Thank you very much.
As we look to our transformation agenda and the main priorities around it, there are some that really stand out. We've spoken about streamlining and reducing complexity, and I want to speak a little about what that means.
You mentioned the letters. I guess when we took a step back and, as I mentioned, looked at our programs, we decided to redesign all of them, to re-engineer them, to remove steps in the process and make them simpler. That's critical to our department's success. I mention this because it means that, internally, to those who work as program delivery employees within the department, they'll have more time to deliver the programs through working with veterans than time spent now on interpretation or working through complex issues. So that's very important.
I already mentioned that one of the first things we did was to streamline our decision-making and give more authority to the front-line staff. That work has been very successful. It's resulted in better turnaround times, and we'll be continuing that. That will be a key objective as well.
I want to mention technology, because in our department, our modernization encompasses technology to a very high extent. Right now that means we're investing in critical technology that will allow us to scan and digitalize records. Once again, this is in partnership with Library and Archives Canada and Public Works and Government Services Canada. As a result, the medical records of applicants to the department can be scanned quickly. This will reduce the time we now spend and the resources we now expend on moving paper files throughout the department, and it will cut our time required to adjudicate these applications quite significantly.
We're also building partnerships. When we speak about partnerships, our key partner, of course, is DND. We've been very successful with them, in having a strong agreement, a strong accord with them, about how we're going to approach the needs of our veterans. We worked at that at all levels in the department.
I think one of the greatest indications of that and a key priority is our commitment to the integrated personnel support centres. That is where we are co-located with DND, around the Canadian Forces bases and wings across the country. There are now 24 where we are set up together. We're going to continue that commitment. As we see a need, we'll continue to put resources as needed into integrated personnel support centres and make sure that our program arrangements work very well.
We're harmonizing other programs as well. Another key commitment with DND as a partner is to look at all of our programs and services. When I mention “harmonization”, I really mean, in simple terms, that it's a crosswalk between DND's programs and Veterans Affairs Canada's programs so that when you leave one department and enter another, you feel that continuity of service and care.