New way to text or email citizens: feds offer free trial to all levels of government

By Stephen Easton

March 29, 2019

The Digital Transformation Agency is inviting local, state, territory, and federal government agencies to try out a new system to send texts and emails to citizens, and it won’t cost them a cent.

“We’re inviting government agencies to trial at no cost until 30 June 2019,” says the DTA.

“During private beta, participating government agencies will be given a password to access the platform in a closed environment. From here, they can set up a password protected user account to send unlimited emails and up to 25,000 free text messages.

“The valuable agency feedback collected during this trial will help us make improvements and prioritise features to ensure meets both government and user needs.”

The DTA says the new messaging platform would useful for agencies that:

  • want an open source solution that is easy to integrate with current systems
  • want a way to send out non-sensitive reminders to users
  • may not need to send regular notifications
  • may not have access to existing technology or infrastructure
  • may not have access to the myGov notifications system

The agency reports its user research “found that people want to receive immediate updates on non-sensitive information through text message and/or email with small snippets of useful information” — like a reminder about an appointment, an update on an application or a looming expiry date.

Users of the platform “don’t need any technical knowledge to create email, text messages or letter templates” and can use it to track various statistics. Agencies can upload a list of email addresses or phone numbers as a spreadsheet, or send directly from another “web application or back-office system” via the Notify application programming interface (API).

To take up the trial offer, public sector organisations can contact the DTA.

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