Vacation Care Transition Support Program Guidelines

1. Program overview

From 1 July 2020, the Department of Education (Department) will run a Vacation Care Transition Support Program. The aim of the Program will be to support current vacation care providers in NSW, while improving access to vacation care for vulnerable cohorts as per the Commonwealth Government’s Priority of Access Guidelines. The Program is managed by the Emerging Priorities and Initiatives (EPI) Unit within the Department.

The Vacation Care (VC) Transition Support Program is comprised of two rounds, these being the:

  1. Transition Support (Round One)
  2. Transition Pilot (Round Two).

These Guidelines are for Round One of the VC Transition Support Program.

Round One is accessible only for FY 2019-20 recipients of the Vacation Care Grants Program (‘Legacy Grant’). Services who did not receive Legacy Grant funding in FY 2019-20 are ineligible to apply for funding in Round One.

The total funding pool available through the VC Transition Support Program is $2 million. Grant allocations for Round One will be prioritised before allocations are determined for Round Two (Pilot), which will be open to all other eligible Vacation Care providers in NSW.

1.1 Timing

Applications for the VC Transition Support Program open in June 2020.

The funding is only available for use during the 2020-21 financial year.

1.2 Program priorities

Services in receipt of Legacy Grant funding in FY 2019-20 are invited to apply for Round One of Transition Support. Applications will be submitted via SmartyGrants. Applications will require services to comply with the following program priorities:

  • Operating a vacation care service – commit to have the service open throughout all school holidays in FY 2020-21 and then demonstrate it has done so
  • Ability to meet program objectives – provide an outline of program objectives a and then report against them (refer section 1.3)
  • Enrolment of children from vulnerable cohorts – provide enrolment numbers for the service and vacation period, including the proportion of children from vulnerable cohorts
  • Participation in program evaluation –assist the Department through provision of data findings towards future programs aimed at increasing vacation care provision of vulnerable cohorts, as identified in the Commonwealth Government’s Priority of Access Guidelines.

Data collected by the Department through the application and reporting requirements for the VC Transition Program Round One will directly inform a review of vacation care funding program’s scope and purpose beyond the FY 2020-21 transition phase.

1.3 Program objectives

The objectives of the VC Transition Support Program are to:

  1. Provide stability of funding to current Legacy Grant recipients by applying Vacation Care (Legacy Funding) to a transition funding program, while the Department works with current grant recipients to identify alternative funding sources given unprecedented COVID-19 conditions (Round One)
  2. Assist vacation care services to remain available to essential workers and vulnerable children throughout unprecedented COVID-19 conditions, by extending the program to all vacation care providers (Round One and Two).
  3. Support equitable access for vulnerable cohorts in vacation care services through program application and reporting requirements that are based on the Commonwealth Government’s Priority of Access Guidelines, including as the highest priority, a child that is at risk of serious abuse or neglect, and/or children in:
    1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families
    2. families which include a disabled person
    3. families which include an individual whose adjusted taxable income does not exceed the lower income threshold
    4. families from a non-English speaking background
    5. socially isolated families; and children of single parents). (Round One and Two)
  4. Increase access to updated vacation care sector data, collected by the Emerging Priorities and Initiatives (EPI) Unit through the program’s application and reporting requirements, to assist with analysis informing a review of the program’s scope and purpose beyond the initial transition phase. (Round One and Two)

All funding must be used by successful in a manner consistent with these Program objectives.

2. VC Transition Support Program funding amounts

Recipients of the Legacy Grant in FY 2019-20 can apply for funding up to their current funding amount or $10,000 (excluding GST), whichever is the lesser amount. Thetotal funding amount will require expenditure during the 2020-21 financial year.

Previous Legacy Grant services who received more than $10,000 for FY 2019-20 will be eligible to apply for a Supplementary Support Payment – see Section 2.1 below for details.

Round One is limited to current Legacy Grant recipients in order to support their transition to new funding arrangements and assist current vacation care providers to remain open throughout all FY 2020-21 school holidays. The VC Transition Support Program will also encourage services to prioritise increasing their proportion of children identified as vulnerable under Commonwealth Priority of Access Guidelines.

2.1. Supplementary Support Payment

The Department will provide a Supplementary Support Payment for Legacy Grant recipients that received more than $10,000 in grant funding in FY 2019-20 and that can show that a reduction of funding under the FY 2020-21 VC Transition Support Program will lead to loss or reduction of service. Any such Supplementary Support Payment will be limited to the successful applicant receiving a total a payment up to the FY 2019-2020 funding amount under the VC Transition Support Program. It will be available on a case by case basis.

This ‘top up’ mechanism aims to alleviate concerns from Legacy Grant recipients who demonstrate significant dependency on the previous funding received in FY 2019-20 through the Legacy Grant. It ensures that there will be no loss of services as a consequence of the VC Transition Support Program in FY 2020-21.

Vacation care services in this position will need to provide further details regarding their dependency ratio on the Legacy Grant in FY 2019-20 and the value that the additional funding will provide in FY 2020-21.

The Supplementary Support Payment will be prioritised before the remaining funds will be open for the Pilot program.

3. Eligibility Criteria

3.1. Round One – What services are eligible?

Round One is open only to Legacy Grant recipients who received funding in FY 2019-20.

To be eligible for funding, the provider must complete an application that:

  • confirms the service is provided by an approved vacation care provider and recipient of the FY 2019-20 Legacy Grant
  • requests funding up to previous allocation amounts, or $10,000 (excluding GST) whichever is the lesser amount
  • provides an outline of their program objectives, with particular focus on improving access for children identified for priority access
  • acknowledgement/evidence of commitment to remain open for all school holidays in FY 2020-21
  • provides documentation supporting the service prioritising enrolments for children identified in the Commonwealth’s ‘Priority of Access Guidelines’ and/or improving access for vulnerable cohorts where possible
  • provides enrolment data at application stage, as well as confirmation of ability to provide data during per the Program’s reporting and acquittal lifecycle.

3.2. Round One: What services are not eligible?

The VC Transition Support Program will not provide funding for providers:

  • That did not receive Legacy Grant funding in FY 2019-20
  • That are excluded by the National Law and are not within the scope of the National Quality Framework
  • That are not aligned with NSW Department of Education policies
  • Are services outside NSW
  • That don’t provide a commitment to remain open for all school holidays in FY 2020-21 and provide evidence of such after each holiday period
  • That do not provide evidence of enrolment numbers nor acknowledgement of commitment to support the Commonwealth Government’s ‘Priority of Access Guidelines’.

4. Round One –Application process

Applicants must complete an application through the SmartyGrants portal for funding in FY 2020-21. Application forms for the Vacation Care Transition Support program (Round 1) can be accessed at

Applicants will be guided through the process of creating a User Name and Password, and accessing the on-line application form.

Applicants will be requested to provide the following information:

  • Commitment to demonstrate that they will remain open throughout all school holidays in the program period and ability to report against having remained open
  • An outline of program objectives which they will be expected to report against
  • Commitment and approach to improving access to and prioritising vulnerable cohorts
  • Acknowledgement of having sought advice as to whether any other funding arrangements they may have in place will be affected by receiving additional funds under the VC Transition Support Program.

5. Key Dates 2020

  • 29 June 2020: Applications for Round 1 – open 9am (SmartyGrants portal can be accessed here)
  • 13 July 2020: Applications for Round 1 – close 5pm
  • 20 July 2020: Round 1 Evaluation by the Department – completed
  • 27 July 2020: Announcement Round 1 (Applicants advised in writing)

A successful Round One applicant will receive written notification from the Department.

The Round Two (Pilot) will open for Expressions of Interest (EOI) in June 2020. It is subject to a separate set of Guidelines.

6. Funding Agreement with successful applicants

If your application is successful, a Funding Agreement will be established between the successful applicant and the Department.

The Funding Agreement will comprise the following:

  • Your successful Application; and
  • these ‘Vacation Care Transition Support Program – Round One’ guidelines; and
  • the Department’s Early Childhood Education’s ‘General Terms and Conditions for 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020’ (with the exception of clause 9.1 – see ‘Program Review and Evaluation’ at section 10 below for more detail).

Legacy Grant recipients have already accepted these Terms and Conditions for FY 2019/2020 under the Legacy Grant program. To be clear, these Terms and Conditions continue to apply for the Vacation Care Transition Support Program for the entire funding period (1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021).

7. Process for payment of funding

The Round One funding will be paid to successful applicants in one upfront payment into a nominated bank account.

The Department will request bank account details from successful applicants when the Department provides written notification to those successful applicants.

The Department will use all care to ensure that the funding is paid in a timely manner but is not liable for late payments.

8. Spending Rules

The Round One funding must be used as described in your Application including for the ‘expenditure items’, ‘planned activities’ and ‘expected outcomes’.

The funding must also be used in accordance with the Funding Agreement including the Program Guidelines.

9. Performance Reporting

9.1. Vacation Progress Report

Successful funding recipients are required to prepare and submit four reports to the Department within two weeks of the end of each vacation period.

The progress reports must be in the form provided by the Department and submitted through the SmartyGrants system. Recipients will be required to report against the progress of their funded activities. Recipients will also be required to include details of the total number of enrolments for each day of each vacation period, and the number of enrolments for each vulnerable cohort.

The Department may contact your organisation for additional information or material in relation to your quarterly reports.

9.2. Other reporting and assistance

Successful funding recipients must provide to the Department any other reports (including progress reports) requested by the Department from time to time. Or other reasonable assistance (e.g. completing surveys, attending meetings/calls). This may include participating in a program review to inform Department as part of its decision-making about potential future programs including those that may be required to support vulnerable cohorts.

10. Program Review and Evaluation

For this VC Transition Support Program, the requirements for ‘Acquittal and Return Guide for ECE grant funded service providers’ outlined in clause 9.1 of the Terms and Conditions will not apply.

Instead, successful applicants must prepare and submit a Final Report and Fund Acquittal to the Department. The Department will provide access to the Final Report and Fund Acquittal Form through SmartyGrants.

The Final Report must include:

  • information on whether the expected outcomes as set out in your Application were achieved and if not, why not
  • a certification that:
    • vacation care was provided during all school holidays in FY20/21 and provide supporting enrolment data which indicates the days of operation; and
    • the percentage of children identified as vulnerable which accessed the service.
  • a full acquittal of Grant Funding expenditure, including details of any Funding which is unspent
  • any other information requested by the Department.

The Final Report and Fund Acquittal must be provided to the Department through SmartyGrants by 30 June 2021 or the ending of the funding arrangement, whichever occurs earlier.

11. Additional considerations

All Vacation Care providers will need to seek advice as to whether their funding arrangements under the revised Commonwealth Early Education and Care Relief Package (base and supplementary payments) or JobKeeper Package are affected by receiving funding under the VC Transition Support Program.

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