Digital Transformation Service (DTS) is responsible for delivering the NICS Digital Transformation Programme and provides support and guidance to NICS Departments and other public sector organisations to ensure citizen facing services are transformed in a way which improves and simplifies government services through the nidirect website.
DTS is working towards the ‘Digital First’ which means new or redesigned services must be designed with online services as the primary way for citizens to interact with government. More services are moving online to nidirect.gov.uk but DTS also offers telephone, SMS, mobile, smartphone, web chat, social media and email services for those who cannot access the website.
DTS works closely with ESS colleagues and the Central Editorial Team to ensure that the nidirect website is secure and maintained to a very high standard.
nidirect contact centre
The nidirect contact centre is Contact Centre Association (CCA) accredited and handles around two million calls annually. The contact centre is also responsible for the Number Rationalisation Strategy, simplifying how citizens contact government through the use of non-geographic telephone numbers and reducing the number of published Government contact numbers.
Services available include a Flooding Incident Line (FIL) which provides a single point of contact for citizens to report flooding incidents rather than having to decide which organisation might be the point of contact.
The Digital Inclusion Team, via its Go ON NI initiative, aims to promote a more digitally inclusive society. Working in partnership with organisations digitally excluded members of the population are helped to get online. This includes working with a network of community based Digital Champions across Northern Ireland and participating in events such as Silver Surfers’ Day.
The open data team within DTS has developed a NI Open Data Strategy which supports making non-personal government-held electronic data sets freely available through license for use by anyone, without restriction. The Northern Ireland Executive has committed to publication of Public Sector data as Open Data, and to that end, the ‘Open Data Strategy for Northern Ireland 2015–18’ was endorsed and published in February 2015.
Since formal endorsement of the Strategy, the open data team has been engaging with (and will continue to engage with) NICS departments and other Public Sector bodies to identify the high value data sets that we own. A road map has been produced for the future of open data in Northern Ireland, in line with which a new Open Data portal, OpenDataNI, was launched on 26th November 2015.
Within the UK, commitments made (at the G8 summit held in June 2013 at Lough Erne) to make data available in accessible formats and encourage the re-use of public data are being promoted. See the G8 Open Data Charter for more details.