- We are mindful of the Commonwealth’s desire to have this service operational as soon as possible, however, given the Christmas and holiday season we would like to request an extension of 3 weeks to prepare our submission (to 19th February 2010).
The Department is not in a position to extend the closing date for the Invitation to Apply beyond the original closing date in the ITA documentation of 29 January 2010.
I understand that this is a new service, is that not correct and if not, please can you provide more information on the “current Helpline” and how that is currently delivered?
The National Online and 1800 Counselling Service is a new initiative of the Commonwealth Government. It will replace the current Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault National Helpline which is funded by the Government and provides advice and referrals.
As discussed in the telephone briefing session, the Federal Government has the ability to increase call volumes very significantly if they publicise the counselling line heavily. In light of this, would you accept a limit to the number of calls which would be serviced for the funds available, with additional demand being route to other appropriate facilities including current local services?
The National Online and 1800 Counselling Service is anticipated to receive 20,000 contacts per year. This is an average incorporating anticipated peaks and troughs. Strategies for handling overloads will be the responsibility of the successful service provider as negotiated with the Department in the Funding Agreement.
We are in the final stages of preparation for our response to tender for the National Online & 1800 Counselling Service. Could you confirm what the word limit is for each answer?
The Department has not placed a word limit on the length of responses to the selection criteria to enable organisations to adequately address the requirements for each selection criteria. However, it is expected that quality responses will be concise but comprehensive in addressing the selection criteria.
What font and font size would you like the Application to be in?
Responses in the Application Form should be in 12 point Arial font.
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ITA Information Session
Questions and Answers
- Does FaHCSIA have a timeframe for commencement of implementation of the Service?
Yes, the Department expects, that following the engagement of a service provider(s), the Service will commence operation in some transition capacity from March 2010.
- Is there any weighting scale associated with the selection criteria for the ITA process?
Each selection criteria will have equal weighting.
- Please clarify the arrangements for management and support of counsellors in services in remote areas and how many counsellors are in these services?
The Service will be looking for support and supervision in remote areas but not necessarily using a line management structure. The number of counsellors in remote areas that will choose to access supervision is unknown at this stage. The Service will need to adapt to requirements of individual counsellors wishing to utilise this supervision and support service in rural and remote locations.
- Given the different services available in each State and Territory, how is the new Service going to interact with existing services?
It is not intended that the Service duplicate existing arrangements. There will be a need for the new Service to ‘join up’ with the existing services and/or gap fill so that anybody who requires the Service will have access to it regardless of the services that are available to them in their State or Territory.
- Will it be advertised nationally?
The need to advertise the new Service will be looked at after a practice model has been agreed between the Department and the selected service provider. Advertising and marketing of the new Service will be included in the comprehensive social marketing program to be developed for release commencing in 2010.
- Is a budget available for the selected service provider for a travel program to arrange to connect with other existing services?
There is no specific budget for this purpose. The funding envelope for this project is
$12.5 million over four years to 2012-13. It will be up to the selected service provider to make arrangements to properly communicate with existing services to establish the required service delivery model.
- To what extent does the successful service provider have to guarantee the quality of delivery provided by other services that it ‘joins up’ with to maintain integrity of the Service?
The Department will be working closely with the selected service provider to arrange for the necessary quality assurance framework, however, it will be the responsibility of the successful service provider to implement ‘checks and balances’ to ensure a quality response for users of the Service.
- If the new service provider is based on a consortia arrangement, can those consortia membership change at a later date?
The new Service will be delivered under a funding agreement requiring agreement between parties. Any change in the status of the parties will require agreement in writing.
- In the context of Selection Criteria 6 for the ITA, will it be possible to negotiate with State and Territory governments for their services using funds inside the budget allocation for the Service?
The Department recognises the likelihood that the selected service provider will need to obtain the support of existing services. It is expected that this is presented as a business proposition and costings will need to be provided within the budget of $12.5 million for the Service.
- Is there any type of agreement regarding the extent to which the new Service will be integrating with existing State and Territory services?
There is presently no formal agreement with the States and Territories on integration arrangements. These arrangements are expected to be presented and resolved at a later time.
- To avoid duplication, are there any intentions to create information collection and service database sharing arrangements with States and Territories for referral responses?
The service provider will be required to have access to current and relevant information to assist callers. This will require database updating and referral information as a component of the quality assurance required from the service provider.
- Will funds be provided to the service provider for the start up phase to deliver the new Service?
The funding envelope for this project is $12.5 million over four years to 2012-13. It will be up to the selected service provider to make arrangements within this budget to establish and operate the Service.
- What are the expectations of the Service in responding to contact from male offenders of FDV/SA?
The Service is for anyone in Australia that has experienced family and/or domestic violence and sexual assault. Accordingly, the Service will assess cases individually, provide counselling or refer to the most appropriate service available.
- Will the Service be advertised as a service for offenders of FDV/SA?
- If calls are referred to a State or Territory service, is it anticipated that that service will charge the national Service for their response?
At this stage, the Department proposes to develop arrangements with the selected service provider in anticipation that there will be some costs associated with referral services.
- What will the arrangements be for advertising the new Service?
It is envisaged that the Department will advertise the new Service through the social marketing program. Additional promotional and advertising activity may be required in which case the Department will consult with the service provider.
- Are attachments permitted with ITA application forms?
- We understand that the 20,000 contacts per year is a guide and not a reliable forecast and that it is for respondents to make their own assumptions. However, could you please supply some indication of how the 20,000 estimate was arrived at?
The figure is a projected estimate based on:
- trends and data for the current Helpline;
- research provided to the Department; and
- consultation with a broad range of services in the family and domestic violence and sexual assault sector.