Draft Principles for Digital Change in the Government of BC

Jaimie Boyd
Jan 10 · 4 min read

We drafted digital principles and we’re looking for feedback by January 31.

Technology has changed the world, and it’s changing government too. Digital government is about using modern tools and technology to deliver great government services.

Here in the Government of BC, we’re developing principles to help guide our work on digital government. We would love your feedback!

Why we are drafting digital principles

We are creating digital principles to help shape how we manage government information, technology, programs and services in the Internet age. We have leveraged content from leading jurisdictions around the world, input from across government, and elements that we think are important for BC.

Digital government is giving rise to exciting new opportunities, but also new imperatives. We know that British Columbians have high expectations, and we’ll need to keep engaging with diverse communities across our province to sustainably and meaningfully meet those expectations.

That’s why we’re excited to hear your views on our draft digital principles. We’d like to align ourselves around a vision and common understanding of good digital practices and outcomes. These principles set the stage for lots more exciting work to come.

We’re already becoming digital

The Government of BC’s approach to digital government is a work in progress. We’ve set out an initial framework at digital.gov.bc.ca. This framework sets a path towards meeting public expectations and accelerating digital change across our government.

Within government, we’re working hard to develop and deliver great digital services to the people of BC. We’re also embracing digital government throughout our organizations, updating our policies, standards, processes and tools for information management (IM) and information technology (IT). To support these goals, we’re mobilizing our efforts and our community around the digital principles. That’s why we think they are relevant not just to BC public servants, but to all British Columbians!

Tell us what you think!

We welcome feedback and comments on our draft digital principles, via GitHub, the comments section here, or by email at IM.ITPolicy@gov.bc.ca. Please provide your feedback by January 31, 2020. We’ll use your comments to refine the principles.

Draft Digital Principles for the Government of BC

  1. Deliver impact for British Columbians
    Recognize that government digital products and services should ultimately improve people’s lives. Focus on meeting citizens’ needs and expectations and on improving service delivery. Build products and services for outcomes rather than outputs. Deliver consistently and sustainably through judicious use of public resources.
  2. Design with people & embed inclusion
    Deliver simple, effective products and services via human-centered design practices with the people who will actually use the product or service. Apply the highest standards of accessibility, inclusion and equity at every stage of product and service design, development and delivery.
  3. Integrate ethics
    Design or modify digital products and services with ethics in mind. Evaluate potential uses of emerging technologies to consider possible ethical, social and cultural implications. Ensure there is clear oversight and documentation for automated decision-making processes (e.g.: when using artificial intelligence).
  4. Continuously learn & improve
    Iterate and improve products and services to support learning and innovation. Use modern tools and approaches. Be flexible to change, seeking and accepting ongoing user feedback. Test early and often. Start small and scale up.
  5. Work in the open
    Collaborate, co-design and co-create with users transparently. Default towards open licenses, open and interoperable standards, open information and data, and open-source code.
  6. Take an ecosystem approach
    Design and deliver solutions that are forward-thinking, adaptable and scalable. Support common components, interoperability and enterprise approaches. Share work and learnings with the aim of contributing to the wider community. Strive to collect data from users only once, re-using and sharing data whenever possible.
  7. Take care of information & data
    Manage information, including data, as a public asset in accordance with its value and user needs. Strive to improve the quality of information and data. Apply rigour around decision-making, using data to take a fair, ethical and evidence-based approach. Act as a trusted information steward.
  8. Manage risks proportionately
    Promote a risk-balanced approach that addresses security and privacy. Design clear and flexible risk mitigation strategies.
  9. Build diverse teams & internal capacity
    Empower all public servants to deliver excellent digital products and services. Create and support teams with diverse skillsets, providing them with technology, tools and training. Encourage innovation and controlled experimentation. Build an organizational culture that supports constant learning and engagement through the use of technology.
  10. Express cultural & historical awareness & respect
    Acknowledge the historical relationships, inequity, trauma and discrimination created by government; work in the spirit of reconciliation and B.C.’s Draft Principles guiding our relationship with Indigenous peoples.
Photo from the movie Modern Times of Charlie Chaplin adjusting a large mechanical cog.
Photo from the movie Modern Times of Charlie Chaplin adjusting a large mechanical cog.
We’re updating our processes and tools for modern times!

Please share your views on the draft principles by January 31, 2020.

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