The Auditor-General’s office has released its report into the myGov portal and the reviews are largely positive.
The report found that the Department of Human Services’ implementation of myGov as a platform to deliver whole-of-government online services has been “largely effective”.
It also found that the portal had delivered well beyond expectations, with many more users than were predicted at the start of the project.
When the portal was launched in May 2013 it was expected to attract 5 million users in the first four years, instead it reached nearly double that figure, with 9.5 million users registering.
While the portal suffered teething problems, causing frustration for customers, these were rectified late in 2015. The platform was moved onto new infrastructure which improved performance, especially during peak demand periods.
Dealing with the larger than expected workload did come at a cost, however. The project exceeded its budget by nearly three times.
In 2012, the Government approved a myGov project budget of $29.7 million over four years. But the actual costs blew out to $86.7 million.
Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge said the findings confirm myGov is capable of delivering the benefits of eGovernment to Australians.
“The Coalition Government is making unprecedented investments into IT and better digital services. These investments are now paying off big time for Australian citizens,” Mr Tudge said.
“myGov is now one of the largest digital services in the country, with an average of 242,000 people successfully using the capability daily. It’s making access to government services simpler and faster for Australians.’’
It is clear that the myGov portal has come a long way from the teething problems that made it so frustrating in the early days. It is now easy to access and use, but that wasn’t always the case.
As the auditors note, one of the big problems early on was the sign-in process.
“Human Services was aware of the reported issues with the myGov sign-in process from September 2014,” the auditors wrote.
“Resolving this issue was reportedly Human Services’ top priority, as set out in its Top Ten list of reported issues.
“However, a resolution was not implemented until June 2016 – more than 21 months later.”
The Department of Human Services (DHS) told the auditors that it simply did not have the funding to act any earlier.
That may have been true, but given that the DHS claims myGov has already saved more than $109 million, this should have been a much higher priority.
It is impossible to know how many potential users turned away from the system after experiencing difficulties, never to return.
If issues arise in future, it is imperative that myGov remains well-funded so that it can quickly address any concerns.
One of the key recommendations from the auditor’s report is to establish a framework to monitor the website’s performance, overseen by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA). This recommendation has been accepted, so hopefully it will be implemented and myGov will remain well-funded.
Are you aware of the myGov website and, if so, do you use it? If not, why not? What do you think about its performance? Are you happy with the improvements or are you still having problems?