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Building Blocks Grants – Planning

This stream provides grants for planning and pre-construction work on kindergarten building projects that support the roll-out of three-year-old kindergarten across Victoria.

$0 - $150,000
Not-for-profit groups, government
Closed

Planning grants

This stream provides grants for planning and pre-construction work on kindergarten building projects that support the roll-out of three-year-old kindergarten across Victoria.

This might include designing, developing the scope or calculating construction costs of the project.

This grant is for applicants who will be applying for a Building Blocks – Capacity Building grant once planning is complete.

Eligible organisations may apply for one grant of up to $150,000.

In 2020, Building Blocks Grants replaced previous grants schemes – the Children's Facilities Capital Program and the Inclusive Kindergartens Facilities Program.

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Guidelines

  • Ahead of any infrastructure project commencing, time, resources and planning are needed to adequately scope, design and cost a project. This is why we have designed the Building Blocks Planning Grant program to offer optional additional support to plan and design projects, if needed (noting that undertaking a Planning Grant is not a pre-requisite to apply for other Building Blocks grants). This funding initiative will further help the early learning sector plan the infrastructure needed for the roll out of Three-Year-old Kindergarten.

    The Planning Grant program means you can:

    • plan a project, or pipeline of projects, to help provide the kindergarten places needed to meet demand for Three and Four-Year-Old Kindergarten
    • better prepare applications for Building Blocks Grants that will help deliver your projects.

    Purpose of grant

    The Planning Grant program funds eligible organisations to complete pre-construction planning for infrastructure projects needed to achieve the capacity for the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten reform, by funding resources and upfront costs incurred as part of this work.

    For the purposes of this grant program, a ‘planning process’ is the scope development, design and costing required of a project before it’s tendered for construction.

    Project requirements

    Planning grants must:

    • be completed within 12 months of Common Funding Agreement (CFA) execution. This means that successful planning grant applicants have 12 months to complete their infrastructure planning processes, including identifying projects to apply for a Building Blocks construction grant.
    • be used to plan for a project located in Victoria that is, or will be, licensed to provide a funded Three and Four-Year-Old Kindergarten program, and must offer, or intend to offer, both programs. This can be sessional or integrated with long day care
    • demonstrate how the proposed project(s) will create additional kindergarten capacity, or maintain service continuity of existing capacity, in line with the demand of Three and Four-Year-Old Kindergarten at a community and local government level. Projects should align to demand, as identified in the relevant Kindergarten Infrastructure Services Plan (KISP) (refer below)
    • result in an application to the Building Blocks Grants program to deliver an identified project, within 12 months of completing the planning process.

    Kindergarten Infrastructure and Services Plans

    KISPs are a consistent, statewide planning framework designed to provide a better understanding of the demand for Three and Four-Year-Old Kindergarten at a community and local government level. They identify where additional infrastructure is required to meet increased demand for kindergarten places generated as a result of the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten reform and general population growth.

    For the LGA where a project is located, applicants for the Planning Grant program must align their planning works to meeting demand as outlined in the relevant KISP or Department estimates. Published KISPs and Department estimates can be found on the Facilities and Capital Funding pageExternal Link .

    Funding available

    A total of up to $6 million in grants is available in 2022–23. Eligible organisations can apply for up to $150,000 (GST exclusive). Only one grant per organisation per round is permitted.

    Funding for a Planning Grant is not subject to an applicant co-contribution. Co-contributions are not required but are allowed.

    Timeline

    The planning work funded by a planning grant must be completed and acquitted within 12 months of the execution of the CFA. CFAs must be signed and submitted by an authorised officer of the organisation no later than four weeks after receipt.

    Before submitting your application, please speak to the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) Early Childhood Grants Team about the above timeline. If you don’t think the planning works will be completed in this time, please discuss with the VSBA Early Childhood Grants Team.

    Grant payments

    Payments will be provided in milestone instalments at the discretion of the VSBA and will be outlined in the CFA. Milestone instalments will be paid to successful applicants via an electronic funds transfer to a nominated account as follows:

    Milestone Payments:

    • 70% upon signing of the CFA and execution by the VSBA
    • 30% upon submission of final acquittal documentation within agreed timeframes, including appropriate supporting evidence of payments made and costs incurred.

    The CFA sets out obligations about the use of funds and the outcomes that the grant recipient is expected to deliver. The CFA also sets out circumstances in which the VSBA may require a grant recipient to repay funding, including if there is insufficient evidence of funds being appropriately expended within agreed timeframes.

  • Your organisation can apply if it is:

    • a Victorian local government (council)
    • a not-for-profit community organisation that is a legal entity (for example an incorporated association, incorporated cooperative or Indigenous corporation)
    • a Victorian government school
    • a Victorian non-government school registered with the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority or Catholic Education Commission of Victoria.

    For-profit organisations cannot apply for any grant streams within Building Blocks.

    Should you need any assistance clarifying your not-for-profit status, please contact the VSBA Early Childhood Grants Team by emailing building.blocks@education.vic.gov.au

    If your organisation has already received a planning grant in a previous year, the new application must be for a different project.

  • Application forms can be accessed online at https://vsba.smartygrants.com.au/External Link

    Applicants must be registered to use the Smarty Grants application system. Registration is a free and straightforward process.

    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 help guide and Frequently Asked Questions at http://applicanthelp.smartygrants.com.au/External Link

    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.

  • There are items that can and cannot be included in a Planning Grant application. The following table lists what the VSBA will and won’t consider when reviewing applications.

    What can be funded What cannot be funded
    • project management costs
    • planning and design costs, such as:
      • quantity surveyor fees and reports
      • architect and design
      • geo technical services
      • feasibility studies
      • town planning consultants
      • planning permits
      • soil contamination reports
      • asbestos reports
      • environmental sustainability assessments for energy and or water efficiency, e.g. NABERS and NatHERS
    • planning and design project costs relating to capacity building projects, or projects that are required to maintain existing capacity
    • planning for multi-staged projects
    • staff salaries and training for staff involved in working on the proposed kindergarten infrastructure planning project (note: funding is one-off and does not cover on-going appointment)
    • local design feasibility study (assessing multiple sites to determine opportunities and cost to meeting unmet demand)
    • costs already incurred
    • site preparation, including clearing or demolition (these may be funded by a subsequent Building Block Grant)
    • construction and commissioning (these may be funded by a subsequent Building Blocks Grant)
    • landscaping and car parking (these may be funded by a subsequent Building Blocks Grant)
    • site acquisition and lease costs
    • ongoing administration or operational costs

    The Building Blocks Planning Grant program will not fund planning for projects that:

    • do not create additional kindergarten capacity and do not address unmet demand as identified in the relevant KISP or Department estimates;
    • do not intend to create additional capacity or maintain existing kindergarten capacity required for the roll out of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten
    • are not for facilities that offer, or intend to offer, both Three and Four-Year-Old funded Kindergarten programs
    • are intended to be located outside Victoria
    • 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 invoiced or paid.

    Auspice arrangements

    Not-for-profit community organisations in the process of becoming incorporated, or those without capacity to manage the funding, may arrange for an eligible organisation to apply on their behalf. This is known as an ‘auspice’ arrangement.

    We will directly fund the auspice organisation, and they will agree to take the full legal and financial responsibility for the project. You can find more information about auspicing arrangements at www.nfplaw.org.au/auspicingExternal Link

    If you would like to negotiate an auspice arrangement, you are responsible for identifying an auspice organisation and working with them to prepare the application. The VSBA will not make auspicing arrangements on your behalf.

    Auspice arrangements cannot be used by for-profit organisations for any grant streams within Building Blocks.

  • Once the closing date for applications has passed, the VSBA will:

    • check to confirm that applications meet the eligibility requirements
    • assess all eligible applications against the assessment criteria.

    Following this process, the VSBA will provide its recommendations to the Minister for Early Childhood for final approval.

    Building Blocks Planning Grant program assessment criteria

    Funding recommendations will be based on the extent you can demonstrate that your planning process will address the following assessment criteria. These are weighted according to the specified percentages. All applicants should address the assessment criteria:

    • The application provides clarity of high-level intended project scope and confidence that the planning process will support a project commencing (70%).
    • The proposed planning process facilitates access for children of all abilities (15%).
    • The proposed planning process promotes environmental sustainability, and includes environmentally sustainable features, for example in design or construction (15%).

    In addition, all applications must include an attestation, signed by an authorised delegate (eg: CEO) that any funds obtained via this program will be used to achieve the program objectives and be expended in accordance with the organisation’s probity and procurement obligations.

  • Funded planning grant applications must result in infrastructure project plans that will lead to an application for construction funding under the Building Blocks Grants program within 12 months of completing the funded planning works. The proposed project must:

    • offer or intend to offer a funded Three and Four-Year-Old Kindergarten program for children
    • address unmet demand as identified in the relevant signed KISP or Department estimates of unmet demand
    • result in infrastructure which will operate as a kindergarten service for at least 10 years from when the proposed planning work is completed.

    To be eligible to receive a grant, applicants must:

    • submit an application including an attestation signed by an authorised delegate (eg: CEO) that any funds obtained via this program will be used to achieve the program objectives and be expended in accordance with the organisation’s probity and procurement obligations
    • agree to the requirements outlined in these guidelines (failure to do so may result in funding being withheld)
    • enter into a formal CFA with the VSBA, if successful in the application
    • complete the planning works within 12 months, as outlined in the CFA
    • apply for a Building Blocks capacity building grant to contribute toward an infrastructure project within 12 months of completing the planning works.
    • submit an acquittal form and the required supporting evidence for approval by the VSBA upon completion of the planning process
    • agree that no additional VSBA funding will be allocated to proposed planning process.

    Failure to follow the above requirements could ultimately result in the VSBA recommending to the Minister for Early Childhood to withdraw the funding commitment.

    The CFA sets out obligations about the use of funds and the outcomes that the grant recipient is expected to deliver. The CFA also sets out circumstances in which the VSBA may require a grant recipient to repay funding, including if there is insufficient evidence of funds being appropriately expended within agreed timeframes.

    Non-government organisations

    The Betrayal of Trust Report found that survivors of institutional child abuse were sometimes unable to identify an appropriate legal entity to sue.

    The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse also recommended that governments consider requiring organisations they fund to be insured against child abuse.

    From 1 July 2019, non-government organisations funded by the Victorian Government to deliver services to children are required, as a condition of funding, to be:

    • incorporated separate legal entities that can be sued in their own right in child abuse proceedings
    • appropriately insured against child abuse.

    The new requirements will improve the ability of child abuse survivors to bring a legal claim for compensation and ensure that successful claims can be paid.

  • All successful applicants are required to complete the following requirements and upload the following information into the VSBA reporting system to complete their acquittal:

    • the VSBA’s Certificate of Expenditure Acquittal, completed, signed and dated by two authorised representatives
    • invoices and evidence of expenditure.

    Please note, non-acquittal, incomplete acquittal or lack of invoices and evidence of expenditure may jeopardise future funding allocations to an organisation.

    Projects on DET land

    If you propose planning works on Department of Education (DE) land, you must contact the VSBA’s Early Childhood Grants team as early as possible during the development of your proposal to discuss the approach to land and planning works delivery. Phone (03) 7022 2564 or email building.blocks@education.vic.gov.au

  • The grants offered under the Building Blocks Planning Grant program are highly competitive and organisations need to ensure that their application includes clear and convincing supporting documentation to increase the chances of being successful.

    All applicants are required to provide:

    ✓ signed KISP document or Department estimates of demand

    ✓ considered responses to the selection criteria, that demonstrate how the planning works will meet these

    ✓ (if seeking funding for staff salaries and training) a position description for funding of new or existing staff members, and a cost estimate (e.g. how many hours on planning works, ancillary costs)

    ✓ an attestation signed by an authorised delegate (eg: CEO) that any funds obtained via this program will be used to achieve the program objectives and be expended in accordance with the organisation’s probity and procurement obligations.

    If you are a not-for-profit or a non-government school, you are also required to provide:

    ✓ evidence of not-for-profit status (such as a copy of your Australian Business Number, registration as a not-for-profit, certificate of registration as charity, or a certificate of registration as an incorporated association)

    ✓ a signed certified accountant’s confirmation of the applicant’s last two years financial statements as evidence of financial viability

    ✓ (if an auspice arrangement is proposed) written confirmation from the auspicing party.

  • https://www.vic.gov.au/kinderExternal Link

    We encourage applicants to read the Frequently Asked Questions available in the document below.

    For further information regarding eligibility, program requirements and assessment criteria, please contact the VSBA Early Childhood Grants team by phone on (03) 7022 2564 or email building.blocks@education.vic.gov.au

    For further information regarding three-year-old kindergarten reform, please visit the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten pageExternal Link .

    Information privacy

    The information you provide will be dealt with in accordance with the Public Records Act 1973 and the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014.

Reviewed 29 December 2022