Service ACT – Developing a Service Framework for an Entire Government

  • 2015

  • Service
    Public Sector Services

Designed By:

  • Design Managers Australia (DMA)

Commissioned By:

ACT Government

Service ACT Team, Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate (CMTEDD)

Designed In:


Service ACT transforms the strategic approach to the delivery of services for an entire government. With Chief Minister and Treasury, DMA re-framed what ‘one-Government’ means in the ACT by collaboratively developing a suite of strategic frameworks and conceptual models to support service delivery across the many arms of government. The work focused on defining service and user types, visualising an entire Government service system from a user perspective and provided a principle framework for the design and delivery of current and future services, resulting in a shared language for decision-making on service design and delivery across Government and an agreed and shared philosophy on user experience.

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  • Service ACT's goal is to enable a consistent user experience of Government regardless of the multiple arms of delivery; as such it was critical for the design process to be undertaken collaboratively both across Government and with users of the services. Collaboration was crucial as each business unit has its own culture, definition of user and service and the design process led to an integration of this language and approach. Our 'Clarify-Explore-Synthesise-Define' method utilised a series of ethnographically-based interviews and prototyping workshops, along with the incorporation of findings from related user-based projects, in order to develop thinking tools for service deliverers.

  • The design of public sector services is not always positive for the user or service deliverer. The measure of the experience in a public service is that the intent of the Government body or policy is met and that the user is able to achieve their goals within that. In supporting policy intent and ensuring the resulting services are designed to help users achieve their goals, Service ACT delivered a principle framework that demands all services are user-centred, simplified, inclusive, connected, sustainable and supported. This framework has already proven to provide significant value to the end-user of ACT Government services - residents, businesses and service partners.

  • Service ACT is leading major change in the approach to service design and delivery. For that reason execution of the concept needed to occur through a formal Implementation Roadmap that was supported by all arms of Government. Support was generated by working closely with Government representatives to co-design the thinking tools such as the definition of services, user types, Government Service Value Proposition, Service Principles and visualised Whole-Of-Government Service System from a user/citizen perspective, and a Roadmap for implementation and embedding. Each artefact was connected through an implementation narrative that the collaborators could take back to their Directorates to influence future work.

  • Operationally the Service ACT principles and the Service System representation have already been used in the Territory's largest ICT Procurement processes to ensure ICT vendors to the Government work within a common service framework. With a rapid design process the up-front investment by the Service ACT team was minimal compared to the efficiencies in terms of experience to be gained for the Government. Service ACT is aligned to and has enabled other strategic Government initiatives such as Reducing Red Tape and the emerging structural reform, Access Canberra. This means the ability for Government-wide decisions about value can be balanced within a service principle framework.

    There is a substantial amount of work globally on streamlining government service touchpoints, but little exists on the entire government service system from the citizens' perspective. Service ACT takes innovation to a strategic level of influencing thinking and decision-making across an entire Government and Public Service. The very representation of an entire Government service offering from the perspective of the citizen serves the practical purpose of allowing integrated planning by Government, but it does so with the focus being on the ability of residents, businesses and service partners in the community being supported to meet their own goals.

    Applying the Service ACT approach has already made a positive difference both within the ACT Public Service and for service recipients - residents, businesses and service partners in the Territory. There is financial value being created through the use of the principles and thinking tools in large-scale procurement processes, where government suppliers are expected to create impact by working within the defined frameworks. Directorate-led projects increasingly have Service ACT at the core of their project intent (from digitising services to targeting obesity from a health, education and town planning context).