Monday marked the official launch of the new U.S. Digital Service, a federal agency dedicated to improving the online services of government sectors. A goal that anyone who has spent over an hour on hold with the IRS can certainly support. In a statement by Steve VanRoekel, Chief Information Officer, the group was described as a collection of the nation’s most talented individuals, not simply brought in as needed to write code when something goes wrong, but to evaluate the weakness of digital government service, and to develop more efficient ways of serving the public.
Think of this as [a team of] management consultants that helps you understand your gaps,” said VanRoekel.
The launching of the group is accompanied by the launch of written publications, describing the founding principles and goals of the group. First on the list, “understand what people need.”
Leading the group is Mikey Dickerson, a former Google employee who was highly involved in correcting much of the Healthcare.gov launch. The hopes of the group is to continue to attract more digital talent to the federal government, and introduce the model of reliability and efficiency that much of the private sector has achieved.
The U.S. Digital Service mimics Great Britain’s Government Digital Services, which focuses on achieving openness and transparency via the digital transformation of the government. However, the group’s advantage over the new American group is the centralized government it serves.
While at this point it is hard to tell how successful U.S. Digital Services will be, attempts by the White House to ensure a troubled launch like the HealthCare.gov site are profoundly needed. Furthermore, in a growing digital age, it is necessary for the federal government to evaluate the efficiency of its services and ensure it is providing the public with the best assistance it can.
Read more here- “White House Launches ‘U.S. Digital Services,’ with HealthCare.govfixer at Helm,” (Nicole Scola, The Washington Post)