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We moved our corporate site to nsw.gov.au (and here’s what we learnt)


In April 2020, the Department of Customer Service (DCS) website was one of the first to be consolidated into the relaunched nsw.gov.au website. Four months later, we caught up with members of the DCS Digital Communications team to understand the impacts to the team, challenges faced before and during the journey to consolidation and benefits to their current and future ways of working.

First-hand experience

At DCS, Brad Matthews (Manager, Digital Communications) and David Alonso Love (Advisor, Digital Communications) are part of the DCS Digital Communications team and responsible for over 65 websites, supporting business units including SafeWork NSW, Fair Trading and Revenue NSW. Their websites are managed via four different content management systems (CMS) and they receive up to 600 job requests a month.

Benefits to the team

David likened the program to decluttering a home. The initial stages required cleaning, reviewing, sorting content, and acted as a complete refresher. Both agreed that there are great benefits in the long run, creating a streamlined, quicker experience for their team. The benefits to the DCS Digital Communications team included resourcing and support:

  • To review existing website content
  • Determine if new content was required
  • Declutter and remove duplication
  • Implement an ongoing content review process to remove information that is no longer relevant.

Content lifecycle

Internal team resourcing can be stretched during this phase. Brad commented on the positive experience for his team to collaborate with the experienced and skilled team from the nsw.gov.au program to provide additional resources and assistance to deliver on the five key phases of the content lifecycle for the nsw.gov.au program, including:

  1. Identify need, plan and gather content  
    Content is prepared, collated, and briefed in for design or updating. 
  1. Design, edit and develop  
    Content is designed, edited or developed to be as customer-centric (relevant, findable, usable, accessible) as possible. 
  1. Approve  
    Content to be made public must be approved according to the agency’s own publishing guidelines.  
  1. Publish  
    Content is made public once approval and timing has been confirmed. 
  1. Evaluate, govern and maintain  
    Content is regularly audited, reviewed and managed against a retention and retirement schedule, and publishing permissions are regularly reviewed.  

Benefits to customers

The early data looks promising. In July, user visits on Department of Customer Service run pages were 29% higher than the standalone website at its peak. Brad and David can see the customer benefits taking shape. For example, where multiple agencies might have a stake in content, messages are far more coordinated and aligned.

With more content on nsw.gov.au, the customer can find information quickly and in one location. They no longer need to work out what issue sits with what agency; they can search by issue and all the information is available.

Team development and change support

As part of the change, DCS received CMS training from the nsw.gov.au program capability team. Most of the 65 DCS websites are not on Drupal. So, while some team members had significant experience in Drupal8, others did not.

“The training was excellent,” Brad said.

“Having a dedicated training expert was invaluable. At the touch of a mouse or on the end of a call my team could access an expert on whatever questions they had about the new CMS.”

The experts are available pre, during and post consolidation. This is a huge benefit to all departments going through the program.

How has this changed workings for your team?

In the initial stages, when reviewing content for the first time, there was an increase in the amount of work. However, as more websites are migrated, the DCS Digital Communications team will save time as they will no longer need to use numerous CMS, making training and the onboarding process far easier.

Website optimisation is a huge benefit to the team as the additional support allows for time to be spent enhancing, improving and actioning identified items to provide a consistently high standard of content to NSW citizens.

Final words

DCS has seen a shift in their teams’ way of thinking and now have more licence to focus on the customer and their journey. David said, “we aren’t about just putting policy onto a page anymore; we ask the question ‘what does the customer actually want?’. We are trying to simplify content, allowing the customer in some ways, to tell us what to do. Less is more and this experience has shown that consolidation can and will help to achieve that”.

To find out more about the ongoing work with DCS be sure to follow our blog for frequent and up to date information about the website project. Have questions? Post your comments below.

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