Office of Local Government

Office of Local Government

The Problem

In New South Wales every year before 2013, 60 children were admitted to hospital following a near-drowning experience. Most of serious pool incidents can be prevented with well-maintained pool fences. To drive this safety measure, the NSW Swimming Pool Act was passed to ensure pools are to be registered, inspected and certified as safe.

The Office of Local Government (OLG) was tasked with enacting and administering this Act within 3 months of the law passing. This was a short period compared to the 2 years taken to draft and pass the legislation. The OLG was highly conscience of the difficulty in developing a register for over 300,000 pools cost effectively and launching it by the looming enactment date, which by law could not be missed.

PretaForm - The Solution

The requirements were vague, so a Discovery phase was carried out by PretaGov to document the complex user scenarios to comply with the complex legislation. From work shopping stakeholders, use cases were extracted resulting in requirements documentation and wireframes of the entire system. From this, a rapidly built prototype (Alpha Phase) was built within 3 weeks and tested by end users. Their comments were fed back into the next iteration and so on until a fit for purpose version was ready to launch by the enactment date. This was much to the relief of the OLG who were under immense political pressure to deliver.

The first week saw an enthusiastic response from pool owners with over 50,000 pools registered. The system was able to handle the unpredictable peak loads and resource intensive backend processing/storage of hundreds of thousands of records, while maintaining performance. The online Register eliminates copious amounts of  costly manual paper based processing. The Register is also used by 182 Local Councils and inspectors for over the counter registrations and mobile updating of records, respectively.

The Register complies strictly with data protection laws as much personal information is stored. The solution is delivered from PretaGov’s Government Community Cloud, meeting all Government standard cloud security standards. This is more cost effective then dedicated self-hosting solutions.

Technically complex, there are around 30 individual forms, and each registration interfaces with the Land Titles database to extract property information. Again to save on administrative costs, the Register generates a PDF certificate for the owner.

The Outcomes

For OLG administrators, the PretaGov Plone CMS allows staff to modify forms and content in the web application themselves at any time. This eliminates change requests to be done by PretaGov which is costly and time consuming.

While the job of managing the software, hardware, peak load for spikes in registrations and cloud hosting is handled by PretaGov. Improvements and implementation of changes to the Act are on-going as we work in partnership with the OLG to minimise the risk of drownings.