Apr 05 2022

Washington, D.C., Proposes Investment in Digital Services, Website Upgrade

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s recently released budget would continue the work of the district’s nascent digital innovation team.

Last year, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration invested $4 million to stand up a new digital services team for the city aimed at streamlining government processes and improving digital service delivery for residents. Now, Bowser is more than doubling down.

The mayor’s fiscal year 2023 budget proposal includes several initiatives designed to enhance digital services for the district. As StateScoop reports, the programs add up to a proposed $12.6 million in new funding. The D.C. Council needs to approve the government’s final budget.

Included in that bucket is $1 million for the first part of a total overhaul of the D.C. government website to “streamline resident services and make it easier to find information,” according to the published budget proposal.

The budget proposal envisions “a new look and feel to the website, streamlining more than 80 agency domains that live independently under the DC.gov portal, and modernizing the experience for customers.”

“No more wading through the alphabet soup of agency websites, and no more filling out the same information on form after form,” the D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer tweeted on March 18.

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The District Wants to Expand Digital Services

The budget proposal also includes $2.6 million in the IT services division for an expansion of a “one-stop” business portal.

As StateScoop reports:

Officials envisioned the portal as a tool for companies to navigate the city’s licensing and regulatory processes. Many states — including West VirginiaColorado and Delaware — have launched such sites over the past decade, with West Virginia’s portal logging 1 million transactions in its first four years.

The budget proposal also includes about $4.1 million for a technology “enablement team,” which supports district agencies “in the learning, adoption, use and understanding of enterprise technologies,” including the wider adoption of digital tools to help government workers in their day-to-day jobs.

That team will also provide training so that government employees know how use the tools well. This will make it easier for agencies to adopt new tools and help them conduct more self-service without a lot of support from the Office of the CTO.

On Twitter, the Office of the CTO said that overall, the digital services investments will “eliminate complexity, duplication and obsolete technology and close the digital divide by investing in technologies and services to expand access, streamline, modernize and secure platforms …”

OCTO argues that it will create a more efficient user experience by giving residents access to the right services at the right time and in the manner they desire.

When the digital services team was first unveiled last year, Deputy CTO Stephen Miller told StateTech that the main goal is to empower residents “to actually get the services that they need in order to meet their day-to-day needs, whether it be getting a business license or just operating in any way with the government.”

“Our goal is to make sure that their lives are getting easier, that we are creating solutions based on engagement with those parties — the residents, the businesses and the visitors that use our services,” he added.

EXPLORE: How do enhanced contact centers improve digital government services?

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