DRF $500m Prioritisation FAQs

Since the additional $500 million was invested into the Digital Restart Fund (DRF) in June 2021, the DRF team have been working hard to consult across the sector and prioritise the projects in the pipeline. We wanted to thank all our cluster leads who worked with us in developing the pipeline. 

We looked at 200+ projects, with a total value of more than $1.5 billion from all over NSW Government to work out which ones should progress to the next step in the funding process. 

On Thursday 16 September the Digital Restart Fund Steering Committee endorsed the prioritised list. This is not the last step in the process – final approval from Delivery and Performance Committee of Cabinet (DapCo) is still pending.  

Priority projects list has been socialised with the Clusters, and we will be able to share the final approved list with Clusters once it has been approved by DaPCo in October.

How was the project pipeline list formed? 

The Digital Restart Fund Steering Committee, with input from the clusters, have agreed on project rankings in terms of strategic alignment, value to the state and customer outcomes. Project risks and ease of implementation of the projects has also been considered during the ranking process.  We’ve also considered how to maximise the purpose and customer impact of the fund – that is, ensuring that we fund projects that will deliver the most improvement to the lives of the people of NSW. 

Why isn’t my project on the DRF Prioritisation list? 

There are simply more projects than there are funds. We have selected projects that meet initial criteria aligned with the objectives of the Digital Restart Fund. These criteria were developed and during the $1.6bn DRF prioritisation in late 2020, to ensure an informed and fair view of projects being put forward for investment consideration.

Why is my project allocation lower in the final DRF Prioritisation list than what was initially requested by the Cluster? 

Because of the overwhelming demands on the fund, we have had to cap the amount of money available to ensure a more equitable distribution across projects. Projects following the seed funding pathway are still capped at $5 million and projects that follow the scale funding pathway that cost more than $5 million, or those moving from seed to scale, are now capped at $20 million.  In addition, some other decisions were required in an effort to fund as many projects as possible with the limited funding. 

What happens next? 

Ultimately, it is the DaPCo that will confirm the pipeline in October 2021. Following this meeting we will be in touch with Clusters about the next steps in the funding process. DaPCo meeting dates for next year will be known by December 2021. 

For projects that are in the pipeline, get in touch with your DRF Cluster Representatives because you will need to start preparing your business case.   

Readiness will be one of the biggest factors that will determine which business cases will proceed to assessment by the Digital Restart Fund Steering Committee or the DaPCo.    

Getting into the pipeline does not guarantee that your project will receive funding. Each business case will be judged on its merits. Do not underestimate the effort that is required to prepare a successful business case. Check your facts, understand the problem you are trying to solve, align your project with the NSW Design Standards and be clear on project outcomes. Make sure you allow enough time for us to review your business cases (assurance) before they are submitted for approval.   

For more information, please contact [email protected] 

When can I submit my business case for the next round of funding? 

Unfortunately, we’re already fully subscribed for the next intake of projects for DRF funding in November 2021. We are currently working to secure an additional intake in early 2022 – before our usual March intake. Watch this space!

My project has received part funding from DRF. How do I get access to the additional funding needed to complete the project? 

The funding caps are in place to ensure that we can fund enough projects across the sector. Clusters will be required to make up the shortfall of projects that exceed the caps. Please contact your CFO or your Cluster Treasury representative to discuss alternative funding sources to make up for the remaining balance needed for the project. 

My project didn’t make it into the pipeline – what should I do?  

If your project doesn’t make it into the pipeline, we will keep your project data, allowing you to update the proposal and resubmit it if the reason for rejection allows this, i.e. it meets the purpose of the fund 

In some cases, projects may be given a lower priority than others in the pipeline. Due to limited funds within the Digital Restart Fund, not all projects that meet the eligibility criteria and objectives will be funded at the same time. 

We review the pipeline every quarter, and new submissions will be accepted annually. Please contact [email protected] to find out about the next pipeline prioritisation process. 

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