In April 2015 the New Zealand Government introduced new legislation that requires charities to comply with new reporting standards when preparing and filing annual returns and financial statements.
New Zealand charities file their annual returns through a portal, developed and supported by Intergen, and accessible through the Charities Services’ website. The new reporting standards required significant updates to the annual return process within the portal.
This provided an excellent opportunity for Charities Services to make a number of enhancements to the portal, including significant improvements to user experience and useability.
This focus on ease of digital interaction for New Zealanders supports one of the Government’s key strategic priorities: as part of the Government’s Better Public Services initiative, which outlines core goals to be achieved by the government and its agencies over the next 10 years, Results Area 10 outlines that New Zealanders can complete their transactions with the government easily in a digital environment.
Ultimately the portal enhancement project enables Charities Services to make it easier for New Zealand charities to fulfil their administrative, financial and legislative requirements entirely online.
In order to meet these new reporting standards, Charities Services and Intergen worked collaboratively over a 12-week period to enhance the portal.
Using an Agile development approach, the joint team enhanced the portal in three main areas, creating:
- Enhanced business logic to reflect the New Reporting Standards and improve the quality of information being provided
- A new “wizard” style approach to processing an Annual Return, improving the usability of the site
- User experience updates including removal of legacy iFrame components and alignment of the look and feel with the main site
As the New Reporting Standards don’t take effect until April 2016 the solution also needed to support the existing process alongside the new process.
The solution incorporates a number of user-friendly new features, including:
- The ability to generate and print a PDF of the current annual return progress
- The ability to save the current annual return progress
- An updated Charity Dashboard and Charity Summary views with dynamic accordion element
- Updated annual return and Notice of Change summary PDF designs
As a result of this work Charities Services has received significant value, improving both business processes as well as overall perception of the Charities Register as a professional service. Their internal processes have been improved by having the web portal redesigned. The overall impression of the new site has been very well received, with constant feedback on the improvement and polished look and feel of interacting with it. Charities Services is now well placed to gather additional information about charities, both as required by law as well as to improve the service offering they can deliver to their clients.
The Charities Services portal now offers a polished, modern, user-friendly and responsive solution where registered New Zealand charities can intuitively and seamlessly fulfil their obligations online, making it easy to complete their transactions in a digital environment.
This is a significant win not only for New Zealand charities, but also in helping the Government to make its strategic priorities a reality and go towards achieving Better Public Services as a result.
The Business Case
Charities New Zealand is the organisation responsible for collating and tracking information about registered charitable organisations in New Zealand. With the Government’s introduction of upcoming legislative changes to the reporting standards required when charities prepare and file annual returns and financial statements, Charities New Zealand needed to enhance its user portal to accommodate these changes. This proved an ideal opportunity to make a number of improvements to the portal, with the goal of increased usability, improved user experience and design, and time-saving features for charities using the portal.
The Business Value
- Increased ease of use, achieved through “wizard” style process
- Enhanced business logic
- Seamless user experience and improved look and feel, with the portal’s design in keeping with the www.charities.govt.nz website
- Compliance with Government legislation
- Improved service offering to registered New Zealand charities