Department of Education and Training

This case study highlights the benefits the Department of Education and Training and the business community gained through choosing to develop online forms, instead of static forms using spreadsheets, for the Unique Student Identifier (USI) registry system. These online forms were developed using our SmartForms Service.

Case study from: SmartForms


From 1 January 2015, all students studying nationally recognised training in Australia are required to have a USI.  This provides students undertaking Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses online access to their training records and results (transcript) through a single online account. To setup access to the USI Registry System, the Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) use SmartForms via the USI website.

RTOs require access to the USI system to locate, verify, create and report on students' USI numbers. To do this the RTO must be set up in the USI Registry System initially via a SmartForm. In the first year of the USI Initiative, it is expected that 4,700 RTOs will request access to the USI Registry System. Then each year, it is estimated another 250 RTOs will request access to the USI Registry System. The form will also be used by approximately 50 RTOs annually to update their details. The SmartForms Service also allows RTOs to request pairing between their student management systems and the USI Registry System via web services.

Initially the Department of Education and Training was considering using spreadsheets to collect USI information from RTOs. Further investigation revealed that SmartForms could facilitate the process whilst adding benefits including efficiency improvements, website integration and a dynamic and user-friendly interface. Following the successful use of SmartForms the USI registry is being further developed to automate and streamline processes.

The SmartForms Service

Our SmartForms Service assists federal, state, territory and local government agencies to make their forms available online. The SmartForms Service is hosted on a secure Government Cloud. It allows agencies to collect data electronically and then transfer this data automatically into the agency’s business systems to complete processing. Approximately 80 state, territory and local Government agencies are already realising the benefits of using SmartForms for grant applications, licence applications, permit applications, secure payments, contact and enquiry forms, and surveys. By using the SmartForms Service agencies can reduce the regulatory burden on businesses by simplifying their use of government forms.

For more information and contact details refer to our SmartForms section.

The benefit

Choosing to develop the USI forms online has benefitted both the RTOs and the USI Office. The RTOs have benefitted through:

  • more user-friendly forms with real-time validation, increasing the accuracy and completeness of required information
  • a reduction in the level of effort required to complete the forms by automatically populating data fields
  • having easy online access to forms via and a simplified method of submission with immediate receipt notification
  • eliminating the need for printing, postage and storage costs associated with paper forms.

The cost saving to the RTOs from this streamlined process is estimated to be $70 per form submission. Based on an average of 300 submissions received annually, this translates to an annual saving to the RTOs of approximately $21,000. These savings are primarily a result of labour savings achieved by real-time validation, pre-filling, ease of access, and simplified submission. Savings are also contributed to by costs avoided in printing, postage and storage. The cost saving to the USI office is estimated to be $52 per submission with a total annual saving of approximately $15,600.

The USI office now receives fewer calls for help from RTOs and it spends less time reworking and validating due to the increased accuracy and completeness of the submitted forms.