1 May 2018: The Government announced in January 2018 that the Better Public Services programme would not continue in this form. These pages have been archived.

Result 10 Case Study 3

An initiative born out of a commitment to making it easier for New Zealanders to access and use government services online is proving a hit with new and expectant parents.

SmartStart is an online tool that aims to help babies get off to the best start by having step-by-step information and help all in one place.

Life is about events, not agencies. When people interact with government they do so in order to have a personal need met.

New Zealanders told us that they wanted to do less running around between government departments and that they find it frustrating to have to provide the same information to many agencies. 

We listened. 

SmartStart enables new parents to update their benefit with MSD, request an IRD number for their baby and update their Working for Families application, all from the birth registration process.  This is saving parents time and money so they can concentrate on their new family member. 

With SmartStart, parents now have access to an online tool that makes it easy to access services and support during their pregnancy and baby’s first years.

We have made it easier for parents and caregivers to access relevant information and services for themselves and their babies from conception to early childhood, through the delivery of customer-centric, cross-agency digital tools and processes.

The digital identity for a child is established early to use throughout their life.

SmartStart a multi-agency initiative delivered by the Department of Internal Affairs, Inland Revenue, Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Health with invaluable advice and support from Plunket NZ and the New Zealand College of Midwives.

Plunket Chief Operating Officer Lois van Waardenberg says they are absolutely delighted that they are a part of making Better Public Services.

“The Life Events Series is a ground-breaking cross-Government agency initiative, and I say that for more than one reason – the first being that it is actually progressing.

“Not as a matter of right, rather by finding and leveraging opportunities and people and parts of our system prepared to prioritise our customers or citizens over parochial and more individual concerns,” Lois says.

New Zealand College of Midwives Chief Executive Karen Guilliland says the College has been closely involved in SmartStart, providing representatives in an advisory capacity, providing advice at an organisational level and disseminating information about Smart Start to its members and networks.

“The College has also been impressed that DIA’s overall vision for this work (to improve the lives of new parents) has been apparent as the driving motivation throughout what was undoubtedly a complex project.

“College members have informed us that the families they are working with have provided positive feedback about SmartStart as it has supported them to manage what can be confusing administrative processes with ease.

“Midwives also inform us that SmartStart has made their work easier as there is a now single place to refer new parents to for a range of information,” Karen says.

Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages Jeff Montgomery says the new tool is a game-changer for parents.

“It’s now so much easier for parents to get the services and support they need to set up their child for the future.

“We’ve had heaps of support from our baby experts, like Plunket and NZ College of Midwives, which has really helped to make our step-by-step information simple and easy to use” Jeff says.

Lessons learned

SmartStart is the first product delivered under the guidance of the Service Innovation Working Group and we have learned many lessons along the way.  Capturing and now sharing these lessons was something the cross agency team felt really strongly about so that others working on similar projects could learn from us.

The main lessons learned are:

  1. Enablers for success include deep customer insight, an agile mind-set, an approach based on a minimum viable product and a dedicated delivery team;
  2. Product development leverages existing enablers and shared services teams, a supportive stewardship group that able to navigate governance and stakeholder needs, and cross-agency funding;
  3. Product sustainability requires a cross-agency funding model that continues throughout the life of the product; and
  4. Governance and traditional reporting mechanisms within agencies need to be considered when delivering an across government initiative.

Read the Lessons Learned report (PDF 896 KB)

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