ITA Application Guide - Crisis Fund

This application guide will help you complete a strong Start Strong Capital Works Grant application for Stage 2 Invitation to apply (ITA) for the Crisis Fund.

Applicants shortlisted in stage 1 Expression of Interest (EOI) are invited to submit a detailed application at Stage 2 Invitation to apply (ITA) to further demonstrate their alignment to the assessment criteria and the viability of their project.

The Department has agreed to fund 17 hours of qualified support to assist ITA applicants with prescribed elements of their Stage 2 ITA application. Applicants that opt-in will have to agree to the Terms of Use to access this service, which can be found on the grants and funded programs website.

General information: Applicant details and crisis scenario

You are required to confirm key applicant details that were provided in your EOI application. If your circumstances have changed, you must notify the Department so your proposal can be properly assessed.

Among other things, you must confirm your:

  • Provider Approval ID
  • Service Approval ID
  • Key contact details of primary contact
  • Capital works address
  • Your crisis scenario and any updates that may have occurred since you submitted your EOI.

What is the capital works address?

The Capital Works address is the site where your proposed project will take place. It is crucial for the Department to understand this address and whether a preschool is currently operating on the site.

Crisis situation category

The Crisis category supports the maintenance and/or creation of community preschool places where there is an immediate and/or urgent need for capital works in at least one of the following circumstances:

You are required to demonstrate that you are facing closure or relocation due to exceptional circumstances, as opposed to choosing to relocate. Voluntary relocations are not considered crisis. You must attach evidence to support your claims, which could include; a notice to vacate your premises, formal correspondence regarding a break of lease, compulsory acquisition of your premises etc.

You are required to explain your crisis circumstances and attach evidence to support your claims. This could include: photos of the structural damage, reports made by tradespeople or builders explaining the nature and cause of the damage, proof of the natural disaster or state of emergency that caused the damages, etc.

The evidence must demonstrate that extensive damage has occurred due to a natural disaster or a state of emergency, and it must be clear that the capital works are urgent and required to avoid service delivery disruptions. You must also demonstrate that the capital works you are seeking funding for are not related to any routine or maintenance repairs, or those required to comply with regulatory requirements, as this cannot be funded under the crisis category.

You will also be asked to confirm that you have made a claim to your insurance for the damages, and said claim was either rejected or it resulted in insufficient funds being provided to you. It is mandatory for applicants in this crisis scenario to submit a claim with their insurance prior to applying, as they will be required to attach evidence of the outcome of their claim.

You are required to confirm that the suburbs you intend to service and the proposed capital works address are classified as Remote or Very Remote as per the Accessibility and Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA). To confirm this, you may enter your capital works address and all relevant suburbs on the ABS website, click on the green icon that reads “Identify Regions and ASGS classification”, and refer to the 2016 Remoteness Area (RA) classification. Please note that suburbs or addresses classified as Inner or Outer Regional or Major Cities will not be eligible under this crisis subcategory.

ITA professional support

The Department has engaged Community Connections Solutions Australia (CCSA) to provide up to 17 hours of prescribed support (funded by the Department) to ITA Applicants on an opt-in basis. ITA Applicants will be asked to confirm that they opted in to use this service, and will be prompted to attach the written attestation they received from CCSA. This written attestation should be attached to the ITA application as supporting evidence prior to application submission.

Assessment criteria: Capacity and capability for delivery

Applicants need to demonstrate their capacity and capability for delivery by providing detailed evidence of their project. Some of the elements assessed under this parameter are:

Applicants are required to provide a detailed description of the final project design and scope of works, and the number of preschool places to be created as a direct result of the proposed project.

You must also provide a detailed project plan and timeline for your project, as evidence of your ability to finalise the project within 24 months. The project plan and timeline should include your expected start and finish dates, timeframes to achieve milestones and the estimated opening date of the service once capital works are completed. .

You must also provide evidence to demonstrate you have approval and support from all relevant parties (for example, your landlord, council, committee, Schools Infrastructure NSW) to proceed with the capital works project on your site. This may include preliminary minutes from discussions with your board or council, letters of support from your landlord, other funding bodies contributing to the project or partners, a Development Approval (DA) application lodged or approved, or any other related documents.

You need to provide evidence that indicates you have a suitable project site, and that the site will remain available for provision of a preschool services for the 10-year period following completion of the capital works. Evidence can include a Certificate of Title if you own the land, a current 10-year lease, or a license to operate on a school site or equivalent. Please note you must secure a site before applying for this grant.

If your current land arrangements are not valid for 10 years, you will be required to demonstrate how you and your landlord will meet the 10-year requirement. For example, you may provide a lease for a shorter tenure and a letter of support from your lessor indicating you are a longstanding tenant and that they intent to extend your lease upon the expiry of your current one.

If you operate on a public school site, you are required to provide a letter of support from School Infrastructure NSW indicating that they support your project and intend to operate a preschool on the school site for 10 years. Please discuss licensing arrangements and your intent to proceed with the project with the school principal and School Infrastructure NSW (SINSW) before applying.

For this fund, the provision of a security instrument will be a precondition for funding. Applicants are required to consent to this requirement should they be successful with their Stage 2 application:

  • If you own the land, you understand you will be required to enter into a mortgage.
  • If you have a 10-year lease, you and your landlord will be required to consent to a mortgage of lease.
  • If you have a license on a school site, you must discuss licensing and the proposed project with School Infrastructure NSW, and that they support your project.
  • If you have any other land arrangements or circumstances, you agreeto consent to an appropriate security instrument as advised by the Department.

You are encouraged to submit evidence to confirm your intent, such as a letter from you and your landlord or SINSW. If you, your lessor or any parties have any concerns or restrictions in regards to the security instrument, please provide details on your application

Please see the security instrument information for further details

Applicants will be required to provide a risk assessment for their project. We encourage you to think carefully about the risks that may impact your project and what strategies you can implement to mitigate them and deliver your project with minimal disruptions.

Examples of risks

  • Cost overruns due to supply chain disruptions, increase in cost materials, unforeseen expenditure or other reasons. Note that, under the Funding Agreement, any cost overruns will be the approved provider’s responsibility. To mitigate the risk of cost overrun, you are encouraged to discuss financial risks with suppliers when obtaining quotes. You should also ensure your budget and quotes reflect the final scope of works with all design features you intend to deliver. You should also include contingency within your budget.
  • Project delays due to natural disasters, COVID-19, or any other unforeseen operational reasons
  • DA approval is not obtained or requires a change in design/scope to be compliant. To mitigate this risk, we encourage you and your suppliers to carefully review all relevant regulations that apply to your project, including but not limited to the Building Code of Australia and the regulations that apply to childcare-centres State Environmental Planning Policy - Educational Establishments and Child Care Facilities 2017).
  • Service Approval is not obtained or is obtained for a lower number of places per day. To mitigate this risk, you should engage a licensed building practitioner with relevant accreditation or registration with their relevant body to provide you with plans and calculations of unencumbered space, to support your forecasted increase/maintenance of places and to ensure your build will be compliant with all relevant regulations applicable to childcare centres.
  • Difficulty in negotiating a security instrument based on special circumstances of your service affecting your land, which can result in delays and jeopardise the viability of your project. To mitigate this risk, we encourage you to discuss security requirements with all parties involved before submitting your application and communicate any issues or concerns regarding the security requirement on your application.

Risk likelihood

  • Rare – less than 10% chance of event occurring over life of a project
  • Unlikely – 10% - 40% chance of event occurring over life of a project
  • Possible – 41% - 60% chance of an event occurring over life of a project
  • Likely – 61% - 90% chance of an event occurring over like of a project
  • Certain – More than 90% chance of an event occurring over life of a project.

Risk impact

Impact refers to the consequence on your capital works project, if the risks occurs. Refer to the table below to assess the consequence and level of impact on project delivery.



Category
Low Insignificant/minor consequences Moderate Medium consequences High Major/substantial consequences Extreme Critical/significant consequences
Change of scope or variation to project outome (increase in preschool places) Very minor impact on project scope or project quality, or up to 5% of the intended places not delivered Moderate impact on project scope or project quality, which may impact service approval, or between 5-20% of the intended places are not delivered Major impact on project scope or project quality, which will impact service approval, or between 20-80% of the intended places are not delivered Significant impact on project scope or project quality, which will cause service approval to not be issued, or majority (over 80%) of the promised places are not delivered
Off tracked or delayed Project is within expected timeframe Expected timeframe has exceeded up to 6 months Expected timeframe has exceeded between 6 months to 1 year Expected timeframe has exceeded by more than 1 year
Project budget Very minor variances to project budget (up to 5%), that do not impact project delivery Moderate variance to project budget (between 5-40%), that negatively impacts the provider or potentially affects project delivery Major variance to project budget (between 40-80%), causing serious shortfall that negatively impacts the provider or affects project delivery Significant variance to project budget (over 80%), causing severe shortfall and negative impact to the provider or project delivery

Assessment criteria: Maintenance and/or increase in preschool places

The broad objective of the Start Strong Capital Works Crisis Fund is to respond to a crisis with capital works to maintain and/or increase community preschool places. Whether you will increase and/or maintain the number of preschool places you offer per day will depend on your crisis scenario and the specifics of your project. Please note whenever we refer to preschool places we mean per day or licenced places (and not 600-hour or per week places).

Some projects may only maintain the current preschool places they offer, while others may also create additional preschool places through the capital works.

For applicants intending to address a gap in the provision of preschool education in a remote area with a new centre-based community preschool, an increase in community preschool places is mandatory.

  • Places maintained: the number of places from your existing licence that you will be able to continue offering as a result of your capital works. You may maintain all or some of your current preschool places.
  • New places created: these are any additional preschool places that will be created by the capital works project.
  • Expected total places: the number of places per day you intend to offer after completing the crisis capital works. It should be the sum of the places you maintain (if any) and the new places you create (if any).

The Department has engaged Community Connections Solutions Australia (CCSA) to provide up to 17 hours of prescribed support (funded by the Department) to ITA Applicants on an opt-in basis. If you opt into the service, CCSA can provide support and advice when calculating the number of preschool places that will be created as a result of your proposed project.

Your project must maintain and/or increase the number of places your service offers per day, and these need to be allocated exclusively to community preschool. Increasing or maintaining places for any other age group or service type (for example, offering a preschool program in a long day care setting) will not be considered. If you are a multipurpose service, please note that this grant can only fund the portion of your build resulting in an increase in places allocated exclusively to community preschool.

You must confirm or adjust the forecasted increase/maintenance in places you had previously provided on your EOI, based on your project’s final scope of work. Your updated forecast must be supported by plans and unencumbered space calculations prepared by a licensed building practitioner with adequate accreditation or registration with their relevant body. You will also be asked to demonstrate how you have calculated your proposed increase in line with regulations 107 and 108 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations.

Please consider all relevant space and regulatory requirements for centre-based services. See Preschool Places Regulatory Requirements for more information. Also note that the Regulatory Authority considers your compliance history when you apply for Service Approval to increase the number of approved places.

Guidance on preschool places by applicant service type

Relocating an existing service to a new site

If you are an existing community preschool service being forced to relocate to a new site, your existing or current places are the places per day you are currently licensed for as per NQAITS.

Example breakdown of places

Brave Lions Preschool has a licence for 20 children a day at their current site. They are forced to relocate to a new site due to compulsory acquisition of the premises. It is expected that the new site will able to obtain service approval for a total of 25 children a day after the capital works.

Current places: 20
Places maintained: 20
New places created: 5
Expected total places: 25

Little Nugget preschool currently has service approval for 40 children per day. They are forced to relocate to a new site that requires capital works as their landlord advised that their current site will be demolished. As the new site is smaller they expect to obtain service approval for only 35 children per day at the new site after the capital works.

Current places: 40
Places maintained: 35
New places created: 0
Expected total places: 35

Multipurpose preschools

An increase in places means that the project creates new places that are exclusively allocated to community preschool.

Places allocated to a preschool program within a Long Day Care setting are not community preschool places and do not count for the purposes of the increase.

If you are a multipurpose, your current places refer to the number of places within your existing licence that are exclusively allocated to community preschool (i.e. excluding the places used for long day care or preschool program within long day care).

Please note this will number will not match your licensed places per day as per NQAITS, as the latter would also include your Long Day Care places. Places allocated to Long Day Care or preschool program within Long Day Care do not count as current or existing community preschool places for the purposes of this program.

Example breakdown of places

Happy Children is a multipurpose that has 50 licenced/per day places recorded in NQAITS. Of these 50, 20 places are allocated exclusively to community preschool, and 30 are allocated to Long Day Care or a preschool program within the Long Day Care. Therefore, this service has 20 existing community preschool places.

They must undertake urgent structural work due to bushfires and intend to maintain all their existing places, and create an additional 10. Of these new 10 places, only 5 will be allocated exclusively to community preschool. Therefore, Happy Children is maintaining their existing 20 preschool places and creating an additional 5. They expect to have 25 community preschool places as a result of the capital works and 60 places per day as per NQAITS.

When ask about the expected total number of places, this applicant should respond 25, as this is the expected total number of places allocated exclusively to community preschool.

Current places: 20
Places maintained: 20
New places created: 5
Expected total places: 25

Existing services undertaking capital works at their preschool centre

If you are an existing community preschool service undertaking urgent structural repairs to your current site, your existing or current places are the places per day you are currently licensed for as per NQAITS.

Example breakdown of places

Butterfly Preschool has applied for a grant to undertake urgent structural remediation works due to a flood. The funds secured through their insurance are insufficient, so they obtained the outstanding funding through the Crisis Fund of the Start Strong Capital Works Grants. They currently have a licence for 30 children per day, and expect to maintain all 30 places upon completion of the capital works. They do not expect to create any new places.

Current places: 30
Places maintained: 30
New places created: 0
Expected total places: 30

New services

If you are proposing to open a new service in a remote or very remote area to address the gap in the provision of preschool education, the answer to this question should be zero. You have no current or existing preschool places as you are not yet an operational service.

Example breakdown of places

Gumnut Childcare is a provider that wants to open a new centre-based service in a very remote ARIA to meet a gap in the provision of preschool education. They hope to build a new preschool for 18 children per day.

Current places: 0 (not yet an operational service)
Places maintained: 0 (no places to maintain as not yet operational)
New places created: 18
Expected total places: 18

Assessment criteria: Accessibility and inclusion

You must submit evidence that your Capital Works project will provide and/or improve the provision of a culturally safe, accessible and inclusive educational setting for equity children. Equity children include Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children, children from low income backgrounds and children with disability and additional needs.

Evidence may include a description of the NSW Government Policies regarding diversity and inclusion that your service observes or any other internal policies or programs the preschool may have.

Letters of support from consultation with your local Aboriginal Community or any other equity group may also be provided as evidence. You should also mention if you are an Aboriginal Business, Australian Disability Enterprise or other Social Enterprise, or how this project will impact these communities (for example if you employ or intend to employ staff from these groups or businesses operated by them, etc).

Assessment criteria: Value for money (budget)

As part of the Start Strong Capital Works Program, the NSW Government has committed $62.1 million in funding to deliver 7,100 additional community preschool places across NSW. This budget is considered as part of grant assessment process and the value for money of your proposal is a key assessment criterion.

Several elements are considered when assessing value for money, including the cost per place of your project. Cost per place is calculated by dividing the grant amount requested (excluding GST) by the number of preschool places you will create and/or maintain (i.e. the expected total number of places).

The more funding a provider contributes, either directly or via other funding sources, the lower the cost per place will be and the better the value for money.

You must submit at least two quotes obtained in the past six months that reflect your project's final design and scope to substantiate your budget and confirm your income and expenditure.

The project income is comprised of the grant amount, the provider contribution, and any other external sources of funding. All financial figures must be provided excluding GST throughout your application.

You must complete an updated and confirmed income table reflecting the final amounts of your funding sources. This table must also indicate confirmation and availability of these funds, and you will be required to attach evidence of this.

The grant amount (mandatory field)

These are the funds requested from the NSW Government under the Start Strong Capital Works Grant (ex GST).

If the grant amount requested on your stage 2 (ITA) application differs from the amount requested during the Stage 1 (EOI), due to changes in your project's final cost, please note that the Value for Money of your application will be re-assessed. The same applies if the proposed increase/maintenance in places has changed, as these two elements impact the cost per place of your project.

If you are a multipurpose service, please note that this grant can only fund the portion of your build resulting in an increase/maintenance in places allocated exclusively to community preschool.

Provider contribution (mandatory field)

This is your organisation’s contribution to the project and must be at least 5% of the project's total cost (ex GST). It can be comprised of preschool funds and/or loans. To demonstrate the availability of preschool funds you may provide a recent bank statement, balance sheet or letter of your CFO committing the funds. To demonstrate the availability of a loan, you should include a letter of offer from your lending entity specifying the amount in offer (ex GST).

If you are a multipurpose service, please note that the provider contribution mentioned on this application must be allocated to the portion of the build that will increase community preschool places.

Other external sources of funding

This is any funding contributed to the project by parties other than the Start Strong Capital Works Grant and the provider contribution (ex GST). It can include other grants from State, Federal or Local Government, donations from private or public organisations or in-kind services.

The applicant is responsible for confirming the availability and amount of funds contributed by other sources or in-kind services. These amounts will not be funded by the Department.

You will be required to provide evidence to prove the availability and exact amount contributed by these external income sources, such as a letter from your funding entity with these details. For in-kind services, formal correspondence should confirm the offer of services detailing the scope of the offer. In-kind services can be quantified as $0 on your budget.

If an income source has not been confirmed, the applicant must provide and expected timeframe for the confirmation of funding, with evidence to support this.

You must update your expenditure table with detailed information about your project expenses and nominate an appropriate source of funding for each one of them.

You must submit a minimum of two quotes obtained in the past six months that reflect the final design of your capital works project to substantiate your budget. All expenses should be supported by a quote.

When preparing your budget and expenditure table, please make sure that:

  • Your quotes are recent, itemised and reflect the final scope of works and final design for your project. Further funding will not be provided for any design additions or alterations not present on the current budget and quotes.
  • You are including all relevant expenses related to your project, including administrative or professional fees, project management, etc
  • You are nominating an adequate funding source to cover each expense. Please review the Program Guidelines to understand which components can be funded by this grant.
  • If you identify elements that cannot be funded with this grant, such as playground equipment, maintenance works, rooms that will be used for primarily for purposes other than preschool education (for example health or community services, or rooms for the delivery of any age-group or service type other than community preschool), please identify these costs on your expenditure table and nominate an appropriate funding source
  • You are including contingency in your budget
  • Your total expenditure (i.e. total cost of the project) matches your total income, meaning you have sourced enough funding to cover the costs of your project.

Example

Project Expense Amount ex GST Source(s0 of Funding
Site readiness and management $7,000 Provider Contribution
Site clearing and waste $6,000 Provider Contribution
Extension Capital Works - main build/ extension cost

$150,000

$250,000

Start Strong Capital Works Grant

Federal Government Grant

Plumbing $25,000 Start Strong Capital Works Grant
Electricity $25,000 Start Strong Capital Works Grant
Fit out $2,000 Provider Contribution
Landscaping and roadworks $10,000 Start Strong Capital Works Grant
Frames and trusses $40,000 Start Strong Capital Works Grant
Project management $50,000 Provider Contribution
Professional fees (i.e. legal fees) $0 In-kind services
Professional fees (i.e. architects and other specialists) $20,000 Provider Contribution
Administrative expenses (e.g. Council approvals, Development Approval) $20,000 Provider Contribution
Contingency $57,000 Federal Government Grant
TOTAL COST OF PROJECT (ex GST) $662,000
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