In February 2016 legislation was passed to enable the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and related research purposes in Australia. A detailed regulatory framework was put in place to enable applications for licences and permits for the cultivation, production and manufacture of medicinal cannabis products and this took effect on 30 October 2016.
The Australian Government Office of Drug Control (ODC) approached Perform in October 2016 with a requirement to develop a number of forms associated with the Medicinal Cannabis project. The forms included two Licence applications (one for individual applicants, the other for body corporate applicants), and five modules covering Cultivation and production, Manufacturing, Research, Security, and Risk management. Each of the forms was to be available as a fillable Word document and a fillable PDF version. The forms were not intended to be available on the internet, but were to be provided to applicants in rare cases after they had contacted the ODC and established they could not apply using the online smart form that was also being developed. In essence, the forms were to be used as a back-up for applicants who could not access or complete the online form.
During the initial analysis and development stage of the work we undertook, and in close consultation with the Medicinal Cannabis Program Coordinator (often after hours due to the timeline), we were able to identify a number of areas for improvement in the paper forms. These included an amended flow of information and questions, identification of information that was collected on the paper form but not the online form, and changes to wording to keep it consistent which is important to help applicants understand the complex requirements. The improvements we identified were incorporated into the paper forms and passed on to the developers of the online form.
After providing the 14 final files, the ODC requested ‘example only’ versions of the forms to assist applicants in preparing their application. They discovered after implementation of the smart form, that applicants were struggling with the complexity of the information required. People filling in the smart form have 14 days to complete their application, but given the nature of the form and the fact that it builds dynamically based on answers provided, applicants were having trouble establishing all of the requirements in advance, and were not completing the form within the 14 day timeframe. As such, the ‘example files’, which are a hard copy of all requirements of the smart form, are now available on the internet for download by applicants so they can see exactly what information is required, and start to prepare that information, and their detailed answers prior to commencing the smart form.
The timeframe for the project was less than two weeks and we delivered 28 documents ready for implementation before the delivery deadline.
For information about Medicinal Cannabis, visit www.odc.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis
For help with your next project, contact Perform on 02 6162 0618.