Customer story: Government of Northern Ireland

Transformation Process
'screenshot of 'Government of Northern Ireland
'screenshot of 'Government of Northern Ireland

Digital transformation

The Government of Northern Ireland recognise the importance of having good online services. They have digital transformation initiatives across the government that have been steadily implementing changes over the past decade - for example, ‘16x16’, which was a goal to have 16 transactional government services available online by 2016.

One of the processes in need of an update was their consultation and engagement.

Prior to 2014, when they procured Citizen Space, consultation by most departments was done by asking for responses to a document by email, post or even fax. In line with their goals of making their services ‘digital by default’, they needed a more accessible approach.

Scaleable and accessible

Citizen Space was the ideal platform. It scales across entire organisations, even those as large as an entire government, as it has unlimited use as well as unlimited users. This means that all of NI Gov’s different departments can log in and create consultations all in the same unified platform, rather than all having their own approach which is confusing and inconvenient for respondents.

Citizen Space is now the recommended platform for use by the whole of the Northern Ireland Civil Service. It aligns with their goals and principles of accessibility: that their digital services are accessible by all, even hard-to-reach groups. Citizen Space is compliant with official accessibility guidelines, called WCAG 2.1, which means that the platform is designed so that people with disabilities can access it freely.

Open and accountable

Another of their objectives is increased transparency and openness. NI Gov have an open data policy for 2020-2023, with the aim that making better use of open data will ‘build trust in government services through a greater commitment to transparency’.

Citizen Space helps organisations remain accountable by making feedback/results easy to analyse, publish and access. We call this ‘closing the loop’; by doing so, NI Gov demonstrate they’ve taken citizen feedback seriously and aren’t hiding anything. Citizens feel like their input (and therefore time) is valued if they’re informed of the outcomes - even if said outcome wasn’t what they wanted. Feeding back builds trust, and, in turn, increases response rates over time.

Consultations give people in all walks of life a chance to get involved in the work of government. It is an important part of the policy-making process. Citizen Space is the Northern Ireland Civil Service preferred surveying tool, which allows the public to respond to consultations online.

Government of Northern Ireland

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