The Department of Internal Affairs will close its Service Innovation Lab at the end of the month as it pursues a new operational structure and unified approach.
Over the last three years, the lab supported agencies prototyping integrated services.
However, the innovative ways of working and tools prototyped by the lab will continue to be used to support the integrated services work now taking place inside DIA and across government agencies, DIA said in a statement announcing the closure late last week.
Work being undertaken in the lab has been transitioned to the agencies leading that work.
Chief digital office (CDO) and DIA chief executive Paul James announced the formation of a new digital public service branch last year, creating an operational structure that aimed to support the government’s new digital public service strategy and the CDO.
Around the same time he appointed Ann-Marie Cavanagh, who led the creation of the new strategy, as deputy CDO.
The changes established a core permanent team to focus the branch’s efforts and resources on key aspects of digital government and to connect and interact with agencies to identify digital needs across the state sector and respond.
“We are establishing a central team that can adjust and flex to meet future requirements, including being able to respond to emerging issues and opportunities,” James said at the time.
“The digital landscape is a changing one, so we need to be able to move with it to stay ahead of the curve.”
After the lab's closure, the branch would continue to support agencies without in-house service designers and would also facilitate the development of integrated services where possible, DIA said.
Other branch staff will be available to help agencies as they develop their digital strategies, investment plans and work through privacy considerations.
The branch will start engaging with other government agencies soon to explore ways of accelerating delivery of integrated services at a system-wide level.
The new strategy for digital public services is pursuing four major outcomes: better results through a digital public service; improved experience with government; a modern, agile and adaptive public service; and a strengthened Māori–Crown relationship.
The strategy outlined five digital focus areas: integrated services for citizens and businesses; leadership, people and culture; foundations; investment; and new ways of working.
Together these aim to enable the public service to "use the right tools and the right approaches for the right job".