- Section 1 - Overview
- 1.1 What is Reconnect?
- 1.2 What is the focus of Reconnect?
- 1.3 What are the planned outcomes for Reconnect?
- 1.4 Funding 2009 - 2011
- Section 2 - Statement of Requirement
- 2.1 Eligible Organisations
- 2.2 Required Services
- 2.3 Funding Agreement period
- 2.4 Amount of Funding Available
- 2.5 Funding Priorities
- 2.6 Use of Reconnect funding
- 2.7 The Funding Agreement
- 2.8 Performance Reporting
- Section 3 - Selection Criteria and Selection Process
- 3.1 Principle
- 3.2 Process
- 3.3 Selection Criteria
- 3.4 Stages in the Assessment Process
- Section 4 - Terms and Conditions of Application
- 4.1 Application conditions
- 4.2 Late Applications
- 4.3 Checks of Applicants
- 4.4 Applicant’s Responsibilities
- 4.5 Liability Issues
- 4.6 The Department’s Rights
- 4.7 Disclaimer
- 4.8 Complaints Mechanism
- Section 5 - Glossary
1.1 What is Reconnect?
Reconnect is a community based early intervention program for young people aged 12 to 18 years, who are homeless or at the risk of homelessness, and their families. Reconnect - Newly Arrived Youth Specialists target young people aged 12 to 21 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and have arrived in Australia in the previous five years. Reconnect services provide counselling, mediation, group work and practical support to the whole family, to help break the cycle of homelessness. Service providers 'buy in' other services to meet the individual needs of clients, such as specialised mental health services.
Reconnect participants may be self-referred or referred from a range of sources, including:
- schools, education and training organisations;
- parents or family;
- community agencies;
- juvenile justice;
- accommodation services;
- specialist services, such as English language centres; and
- state/territory community service departments.
There are currently 107 Reconnect services operating in urban, rural and remote communities across Australia.
Reconnect fits with FaHCSIA's broader objectives, specifically, youth are supported, recognised and encouraged to participate in the community, resulting in:
- improved capacity of individual young people to make transitions that enable participation; and
- better systemic understanding and more positive perceptions of young people and their circumstances.
Reconnect providers establish and maintain links with other agencies. Key stakeholders such as Centrelink and local homelessness services are integral to improving service delivery and providing positive outcomes for young people.
1.2 What is the focus of Reconnect?
The identified target group for Reconnect is young people aged 12 to 18 years who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and their families. Reconnect - Newly Arrived Youth Specialists target young people aged 12 to 21 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and have arrived in Australia in the previous five years.
1.3 What are the planned outcomes for Reconnect?
Homeless young people or those at risk of homelessness improve their level of engagement with family, work, education, training and the community.
1.4 Funding 2009 - 2011
In the 2007 Budget, the Australian Government announced a total of $85 million to extend funding Reconnect for a further four years. Funding is available to 30 June 2011.
2.1 Eligible Organisations
FaHCSIA will only enter into funding agreements with:
- Incorporated Associations (incorporated under State/Territory legislation, commonly have 'Association' or 'Incorporated' or 'Inc' in their legal name);
- Incorporated Cooperatives (also incorporated under State/Territory legislation, commonly have 'Cooperative' in their legal name);
- Companies (incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001 - maybe not-for-profit or for-profit proprietary company (limited by shares or by guarantee) or public companies);
- Aboriginal corporations (incorporated under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2006) and administered by the Office of the Registrar of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporations;
- Organisations established through a specific piece of Commonwealth or State/Territory legislation (many public benevolent institutions, churches, universities, union etc);
- Trustees on behalf of a Trust;
- Local Governments; and
- Where there is no suitable alternative, an individual or - jointly and separately - individuals.
Note: FaHCSIA will only contract with a single organisation. Applicants may determine that efficient or effective service delivery is best achieved through the use of a network of providers through a sub-contracting arrangement. This can be recorded in responses to the Selection Criteria. A successful provider who utilises an authorised sub-contracting arrangement will be held liable for all obligations contained in the terms and conditions of the funding agreement. This includes monitoring, management, financial performance, service outcomes, and specifically insurance coverage.
The Reconnect provider must not sub-contract any of the services without prior written approval by FaHCSIA.
2.2 Required Services
The Department seeks to fund community-based organisations to implement the following strategies to achieve the objectives of Reconnect in:
- Bankstown, Parramatta, Auburn (NSW);
- Fairfield, Liverpool (NSW); and
- Albany (WA).
- use family focused early intervention strategies to reconnect young people with family, education, training, employment and the community;
- improve the coordination of services delivered by government and the community sector;
- assist Centrelink by contributing to assessments for young people seeking income support and claiming it is unreasonable for them to live at home; and
- use sound management practices such as:
- developing and using strategic and operational plans;
- ensuring access for diverse groups;
- using documented data management procedures;
- setting staff entry-level standards;
- ensuring appropriate supervision of staff;
- providing training and development for staff;
- using regular staff appraisal;
- implementing client and staff safety policies;
- implementing client feedback mechanisms;
- using service design processes; and
- regularly assessing service delivery performance.
- developing and using strategic and operational plans;
Action research is a key component of Reconnect and services will be required to provide evidence that they engage other local services and participants' views in using action research to further develop and shape Reconnect. Service providers are required to comply with the seven Good Practice Principles as given in section 2.6 of the Reconnect Operational Guidelines.
2.3 Funding Agreement period
Following the Selection Process, the Department aims to enter into Funding Agreements with successful applicants by October/November 2009. Successful applicants will provide the Reconnect until 30 June 2011.
2.4 Amount of Funding Available
The Department seeks to fund community organisations to deliver Reconnect to eligible young people and their families living in the communities of:
- Bankstown, Parramatta, Auburn- including the Statistical Local Areas of: Bankstown (C) - North West, North East, South, Parramatta (C) - Inner, North East, North West, South, Auburn (A)
- Fairfield, Liverpool - including the Statistical Local Areas of Fairfield (C) - East, West, Liverpool (C) - East, West.
- Albany - including the Statistical Local Areas of Albany (C) Albany, Denmark (S) and Plantagenet.
Funding for each of the three Reconnect services is as follows:
- *Bankstown, Parramatta, Auburn up to $410,000 pa (pro rata)
- *Fairfield, Liverpool up to $340,000 pa (pro rata)
- *Albany up to $200,000 pa (pro rata)
*All funding is GST exclusive
*Establishment funding may be available in addition to the above funding amounts to assist with any minor establishment costs. Successful applicants can apply to FaHCSIA for consideration for establishment funding.
The funding paid directly to the service provider to provide the Reconnect service will involve:
- Two six monthly payments, both equalling up to 50% of the full year funding. The first payment will be made within 30 days of the signing of the Funding Agreement and the second payment will be made in July 2010;
- 2009 - 2010 funds will be paid on a pro rata basis as services will commence after 1 July 2009; and
- Establishment funding may be available. Applicants should provide details, if establishment funding is required, in the budget breakdown in the Application Form.
The Activity End Date will be 30 June 2011 and the Funding Agreement End date will be 31 December 2011.
2.5 Funding Priorities
2.6 Use of Reconnect funding
Service providers are funded to undertake a range of holistic services that address issues facing young people and their families. These services can include brokerage, counselling, group work, mediation, education, training and employment. Funding levels are based on a service model involving full/part-time youth and family workers, coordination and part time administrative support.
A service management fee may be charged by an auspice body for the overall management of Reconnect being conducted within their organisation. The fee is usually charged as an administrative expense, is a percentage of the total funding received and must be easily identified in the financial report submitted to FaHSCIA.
Should an auspice body consider charging a management fee, they must negotiate with FaHSCIA to determine whether the fee is appropriate and the appropriate percentage rate to apply. When deciding if a management fee is appropriate, the impact on service delivery must be carefully considered before a fee is set.
What cannot be funded
The purchase of capital items including vehicles cannot be funded under Reconnect. The lease or hire of vehicles is acceptable. Where a lease exceeds $5,000 written permission from FaHSCIA must be obtained before entering into a contract. Details of the proposed leasing arrangement, including registration, insurance and licensing requirements, should be documented by the Funding Recipient in a submission to FaHSCIA.
Service providers may not claim payments that would constitute double funding, e.g. claim funding for a Reconnect participant for whom they receive funding from another source for the same or similar services.
Funding will not be provided for the following categories of costs, whether or not the Project may otherwise meet the Selection Criteria:
- Costs that are not directly and specifically related to the Project, e.g. Ongoing staff wages, rent, overheads and administrative costs of the applicant's existing operations;
- Overseas travel;
- Relocation costs; and
- Retrospective costs, including costs incurred in the preparation of this Application.
2.7 The Funding Agreement
The Funding Agreement is the legal agreement between the Department and the service provider over the funding period. In managing funding provided, the service provider must comply with all the requirements of the Funding Agreement.
Funded service providers are responsible for ensuring that:
- the terms and conditions of the Funding Agreement are met,
- service provision is effective, efficient, and appropriately targeted,
- highest standards of duty of care are applied, and
- services are operated in line with, and comply with the requirements as set out within all State and Territory and Commonwealth legislation and regulations. These include but are not limited to the:
- Privacy Act 1988,
- Racial Discrimination Act 1975,
- Sex Discrimination Act 1984,
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992,
- Any applicable Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws,
- any applicable state or territory law relating to discrimination, and
- any state/territory laws regarding young people who are under 18 years of age such as mandatory reporting requirements and police checks (Youth Programs).
- Privacy Act 1988,
Providers should also be aware of any case based law that may apply or affect their service delivery.
2.8 Performance Reporting
The current reporting requirements are detailed in the Schedule to the Funding Agreement and include:
- Online collection of de-identified client and group work data
- Annual Progress Report
- Community Capacity Building Checklist
- Action Research reports
- Annual Financial Reports
- State/Territory Office service visits.
Following the application Closing Date, the Department will conduct an assessment of all applications.
To enable a comprehensive and accurate assessment of applications against the Selection Criteria, applicants must provide the information required in the format, and to the extent specified in the Application Guidelines and Application Form.
Current service providers will still need to respond fully to the Selection Criteria in the Application Form and provide the information required in the format, and to the extent specified in the Application Guidelines and Application Form.
The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) will assess applicants for funding primarily on the basis of the information provided in the Application Form. FaHCSIA may use information about an applicant that is, or becomes known to FaHCSIA in the course of FaHCSIA's business, as well as any publicly available information.
Decisions on the parameters and methodology for assessment of applications will be final.
The overriding principle guiding the Selection Process is value in social service delivery to the Australian Government (See glossary). The Department has funding principles in place to guide Selection Processes. The selection process will be conducted in accordance with these principles.
The process will be an open competitive selection process.
3.3 Selection Criteria
The following selection criteria will be applied in each application:
- Demonstrate your ability to provide family focussed early intervention services addressing youth homelessness.
- Demonstrate your capacity to achieve sustainable outcomes for young people and their families within the Reconnect Operational Guidelines.
- Identify your strategies to work collaboratively with other agencies to provide culturally appropriate services for young people and their families.
3.4 Stages in the Assessment Process
Assessments will be undertaken by the Department in accordance with an Application Assessment Plan. The assessment will be conducted in accordance with the following stages.
- Stage 1 - Receipt and registration of applications (Id), initial screening for compliance;
- Stage 2 - Assessment of applications against the Selection Criteria;
- Stage 3 - Financial Viability Assessment;
- Stage 4 - Selection of Preferred Applicant/s; and
- Stage 5 - Negotiation/Offer of Funding Agreements.
Stage 1 - Receipt and Registration of Applications, Initial Screening for Compliance
Following the receipt and registration of applications, there will be an initial screening of applications to ensure:
- Eligibility of organisations;
- Applicants comply with the terms and conditions detailed in the Application Guidelines and Application Form; and
- Complete information has been provided in the Application Form to enable a fully informed assessment to be made.
Stage 2 - Assessment of funding proposals against selection criteria
An Assessment Team will undertake assessment of applications and will consider the applicant's response to each Selection Criterion against a 6-point (0 to 5) scale (see Table below).
The Assessment Team will assess applications primarily on the information provided in the Application Form.
|Excellent quality - excellent claims against the criterion, exceeds expectations, supporting information confirms consistent superior performance||5|
|Very good quality - very good claims against the criterion, meets all expectations to a high standard with complete and comprehensive supporting information||4|
|Good quality - good claims against the criterion, meets all expectations with convincing supporting information||3|
|Satisfactory quality - adequate claims against the criterion, mostly meets expectations, but may be lacking detail and/or supporting information||2|
|Marginal or poor quality - poor claims against the criterion, does not meet expectations, has deficient supporting information||1|
|Does not meet criterion at all||0|
Stage 3 - Financial Viability Assessments
Applications will be subject to Financial Viability Assessments.
Note: The Department may not fund applicants that are assessed as high-risk in terms of Financial Viability.
Information required from applicants for the Financial Viability Assessment is gathered via the information requested in Section 4 of the Application Form, and Addressing Selection Criterion 5 (Information on Financial Viability). If your Service is part of a larger organisation or has a parent company, then these organisations must also provide the information requested in Section 4 of the Application Form.
Stage 4 - Selection of Successful Applicants
Following assessment against the Selection Criteria, and consideration of the Financial Viability Assessment, assessors will rank applications that have been successful from stages two and three in an Assessment Report.
Selection of Successful Applicants: The Department's decision relating to the selection process methodology, Successful Applicants and Selection Process outcomes will be will be finalised when the Minister or her Delegate indicate their acceptance of the final list of successful applicants.
Stage 5 - Entering into Funding Agreements
Successful applicants will be invited to enter into Funding Agreements with the Department. The Funding Agreement will contain the entire agreement between the parties. There is no binding agreement on any parties until the Funding Agreement is agreed to and signed by the Delegate and the applicant's Authorised Representative.
Unsuccessful applicants will be offered feedback (debrief) on their application.
Any or none of the applications under this selection process may be accepted.
4.1 Application conditions
All applicants for funding under Reconnect are required to submit an Application Form. Your application is not an agreement or contract. Meeting the Selection Criteria does not guarantee funding. Funding is limited and applications will be assessed and prioritised according to the extent to which they meet the Selection Criteria. Only applications meeting the Selection Criteria to a high degree are likely to be funded. All information requested on the application must be provided to enable your application to be fully considered.
The Department will not issue Application Forms or accept completed applications by fax.
Only one application per organisation/region will be assessed. If more than one application is submitted, only the latest application will be considered.
The Department will not accept or respond to any applicant's requests for information or correspondence about the status or progress of their application during the assessment phase.
The Department will only respond to requests for information that seek clarification of issues to allow them to better understand the requirements of the Application Form and Application Guidelines (See Important Information on page 2).
To be considered compliant with the terms and condition of the Application Guidelines an application must comply with the following requirements:
- Applicants must submit an original and three copies (including all supporting documentation) of the Application Form. Supporting documentation (if necessary) should not exceed five pages;
- Applications must be submitted in hard copy. The Application Form must be completed in Arial font size 11 with single line spacing. If completed by hand writing it must be printed and in black pen.
At the end of the Selection Process the Department will write to all applicants about the outcome of the Selection Process.
4.2 Late Applications
FaHCSIA may reject any application lodged after the closing date. If an application is late, FaHCSIA may determine that there were exceptional circumstances beyond the applicant's control that meant the deadline could not be met. The applicant will need to supply documentary evidence to support any exceptional circumstances. FaHCSIA has no obligation to accept a late application. Any decision by FaHCSIA to accept or not accept a late application will be final.
4.3 Checks of Applicants
As a part of the Selection Process, the Department may undertake further checks of applicants. The Department may also conduct checks for non-disclosure of any relevant information.
In addition, any debts that the applicant has accrued to the Department or other Australian Government agencies may be taken into account when making a decision to offer funding.
The Department reserves the right to use information from:
- the Department's databases,
- other Australian Government agencies, such as the Australian Taxation Office and Australian Securities and Investments Commission,
- state or territory agencies,
- law enforcement agencies,
- credit reference agencies,
- courts or tribunals,
- referees, or
- any other appropriate organisation or person reasonably required as part of these checks.
Information obtained from checks on applicants described in this section, may be taken into account during the assessment of applications or in making the final decision to offer funding.
4.4 Applicant's Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that their application is complete and accurate.
Make sure you keep a copy of your application and any supporting papers, either electronically or in hard copy, for your own records.
4.5 Liability Issues
The Department is not liable to the applicant in relation to the Selection Process, including without limitation, when the Department:
- varies or terminates all or any part of the Selection Process or any negotiations with the Applicant,
- decides not to acquire any or all of the services sought through the Selection Process,
- varies the Selection Process, or
- exercises or fails to exercise any of its other rights under, or in relation to the Application Guidelines.
4.6 The Department's Rights
FaHCSIA reserves the right to amend these Application Guidelines by whatever means it may determine in its absolute discretion and will provide reasonable notice of these amendments.
FaHCSIA reserves the right to mark any application 'non-compliant' if it has concerns about the genuineness of the information provided or where it feels the application has not been submitted in the spirit of Reconnect as outlined in this document.
The Department and its officers, employees, agents and advisors:
- are not, and will not be, responsible or liable for the accuracy or completeness of any information in or provided in connection with the Application Guidelines and Application Forms;
- make no express or implied representation or warranty that any statement as to future matters will prove correct;
- disclaim any and all liability arising from any information provided to the applicant, including, without limitation, errors in, or omissions contained in, that information;
- except so far as liability under any statute cannot be excluded, accept no responsibility arising in any way from errors or omissions contained in any information in the Application Guidelines and Application Forms; and
- accept no liability for any loss or damage suffered by any person as a result of that person, or any other person, placing reliance on the contents of the Application Guidelines and Application Forms, or any other information provided by the Department.
Complaints will be dealt with under the FaHCSIA Complaints Management System. The Complaints Management System ensures that any problems that you have with FaHCSIA's services, decisions or policies, and those of FaHCSIA funded service providers, are taken seriously and dealt with promptly.
For the Reconnect selection process the initial contact person is:
Reconnect Selection Process
PO Box 7576
Canberra Mail Centre ACT 2610
If you still feel this has not been successful, and your issue or complaint has not been resolved satisfactorily then you will need to contact a FaHCSIA Complaints Officer on 1800 634 035. They will work with you to satisfactorily resolve the complaint or suggest further action if appropriate.
If you are dissatisfied at any time with our handling of your complaint, you can also contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
For more information please see: Compliments, Suggestions and Complaints
Applicant Means an organisation that submits an application. Individuals are not eligible to apply for Reconnect funding.
Application Means the application for funding submitted by an applicant. The application must be filled out in accordance with the requirements in the Application Guidelines, on a prescribed Application Form and submitted by the Closing Date (See page 2).
Application Form Means the Application Form made available to applicants to submit an application for funding. The application must be submitted in accordance with the instructions on Page 2.
Application Guidelines Mean these Application Guidelines accessed by organisations interested in submitting an application for funding.
Application Pack Means the material made available by the Department for applicants to help ensure applicants understand their requirements for submitting a completed Application Form by the closing date. The Application Pack consists of the Application Guidelines, Application Form and Funding Agreement. Other information may also be included on a program-by-program basis.
Application Period Means the period for applicants to complete and submit their Application Forms. It commences from the time the Funding Round is advertised and Application Packs are made available and finishes on the Closing Date for submitting Applications. During this period the Department will only respond to requests for information that seek clarification of issues or material that allow them to better understand the requirements of the Application Form and Application Guidelines.
Closing Date The Closing Date is that date beyond which applications will not be accepted. For details see Page 2.
Commercial-In-Confidence Means information in the Application Form that the applicant clearly identifies as confidential and is not information that is:
- a) in the public domain, or
- b) already known to the Department other than through an obligation of confidence.
Consortium FaHCSIA will only contract with individual providers. Applicants may determine that efficient or effective service delivery is best achieved through the use of a network of providers through a sub-contracting arrangement. This can be recorded in responses to the Selection Criteria. A successful provider who utilizes an authorised sub-contracting arrangement will be held liable for all obligations contained in the terms and conditions of the funding agreement. This includes monitoring, management, financial performance, service outcomes, and specifically insurance coverage.
Decision Maker The Minister or his/her delegate will approve all projects and successful applicants, with reference to a report on the Selection Process outcomes provided by the Department.
Department (the) Means the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
Eligible Organisation See section 2.1, of these Application Guidelines.
If the Funding Recipient is a Commonwealth Department or body, or a state or local government agency, authority or department, then the Department may use a Memorandum of Understanding.
Funding Agreement The Funding Agreement is the agreement that is signed by the Departmental Delegate and the Applicant’s Authorised Representative. The Department’s standard Funding Agreements are performance based, legally enforceable agreements between the Commonwealth and the funding recipients that set out the terms and conditions governing the funding.
Funding agreements are used where the Department is providing funding to another party to deliver services or undertake certain activities, on behalf of the Department, to the community.
Selection Criteria Means the Selection Criteria for assessing applications as outlined in the Application Guidelines and the Application Form.
Selection Process Means the process for the selection of funding recipients outlined in the Application Guidelines and the Application Form.
Successful Applicant The Selection Process will result in a short list of recommended applicants. The short list will be forwarded to the Decision Maker for their consideration. Successful applicants will be advised of their success or otherwise. The decision by the Department regarding successful applicants is final.
Supporting Material Means additional material provided by the applicant with their application that clarifies the claims within their application, but which does not alter the content of the application in any material sense.
Value in Social Services Delivery Value in Social Services Delivery is the optimum combination of quality and cost with minimal risk to the Australian Government. The Department seeks best Value in Social Service Delivery. Best value does not mean monetary value alone or lowest cost. A funding proposal that represents best value for Reconnect will:
- meet the objectives of the department – such as strong and resilient communities,
- meet the aims of Reconnect,
- meet community requirements, and
- be delivered in an efficient and effective way.