Part 1: Introduction

Digital access to information and services: Learning from examples.

In this Part, we discuss:

Why we did this audit

New Zealanders increasingly expect to be able to access public information and services digitally. Public entities need to continuously improve the accessibility and usability of their digital information and services to meet these expectations.

This is not easy because technology is constantly evolving, which means that public entities have to keep up with the changing ways people use and access digital information.

As part of our Information theme, we wanted to see whether the shift to providing digital information and services is resulting in benefits for New Zealanders.

What we looked at

We looked at how three public entities provided digital information and services through their websites and/or mobile applications (apps). The public entities that we looked at were:

  • the National Library of New Zealand (the Library), which is part of the Department of Internal Affairs;
  • Greater Wellington Regional Council (the Regional Council); and
  • Quotable Value Limited (QV).

We used an independent assessor to assess the usability and the accessibility of the digital information and services that these three public entities provide. We used the web accessibility standards for their websites and the guidelines for their apps. For each, the independent assessor assessed the information and services against the following web standards:

  • Web Accessibility Standard 1.0;
  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0; and
  • Web Usability Standard 1.2.1

These standards were approved by Cabinet. Public entities in the State service must comply with them. Cabinet strongly recommended that public entities that are not required to comply with these standards also do so.2

Structure of our report

In Part 2, we discuss the Library's management of its digital collections and services. We describe the good job that the Library does of managing its collections and services to implement government policies and standards, and how the Library's website mostly meets the government-approved web standards. We also identify opportunities for the Library to learn more about how people use and reuse digital content.

In Part 3, we discuss the Regional Council's provision of real-time passenger information. We discuss how real-time information has improved how passengers perceive how reliable public transport services are. We also discuss how transport operators use the Real-time Passenger Information system to monitor service quality and assess existing scheduling to identify improvements.

In Part 4, we discuss QV's provision of digital information through the QV homeguide app. We discuss how providing digital information to the public through the QV homeguide app has meant that people are able to use a single source to get information from multiple sources.

1: The standards are available at

2: A list of the public entities required to comply with the standards can be found at