How we assess and approve business cases

After business cases have been prepared and checked, the Digital Restart Team will assess these business cases – the Investment Prioritisation.

Once you have submitted your business case, it will be assessed and ranked against the criteria below. This is to help us determine which projects will deliver the best outcome and the best value for money.

The Investment Prioritisation assesses the maturity (that is, how ready the project is to start) and the merit of the project. Projects will be assessed against the following criteria:

  1. Strategic alignment to ensure the project aligns with the Cluster's Objectives and existing government priorities.
  2. Feasibility/ Deliverability assessment to ensure the project can be delivered with reasonable effort given existing capabilities.
  3. Economic viability to ensure the project is expected to produce a net economic benefit to the State, improving economic growth and productivity (We look at cost-benefit analysis and score them against other projects).
  4. Affordability assessment to ensure that project costs are reasonable and accurate.
  5. Desirability (Social impact) assessment to ensure that the investment will generate a positive impact on citizen and/or internal user experience. Business cases should link to NSW's social impact policy.
  6. Projects are then weighted to allow for comparisons between projects for prioritisation. This step confirms the project's priority against other projects submitted to Cabinet Infrastructure Committee (CIC) or ERC for approval.

You can look at the Investment Prioritisation Calculation Table for the current weighting calculations. Over time, the scoring and weighting may change depending on government priorities and to ensure equity of funding.

The DRF will continue to change and adapt to the varying needs and priorities from Government clusters (such as managing the impacts of COVID-19), and uncertainties in future technologies. In some instances, certain project and program approaches may be more successful than others. As we continue to learn about what works, these criteria and weightings may be modified to improve the portfolio's effectiveness, efficiency, and equity.

Reason test

After we've reviewed all business cases, we apply a reason test to find out if funds are allocated fairly.

  1. Across all categories in the fund
  2. Across the state – we aim to fund at least one-quarter of projects in regional NSW

If we think there is inequity, we can adjust the raw scores and aim to redistribute funding between projects.

New funding rules for future projects under the additional $500 million DRF

In June 2021, an additional $500 million was invested into the Digital Restart Fund, extending the fund a further year to 2024. As a result, the DRF steering committee approved the following changes to the funding rules:

  1. Projects that cost more than $5 million are now capped at $20 million. (ERC may distribute larger proportions of funding to specific projects on a case-by-case basis).
  2. If the total cost of your project is higher than its applicable cap, your cluster will need to co-contribute to make up for the remaining balance or seek an alternative source of funds.
  3. Requests for additional seed funding (through Lean Business Cases) for the same project can't be greater than $10 million.
  4. There is an additional $75 million allocated to cyber funding. This money is prioritised for independent clusters and small agencies to uplift cyber security maturity.
  5. All whole of Government projects must be supported by business cases agreed by the Department of Customer Service (for example state digital asset projects).

Important information

These new rules apply to all business cases submitted from the pipeline for December 2021 quarter intake. Some transition rules agreed by DRF Steering Committee will be applied to projects being submitted at the September 2021 quarter intake given the advanced state of business case preparation and assurance.

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