Thoughtworks to build out Australia's digital birth certificate

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Thoughtworks to build out Australia's digital birth certificate

Software firm Thoughtworks has been drafted in to deliver Australia’s digital birth certificate, with the virtual credential expected to become available to those in NSW before the end of the year.

The NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, which is spearheading the build alongside the Queensland and federal governments, selected Thoughtworks after a six-month search.

The term and value of the deal has not yet been made public by the NSW government, and a Thoughtworks spokesperson declined to disclose the contract details when asked by iTnews.

NSW BDM has been working to make the digital birth certificate a reality for the last 18 months, having been asked to make the credential more accessible and secure by the state's digital minister Victor Dominello.

Like NSW’s digital driver’s licence, the digital birth certificate will be opt-in, complementing existing physical versions of the certificate, and has been designed in a way that is privacy enhancing.

BDM delivered a proof-of-concept solution last year following a 24-week discovery phase that saw the registry consult more than 2000 people and dozens of organisations.

Thoughtworks will now take that proof-of-concept forward, and deliver a “fully-integrated digital birth certificate that operates on all widely-used platforms”, including iOS and Android.

It will spend the next six months testing the solution with a small group of users, before making the certificate available to NSW residents in late 2022.

Acting NSW registrar Amit Padhiar said NSW is excited to be leading the way with the “world-first” digital birth certificate, which would deliver “greater convenience” and security for the credential.

Thoughtworks A/NZ managing director Kristan Vingrys said the company was “incredibly proud to be working with the NSW government on such a momentous step forward in our digital future”.

Pilot set for June

Speaking about the digital birth certificate on Wednesday, before the contract was announced, NSW registrar Amanda Ianna, who is currently on secondment at Revenue NSW, said the minimum viable product (MVP) would be ready next month.

“The MVP will be ready for pilot in June, and we’ll launch a small pilot in NSW for people within our own department and customers,” she told the Technology in Government conference in Canberra.

BDM is planning to use an expression of interest to find community testers, with data to be “obfuscated in the first instance”.

“We want to make sure it actually works and make sure that we don’t accidentally release anybody’s birth certificate incorrectly,” she said.

Following the NSW launch, Ianna said other jurisdictions would gain access to the digital birth certificate.

“All of the registrar’s and the states have signed up to this project, so it will happen,” she added.

Ianna said that once the certificate has been delivered, BDM will move to deliver “other civil registration documents”, including marriage, change of name and change of sex/gender.

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