04 May 2022
Work has started on the plan for the Technology Accelerator Programme following the States Assembly approval for its creation.
On Friday (29 April) States Members agreed to establish a new States fund, which will be used to accelerate the use of technology which supports economic, environmental and social priorities such as:
- improving productivity and Islanders' skills
- supporting new economic opportunities
- improving health and wellbeing
- responding to the climate emergency.
The Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, who was the proposer, said: "Our foresight in investing in our fibre infrastructure has meant that we have the potential to be at the forefront of technological advances. States Members recognised that we now need this investment in order to use that infrastructure to the benefit of all Islanders.
"Technology has the potential to bring significant benefits, and we will have to carefully consider where investment will be most effective. The opportunities are enormous, whether it's trialling carbon-neutral public transport, developing digital skills, or developing regtech in finance to reduce costs and improve productivity."
The fund will receive £20 million that was earmarked for a technology fund in the Government Plan 2022-25, and which stems from the special dividend paid to Government by Jersey Telecom in 2021. Financial accountability and oversight will be maintained by the Technology Accelerator Programme Oversight Board, which will now be established under the control of the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture.
Senator Lyndon Farnham said: "There is enormous potential in investing in technology which improves the productivity of existing economic sectors, supports the development of new economic sectors, products and services, helps Islanders to develop the right skills for the future, and improves supply chain resilience.
"The fund will be developed and managed by Digital Jersey on behalf of Government because that is where the expertise lies, but our arms-length mode means this expertise can still be guided by strategic political oversight from ministers and with on-going input from scrutiny."
Digital Jersey's CEO, Tony Moretta, said: "It's great to see the States Assembly place such a vote of confidence in the power of technology to address many of our key challenges. We can now start work on the detailed design of the programme ahead of a launch hopefully by the end of the year."