibility around the pipeline of digital projects and activities across government, “which again is something our suppliers often talk about,” Ms Routledge told the CeBIT conference last week.

“There are nearly 150 projects accessible via that site,” she said.

During consultations on ways to nurture innovation, industry said it wanted more of an opportunity to help solve problems confronting government, Ms Routledge said.

“In other words, put the problems to market and tap into the innovation in the supply chain and the start-up space.”

That prompted the government to launch its innovation challenges in which a range of stakeholders including researchers, non-government agencies, corporates and start-ups pitch ideas to help tackle social challenges.

One of these is the youth employment innovation challenge, which seeks to find new ways to help young people aged 15 to 24 to find work.

“We’ve had 30 applicants who have been shortlisted. There was a pitch session earlier in the month and from that process we’ll identify the strongest ideas and then we’ll start supporting them through an incubation process,” she said.

The program ran twice last year with challenges seeking new ideas on accessible cities and ways to reduce domestic violence reoffending rates.

One of the ideas that came through the domestic violence challenge is now at pilot stage and had been garnering interest from other areas, Ms Routledge said.

The digital.nsw website outlines the pipeline of projects.

Digital licences

Elsewhere, the NSW Government is now moving to roll out digital driver licences across the state following a trial in Dubbo that has seen 1,400 take part since November.

Some 140,000 digital licences have been issued since the government started its digital licences work in 2016 in areas such as fishing, boating and responsible service of alcohol, Ms Routledge said.

Last Monday the NSW Government confirmed it will introduce legislation into parliament this month to enable state-wide rollout of digital driver licences.

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