2021 Minor Capital Fund Guidelines

1. Minor Capital Works Fund overview

The Start Strong Capital Works Grant Program aims to improve access to preschool by creating additional community preschool places in areas of need and demand across the state.

The Minor Capital Works Fund supports smaller-scale extensions or renovations and/or the recalculation of unencumbered space where it will result in an increase in community preschool places. The maximum grant amount is $100,000 (ex GST).

Minor Capital Works grants can be used to:

  • Extend or renovate existing centre-based community preschools where it will result in an increase in community preschool places; and/or
  • Engage a certified building practitioner to re-calculate unencumbered space where it will result in an increase in community places.

Applications for Round 2 of this fund will be received from 7 February 2022 and close on 25 April 2022.

1.1 Purpose and Objectives

The Fund is part of the Start Strong Capital Works Grant Program commitment to increase the number of community preschool places in NSW in areas of need and demand.

An increase in community preschool places is an expected outcome of a Minor Capital Works grant.

Minor Capital Works grants must also contribute to the following objectives:

  • Maximise the number of community preschool places available.
  • Leverage funds from sources external to the Department, including private finance, charitable donations and other grants from state and federal government.
  • Ensure the continued operation of the service to deliver community preschool places throughout the five-year compliance period.
  • Support ongoing management of the service in line with applicable regulatory requirements.

1.2 Project completion

Minor capital works projects must be completed and acquitted within 12 months of the funding agreement being executed. Funding agreements must be signed by an authorised officer in the applying organisation no later than four weeks after receipt.

If you have concerns about these timeframes, please contact the Capital Programs Team on capital.works@det.nsw.edu.au or 1 800 619 113 prior to submitting your application, to discuss the timeline of your project. Adjustments to this timeline may be considered where there is evidence of exceptional circumstances. If you don’t think the project will be able to be delivered in this time, you may wish to apply at a later date.

2. What can (and cannot) be funded?

There are items that you can and cannot include in project cost estimates in your Minor Capital Works Fund application. The following table lists what the Department will and won’t consider when reviewing applications.

What can be funded What cannot be funded
  • project management costs
  • planning and design costs
  • soil hygienist reports
  • site preparation, including clearing or demolition
  • construction and commissioning
  • fixed fittings and fixed equipment
  • costs to engage a certified building practitioner
  • routine or cyclical maintenance works
  • purchase of cars, buses and other vehicles
  • ongoing administration or operational costs
  • staff salaries and training
  • toys, playground equipment, portable equipment and consumables
  • cosmetic upgrades that do not increase capacity, including landscaping
  • infrastructure upgrades that do not increase capacity, including covered outdoor learning areas and car parks
  • removal of contaminates on projects sites (e.g. asbestos/arsenic)

The Minor Capital Works Fund will not fund projects that:

  • do not create additional community preschool places;
  • are located outside NSW;
  • are submitted by a for-profit organisation or association, including a sole trader or a Pty Ltd company;
  • do not align with the program objectives;
  • do not meet the requirements outlined in these guidelines;
  • do not meet the assessment criteria;
  • have already been completed (i.e. retrospective funding);
  • have already been funded by the Start Strong Capital Works Grants Program (i.e. the preschool places committed cannot be funded twice); or
  • duplicate project elements already funded through another source (i.e. where another grant is funding the same element/s).

3. Who can apply?

To be eligible for funding applicants must:

  • be registered or incorporated in NSW;
  • be a not for profit organisation or association, or a local government entity; and
  • operate an existing community preschool service as an Approved Provider with a valid Service Approval.

For-profit organisations cannot apply for Minor Capital Works grant.

For those applicants that meet the above eligibility requirements, their applications will progress to assessment against the assessment criteria described below.

4. Assessment

Applicants must complete a detailed application that meets all requirements as the basis for seeking funding approval.

Applications will be competitively assessed against the assessment criteria outlined below.

Assessment criteria

Applications will be competitively assessed according to the following assessment criteria:

  1. Increase in preschool places in areas of need and growing demand. Areas that can demonstrate a shortage in preschool places and/or have a low SEIFA index will be prioritised.
  2. Accessibility and Inclusion. The project will provide and/or improve the provision of a culturally safe and appropriate educational setting for equity children (Aboriginal children, children with disability and additional needs, and children from low income families).
  3. Capacity and capability for delivery. The applicant needs to demonstrate readiness to proceed with the project and capability to deliver the project and places with acceptable or tolerable risks.
  4. Overall quality and completeness of the application. Applicants need to present a clear proposal and put forward a suitable solution to meet the objectives of the program.
  5. Value for money. The cost of the project is within the agreed benchmarks for the funding category and any other attenuating factors that may impact the cost of the project have been considered.

Past performance

We will review your past performance and assess whether it is likely to have an impact on successful delivery of your project. This will include considering whether you have:

  • taken appropriate steps to deliver previous projects funded through the Start Strong Capital Works Grant Program within appropriate timeframes (where applicable);
  • overdue projects funded by the Department and whether extensions have been requested and approved; and/or
  • completed projects funded by the Department and whether you have submitted all documentation required to acquit the grant funding, including regular monthly reporting and acquittal within the contracted time frame.

Poor performance against these factors may result in projects not being recommended for funding or funding withdrawal.

5. Funding conditions

Organisations that receive a grant must:

  • agree to the requirements outlined in these guidelines. Failure to do so may result in funding being withheld or an offer of funding being withdrawn;
  • contribute at least 5% of the total project cost;
  • enter into a Funding Agreement with the Department;
  • follow the Funding Acknowledgement Guidelines for NSW Government infrastructure grants, including liaising with the Capital Programs team on events such as openings, and erecting signage for projects;
  • submit progress reports and required supporting evidence for approval by the Department upon completion of agreed milestones and completion of the project;
  • if the project is on a Departmental site, have a licence to operate the service for a five-year period; and
  • agree that no additional state funding will be allocated to the proposed project, including where there are cost overruns, and if additional costs arise, they must be met by the applicant.

ECE facilities funded through a Minor Capital Works grant must:

  • be operated by an existing approved provider of early childhood education services in NSW;
  • offer a centre-based community preschool service with a valid service approval;
  • operate a community preschool service for at least five years from when the project is completed. The places funded by this grant must be available as community preschool places for a five-year period; and
  • comply with the requirements of applicable national and state laws and regulations.

You must not enter into a contract or commence any works proposed in your application until you have executed a Funding Agreement with the Department. Approved applicants that proceed with works prior to executing the Funding Agreement do so at their own risk.

The Department will not fund completed projects.

Please review the Funding Acknowledgement Guidelines and the Funding Agreement Terms and Conditions (PDF, 341KB) before submitting your application.

These documents will clarify your obligations if you succeed in receiving Capital Works Program funding and are available on the Department’s website.

All projects are expected to adhere to relevant building guidelines and regulations.

6. Project management requirements

A suitable project manager must be identified at the time of application and appointed within four weeks of the funding agreement execution.

The name and contact details (email, telephone number, including mobile) of the proposed project manager must be included in the application and confirmed in the Funding Agreement.

Failure to follow these requirements regarding a project manager could ultimately result in the Department withdrawing the funding commitment.

7. Project reporting requirements

As a condition of grant funding, successful applicants must comply with project monitoring and reporting requirements, including:

  • submitting milestone progress reports and required evidence for funding acquittal;
  • advising the Department in advance of key milestones and providing opportunities for public communication of these milestones;
  • advising the Department of scope changes (relating to time, cost and project scope) by completing and submitting a variation form;
  • attending site inspections, meetings and teleconferences with Department staff or representatives where required; and
  • providing copies of building contracts, receipts and/or invoices when requested.

8. Project timeframe extensions

Successful applicants must contact the Department immediately upon identifying that they may not meet the timeframes for project delivery. Applicants will be required to complete a variation form providing detailed evidence that explains the reason for the delay and demonstrates that the project will be completed within the additional time requested.

Timeframe extensions are not guaranteed to be approved. Excessive delays may ultimately result in the Department recommending to the Minister to withdrawing the funding commitment.

9. Service approvals

For grants provided under the Minor Capital Works Fund, you will need to obtain approval for the additional approved places before submitting your Acquittal Report.

For further information on the Approvals Process please visit the Department’s website or contact the Department’s Quality Assessment and Regulation Services on 1 800 619 113 (toll free) or by emailing ececd@det.nsw.edu.au.

10. Acquittal requirements

All successful applicants are required to submit an Acquittal Report to the Department. The Acquittal Report must be signed and dated by two authorised representatives and include the following information

  • certificate of final completion;
  • certificate of occupancy;
  • final project expenditure list;
  • letter of service approval, including licensed places; and
  • photos of completed project.

11. How to apply

Requests for funding for Round 2 will be received from 7 February 2022 until 25 April 2022.

Applications must be submitted via SmartyGrants by an authorised officer. The submission of an application that meets the eligibility criteria does not guarantee funding.

Application forms can be accessed online at SmartyGrants.

Applicants must be registered to use the SmartyGrants application system. Registration is a free and straightforward process. It is strongly recommended that you download the sample application form from SmartyGrants and Application Guide provided on our website as soon as possible so that you become familiar with the information required.

For assistance with the online application system, please contact the Smarty Grants Support Desk by phone on (03) 9320 6888 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday or email service@smartygrants.com.au. You can also find a guide and Frequently Asked Questions.

All sections must be completed, and the application form submitted to be considered for funding. Changes can be made to an application any time until it is submitted.

12. Projects on Departmental Sites

If you propose to upgrade a facility on a Department school site you must have a current licence agreement or lease to operate the service.

For further information in relation to your current licence agreement or lease, please contact Schools Infrastructure NSW on preschools.sinsw@det.nsw.edu.au.

13. Application checklist

Applicants will be required to provide:

  • A detailed project description, project plan and expected timeline.
  • An itemised project budget, including the applicant’s contribution and additional sources of funding for the project, if any.
  • At least 1 quote for the minor capital works obtained in the past 6 months and/or receipts for the professional plans required to apply for the grant. Applicants should contact the Department if they are unable to obtain a quote. In exceptional circumstances this requirement may be waived.
  • Confirmation of the number of preschool places that will be created with the final design of the capital works project, including professional concept plans from a certified building practitioner to confirm the increase in unencumbered space.
  • Description and/or evidence on how the applicant estimated the number of places to be increased in line with regulatory requirements and with reference to the professional plans.
  • A description of how the project will provide and/or improve the provision of a culturally safe and appropriate educational setting for equity children (Aboriginal children, children with disability and additional needs, and children from low income families).
  • Evidence that the applicant is able to proceed with the proposed capital works project on the site including, but not limited to:
    • Evidence of site ownership, formal lease or other suitable arrangements for a five-year period.
    • Evidence that you have approval to proceed with the project from all relevant parties (your committee, landlord, lessor, or SINSW as applicable).
    • Evidence that you have support from all affected stakeholders and delivery partners (your landlord, Council, committee, other funding bodies, etc).
    • Information and evidence of other sources of funding, if any, and proof of funds for the provider contribution.
  • Confirmation of readiness to proceed with the project.

Applicants will also need to provide evidence of:

  • Provider Approval.
  • Service Approval.
  • Registration or incorporation in NSW.
  • Status as not for profit or a local government entity.

Applicants have a right to request detailed feedback on their Application.

Applicants who have complaints about any aspect of the application and assessment process may submit their issue in writing at capital.works@det.nsw.edu.au.

14. Contact details

For more information about the Start Strong Capital Works Grant Program please contact the Early Childhood Education Programs Directorate by phone or email.

Ph: 1 800 619 113

Email: capital.works@det.nsw.edu.au


  • Early childhood education

Business Unit:

  • Early Childhood Outcomes
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