They say time flies when you’re having fun. It turns out that time also flies when you’re busy making a difference in the world. That’s certainly been the case for the Digital Restart Fund and the team behind the scenes.
A year ago this week, the Digital Restart Fund was born out of a need to change the way digital projects were funded across government. After initially being established with $100m, and proving our success, the fund was expanded to $1.6b in June 2020.
The projects we have funded so far transform NSW through a better customer experience or by revolutionising government processes. They cover life journeys and events, state digital assets, legacy modernisation and digital capability.
To date we’ve already funded over 100 projects and we’re excited about what’s coming up for us over the next year. However, let’s now take a look back at our first year and share our year of firsts...
A first of its kind
Truly a world-first, the fund centralises the coordination and prioritisation of digital projects across NSW Government. This means that we can make sure that we’re funding projects with the greatest impact to customers in NSW at the right time.
A first Whole-of-Government view
We emphasise funding whole of government approaches and prioritise projects that develop reusable digital platforms and solutions, and deliver greater benefits to businesses, people and the economy. We release funding iteratively and structure funding so that we’re incentivising innovation and discovery, reducing risk, and ensuring high customer impact.
A first for digital Development Applications
Previously, customers had to find, print, complete and drop-off paper forms when undertaking construction works. Now customers can simply lodge it electronically through ePlanning. A recent study by Deloitte calculated that the ePlanning Digital Services are saving applicants 150,000 hours in travel time and phone calls, $13.1m in printing and mailing costs and $63.2m in holding costs.
A first for Regional Schools
The Rural Access Program is addressing the digital needs of 1,004 rural, remote and regional schools. 218,000 students and 18,500 teachers will benefit from improved connectivity, upgraded learning spaces, better access to students’ data and education resources and reduced administration.
A first digital trade license
In March the Digital Trade License program was launched, starting with the Digital White Card, a license every tradesperson in NSW must hold to work. With more than 76,000 opt-ins already the Digital White Card reached its December target by May and has been a huge win for the program. This will lead to an end-to-end digital journey that will mean no more paper-based processes or visits to a NSW service centre.
A first for online enrolment
Traditionally, parents had to fill in a 16-page paper form, lodge that form and then wait while administration entered their details into the local system. With the DRF-funded online enrolment system, parents can conveniently lodge electronically and can track their progress through the enrolment hub. To date we have had 38,182 online applications received and, on average, administration saves 12 minutes per application.
A first for digital tenant leases in Australia
Using the new I Visit You mobile app, we are making it easier to complete tenant leases in social housing. It now takes at least half the time to sign up to a public housing Tenancy Agreement, have rent deducted and complete Rental Subsidy Forms.
In its first year, the Digital Restart Fund is celebrating a number of successes, knowing full well that there’s much work to do. And while it might be the fund’s “birthday”, we won’t be receiving any gifts, instead giving ‘gifts’ to the people of NSW, such as:
- 7+ million customer interactions
- 2.2 billion economic returns identified so far
- 366 million committed for regional investment
- 70,000 digital white card holders through licensing
- 545 upgraded classrooms
- 39,000 digital school enrolment applications