Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro late last month signed an executive order (EO) establishing the Commonwealth Office of Digital Experience (CODE PA). The new office is intended to improve, streamline, and continuously adapt Pennsylvania’s digital services so that interactions between users and commonwealth entities are simple, seamless, and secure.

In the EO, Gov. Shapiro said that “there should be no wrong door through which a Pennsylvanian can access or communicate with their government and get answers,” and that “every interaction between state government and the public should be simple, seamless, and secure to build Pennsylvanians’ trust and confidence in their government regardless of their understanding of or familiarity with government.”

To meet these goals, as well as adapt to the fact that residents are increasingly accessing government services either predominately or entirely online, the governor created CODE PA.

According to the EO, CODE PA will:

  • “Prioritize digital services that create or unlock economic opportunities for Pennsylvanians, including pathways to family-sustaining careers; upskilling and training opportunities; access to vital government resources or licenses, occupations, and certifications; and opportunities to improve outcomes and advance equity for users.
  • Be empowered to generate qualitative and quantitative research and insights about users to drive the redesign of the user experience in accordance with commonwealth data privacy policy; iterate on new designs to transform the user experience with scalable low- to extensive code solutions in accordance with commonwealth best practices; and holistically approach these efforts with curiosity, empathy, and integrity.
  • Collaborate with Pennsylvania’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) to review and assess all requests from Commonwealth agencies for new or redesigned applications to evaluate the most optimal design and development approach including those that encourages in-house development.
  • Collaborate and coordinate with the Department of General Services (DGS) and the OIT leadership team to study innovative procurement practices to the acquisition of digital products by and for Commonwealth agencies, to facilitate the rapid provision of high-quality digital services that are based on users’ needs and comply with commonwealth best practices regarding data privacy, security, and accessibility.
  • Enable an online service delivery system that would provide a universal entry way to all Commonwealth programs, services, and resources organized by users’ needs and life experiences rather than agency program areas.
  • Undertake periodic discovery sprints identifying needs and opportunities, to further execute and complete the commonwealth’s digital services modernization effort.
  • Promote and achieve true digital equity in the Commonwealth.”

The EO notes that CODE PA will be housed within the Office of Administration (OA) and its executive director will be a member of the CIO’s and the OA Secretary’s senior executive team.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs