GUIDELINES FOR THE ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER CHRONIC DISEASE FUND

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1 GUIDELINES FOR THE ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER CHRONIC DISEASE FUND

2 CONTENTS Executive Summary Introduction Background Fund objective and priorities Fund scope and operating parameters Roles and responsibilities Fund timeframe Fund value Eligibility Who can access the Fund? What is eligible for funding? Probity Conflict of interest Confidentiality and Protection of Personal Information Fund Application Processes Access to Funding Direct Funding allocations Open Competitive Grant rounds Targeted Grant rounds Support for collaboration with states and territories Procurement Fund under expenditure Application Processes Page 2 of 29

3 4.4 Broad assessment requirements for all fund priorities Decisions Conditions of Funding Contracting arrangements Specific conditions Payment arrangements Reporting requirements Monitoring Evaluation Fund contact details Glossary of Terms Attachment A: Initiatives that were consolidated into the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund from 1 July Attachment B: Fund Priorities and Activities Page 3 of 29

4 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund supports activities to improve the prevention, detection, and management of chronic disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to contribute to the Government s target of closing the gap in life expectancy. The Fund consolidates 16 existing programs, including the majority of initiatives under the Australian Government s Indigenous Chronic Disease Package, into a single flexible fund. The objective and priorities for the Fund are consistent with those of the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package. The three priority areas targeted are: Tackling chronic disease risk factors Primary health care services that can deliver Fixing the gaps and improving the patient journey. The Fund was established in the 2011 Budget and came into operation on 1 July The Government is providing $ million over the first four years of the Fund s operation (from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2015). The majority of funding has been directly allocated to organisations to support activities under the Fund s Indigenous Chronic Disease Package programs. Direct funding allocations to organisations providing health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will continue and there is limited scope to undertake application-based grant rounds or to fund unsolicited requests. These Guidelines outline arrangements for the administration of the Fund and its operating environment. The intended audiences are organisations already funded under the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package, potential applicants and employees of the Australian Public Service responsible for the Fund s administration. Section 1 of the Guidelines provide information about the Fund s scope and operating parameters, roles and responsibilities for the Minister for Indigenous Health, the Department of Health and Ageing, the department s advisory bodies, funded organisations and applicants, as well as other background information. Section 2 outlines eligibility requirements for funded organisations and applicants. Section 3 provides information relating to probity matters for funded organisations, applicants and departmental officers responsible for administering the fund. Section 4 outlines the Fund s application and assessment processes. Section 5 provides information about the department s conditions of funding. A summary of the types of activities funded under each of the three priorities is at Attachment B. Page 4 of 29

5 1 INTRODUCTION The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund (the Fund) is an Australian Government initiative, administered by the Department of Health and Ageing (the department), designed to improve the prevention, detection, and management of chronic disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to contribute to the Government s target of closing the gap in life expectancy within a generation. The current gap in life expectancy is estimated at 11.5 years for males and 9.7 years for females. Chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer) are the major causes of mortality, and 70% of the gap in health outcomes is due to chronic disease. Reducing the burden of chronic disease requires effective delivery of prevention programs and a comprehensive, well-coordinated primary health care system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Fund is helping to build a health system that meets the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, providing support to both Indigenous-specific health services and general practices. The Fund was established in the 2011 Budget and came into operation on 1 July Following a consultation period from September to October 2011, the Department of Health and Ageing has developed these guidelines to set out the arrangements for the administration of the Fund. Any open or targeted grant funding round timeframes will be advertised on the department s website at: Grants-1 following the completion of the various evaluation activities underway for measures consolidated within the Fund. 1.1 BACKGROUND The establishment of the Fund followed a strategic review of the administrative arrangements in the Health and Ageing portfolio commissioned by the Government in The review identified an opportunity to improve the management of existing programs through consolidating programs into larger flexible funds in order to improve the way the department manages it programs, reduce red tape, and increase flexibility and evidence based funding for the delivery of better health outcomes for the community. Further information on the flexible funds is available on the Department of Health and Ageing website at: flexfunds.htm Page 5 of 29

6 The Fund consolidates 16 existing programs, including the majority of initiatives under the Australian Government s Indigenous Chronic Disease Package, into a single flexible fund. A list of the programs consolidated into the Fund is at Attachment A. The Indigenous Chronic Disease Package is the Australian Government s contribution to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) National Partnership on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes. The Commonwealth and all states and territories are signatories to this agreement, which was established to address targets set by COAG for closing the gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. Consolidating programs from the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package (ICDP) into the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund will provide ongoing funding to address key priorities in chronic disease prevention and management for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to increase life expectancy and deliver $ million over the first four years of the Fund s operation (from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2015). 1.2 FUND OBJECTIVE AND PRIORITIES The objective and priorities for the Fund are consistent with those of the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package. The primary objective is to improve the prevention, detection and management of chronic disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to increase life expectancy. The three priority areas targeted are: Tackling chronic disease risk factors to reduce the key risk factors that contribute to chronic disease such as smoking, poor nutrition, obesity and lack of exercise, and deliver prevention programs and community education initiatives to reduce the prevalence of these risk factors in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. Primary health care services that can deliver to improve access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to best practice chronic disease management and follow-up care by general practices and Indigenous health services. Fixing the gaps and improving the patient journey to build the capacity of the primary health care workforce to increase the use of health services by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with, or at risk of developing, chronic disease. Page 6 of 29

7 The three priority areas will be retained until 30 June 2013 when the findings of the current evaluation activity will be available to inform consideration of any adjustments. Any adjustment of Fund Priorities will take into account: Evidence about the effectiveness, efficiency and appropriateness of Fund activities; Emerging health challenges and issues in relation to the prevention, detection and management of chronic disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; Evidence from relevant research; and Advice from bodies representing the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and/or organisations and subject matter experts. The department will consult with key stakeholders on any review of the Fund priorities or changes to the Fund Guidelines. Consultation processes may include requests for written advice/submissions, verbal advice provided at face-to-face meetings or written advice provided out-of-session. At a minimum, the department will consult with: The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality Council; The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation; and The Australian Medicare Local Alliance (from 1 July 2012). The department may also include other organisations and individuals in any consultation processes. Introducing new priorities into the Fund is likely to require withdrawal of funding support from some lower priority activities, as determined by the Minister for Indigenous Health. This will be explicitly considered as part of any review of the priorities. 1.3 FUND SCOPE AND OPERATING PARAMETERS The Fund will support evidence based activities to improve access to a range of services for the prevention, detection and management of chronic disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to increase life expectancy. To date, the majority of funding has been directly allocated to organisations to support these activities under the Fund s Indigenous Chronic Disease Package programs and this practice will continue up to and beyond 30 June 2013 i.e. the Fund will continue to support the types of activities currently delivered under the various consolidated programs under similar administrative arrangements (subject to demonstrated Page 7 of 29

8 evidence of their effectiveness and available funding). These activities will likely absorb the majority of available funding beyond 30 June However, funds may become available over time to address new priorities that may arise and support additional activities that are consistent with the objective and priorities of the Fund. As this funding becomes available, the Minister for Indigenous Health will approve allocations for Fund priorities and activities, including but not limited to those listed at Attachment B, and then deployed as set out in these guidelines at Section 4. These funds may be accessed through a variety of means that may include annual grant funding rounds, unsolicited or one-off activity funding, and procurement. Grant funding may be directly allocated through non-competitive and restricted funding arrangements to a limited selection of potential applicants to address emerging health priorities, unmet needs, or to achieve specific policy objectives (for example, targeting specific regions or organisations to ensure improved access to effective and culturally safe primary health care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) where the policy objective clearly aligns with the Fund s objective and priorities. Where grant funding is directly allocated through non-competitive and restricted funding arrangements to a limited selection of potential applicants or recipients, the department will have regard for the advice provided by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Partnership Forums in each state and territory, as outlined in section 1.4. The funding committed to particular Fund priorities and supported activities may be varied over time, to take into account: Availability of funding; Evidence of the effectiveness, efficiency and appropriateness of Fund activities including evidence from the evaluation of the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package, which will completed by 30 June 2013, as well as any other relevant evaluations; Emerging challenges and issues in relation to the prevention, detection and management of chronic disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to improve life expectancy; Evidence from relevant research; Advice provided by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality Council; and Page 8 of 29

9 Consultation with key peak bodies, including the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and the Australian Medicare Local Alliance). The Fund may give less priority to activities that are more relevant to other Flexible Funds or that are addressed in other ways by the Commonwealth, for example through investment in other national partnerships or broader health reforms undertaken from other sources of funding. 1.4 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES Minister The Minister for Indigenous Health will be responsible for setting and reviewing priorities for the Fund and approving allocations of funding against these priorities. These priorities will at all times reflect the objective of the Fund but may change over time to address emerging challenges and issues. In reviewing and setting priorities, the Minister will be advised by the department. The Minister for Indigenous Health will be advised on the development and monitoring of health-related goals and targets to support the Australian Government s commitments to closing the life expectancy gap. Department of Health and Ageing The department will be responsible for the development and dissemination of all application documentation under the Fund and for ensuring that documentation is in accordance with the Fund objective and priorities. The department will be responsible for notifying applicants of the outcome of any funding process, responding to queries in relation to the application process, and for resolving any uncertainties that may arise in relation to application requirements. The department will be responsible for decisions regarding the internal administrative and program management arrangements for activities under the Fund. The department will also manage the funding arrangements under the Fund and undertake all assessment processes, including ranking grant funding applications. The department will be responsible for all management and monitoring requirements, such as: Developing funding agreements or any alternative contractual arrangement; Monitoring the performance of projects to ensure the conditions of the contractual arrangement are met; Assessing performance and financial reports and undertaking follow up activity as necessary; Page 9 of 29

10 Making payments on acceptance of milestone reports as specified in the contractual arrangement; and Providing feedback to funded organisations on the overall project following the conclusion of activities. The department will administer the Fund using the framework for the proper management of public money and public property legislated in the Financial Management and Accountability Act Administration of the Fund will be undertaken jointly by the department s Central and State and Territory Office staff. The department s Central Office staff (based in Canberra) and State and Territory Offices will be guided by the principles outlined below in relation to the assignment of roles and responsibilities for the administration of the Fund. The department s State and Territory Office staff will: Represent the department on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Partnership Forums for each jurisdiction, including advising on regional priorities, developing appropriate local and regional linkages across the Fund s Indigenous Chronic Disease Package programs, and links with state and territory government activity (further information about the forums is provided below). Be the primary point of contact with both external stakeholders within jurisdictions about the Fund and the department s Central Office staff in relation to local insights relevant to planning and implementation. Be the primary point of contact with funded organisations and the preferred coordination and contract management point for all funding agreements with funded organisations (except national peak bodies/organisations). The department s Central Office staff will: Support active and meaningful information sharing and engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Partnership Forums by ensuring that State and Territory Office representatives are equipped to provide current and complete information about the Fund to other members and participate fully in consultation processes (further information about the forums is provided below). Provide policy advice and direction to State and Territory Office staff related to the operation and administration of the Fund, including but not limited to the Fund s objective, priorities, funded activities, reporting/evaluation requirements and linkages with other departmental programs. This will include formulating policy advice to Government, obtaining approval for Fund-specific activities and Page 10 of 29

11 ensuring accountability to the Parliament of Australia for the administration of the Fund. Provide program management for Fund-wide or national peak body/organisation activities, including Fund-wide financial management, reporting and monitoring of progress. Provide policy advice in relation to evaluation activities and evidence-based approaches to preventing, detecting, treating and the ongoing management of chronic disease within Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander populations. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Partnership Forums Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Partnership Forums in each state and territory provide advice to the department on regional priorities, developing appropriate local and regional linkages across the Fund s Indigenous Chronic Disease Package programs, and links with state and territory government activity. Membership of the forums includes the state and territory affiliates of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, state and territory governments and the Commonwealth through the Department of Health and Ageing s State and Territory Offices. In relation to the Fund s Indigenous Chronic Disease Package programs, forums are required to include a general practice representative body. In some cases this has been through a sub-committee with a specific focus on the implementation of the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package. In providing advice to the department in relation to priorities for the Fund and the allocation of funding against these priorities, the Forum will, at a minimum, consider the following criteria: Distribution of the Indigenous population and any other relevant demographic information; Capacity of organisations to effectively and efficiently undertake funded activities (for example, capacity to employ and support additional workforce); and Current provision of funding for activities under the Fund, to ensure adequate coverage in each jurisdiction and avoid duplication with activities funded by state and territory governments. The Forums will not be engaged to assess grant funding applications. The department may on occasions seek the Forums advice to identify priorities and nominate grant funding proposals. In considering the advice of the Forums, the department is under no obligation to prioritise or allocate funding as nominated or advised by the Forums. Page 11 of 29

12 As a partner in the Forums, the department will be responsible for providing information to other Forum members about direct funding allocations and grant rounds and feeding back the advice of each Forum to program managers within the department in relation to priorities for the Fund and the allocation of funding against these priorities. Currently funded organisations To date, the majority of funding has been directly allocated to organisations whereby the department has approached organisations to negotiate grant funding arrangements. This approach will continue up to and beyond 30 June 2013 (subject to demonstrated evidence of its effectiveness and the availability of funding) i.e. in most cases, funded organisations will be approached by the department to negotiate grant funding arrangements. When allocating funding directly to these organisations, the department will: Have regard for the advice provided by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Partnership Forums; Consider organisational need and capacity to continue to effectively and efficiently undertake funded activities, including consideration of documented risk assessments (where available); and Obtain approval from the Minister for Indigenous Health for the allocation of funding. Subject to obtaining Ministerial approval, the department may continue to enter into similar contractual arrangements to those already in place. This approach will ensure that currently funded organisations have greater certainty and will create efficiencies by supporting a stable and appropriately skilled workforce, ensuring the continuity of service delivery. Applicants Entities applying for funding under the Fund are responsible for the development of their application. As part of any application process, entities submitting applications must ensure all information they provide is accurate. The department encourages organisations to form consortia or partnerships to deliver activities under the Fund, where appropriate. The department may target funding for activities to a specific health service sector or organisations (e.g. Aboriginal community controlled health organisations). The department will enter into contractual arrangements for funding under the Fund with a single legal entity only. Where two or more entities seek funding as a Page 12 of 29

13 consortium, a member entity, or a newly created entity, must be appointed as the lead member and only that organisation will enter into any subsequent contractual relationship with the department. The lead entity must be identified in any application for funding and that application should identify all members of the proposed consortium. Entities applying under the Fund must be prepared to meet the costs associated with the development and lodgment of their application. Funded Organisation/Applicant Organisations receiving direct funding allocations and successful applicants are responsible for the efficient and effective delivery of services in accordance with the obligations contained in any funding agreement or contractual arrangement entered into under the Fund. Organisations receiving direct funding allocations and successful applicants supported under the Fund are also responsible for: Ensuring they meet the specifications of the funding agreement or other contractual arrangement; Ensuring the project is managed in a cost effective and efficient manner; Maintaining contact with the department and advising of any emerging issues that may impact on the success of the project; Identifying and documenting risks and the appropriate mitigation strategies; Reporting on project performance and expenditure in accord with the contractual obligations; and Assisting with evaluation activities as necessary. 1.5 FUND TIMEFRAME The Fund is an ongoing initiative available from 1 July Timeframes for specific activities may vary depending upon the funding process and the expected outcomes of the individual activities. Timeframes for any grant processes will be clearly specified in the application package for that process. 1.6 FUND VALUE The Total Value of funds available under the Fund is $ million over the four years ending 30 June This amount includes funding that has been committed to the existing activities that were consolidated into the Fund as well as additional funding of 2.5% per annum to reflect the growth in the Indigenous population. The Australian Government will continue to provide additional funding of 2.5% per annum to reflect Page 13 of 29

14 the growth in the Indigenous population thereafter. This will maintain the real per capita funding level for health care provision. The department will review priorities under the Fund as required and provide advice to the Minister for Indigenous Health on emerging needs, to allow for the adjustment of the funding allocation against priorities. These priorities will be used as the basis for allocating uncommitted money each year, and will help to ensure that emerging challenges are being addressed. 2 ELIGIBILITY 2.1 WHO CAN ACCESS THE FUND? To date, the majority of funding has been directly allocated to service delivery organisations and this approach will continue up to and beyond 30 June 2013 (subject to demonstrated evidence of its effectiveness and the availability of funding) i.e. in most cases, currently funded organisations will be approached by the department to negotiate grant funding arrangements. On occasions when funding is made available through application-based processes (see sections to below), applicants from a wide range of non-government and government entities are encouraged to apply. Applicants may be able to apply for funding from more than one Flexible Fund. Applicants are not required to have had a prior funding relationship established with the department, but must be a legal entity to be eligible for funding, for example: 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 may be not-forprofit 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, unions etc); Page 14 of 29

15 Partnerships; Trustees on behalf of a Trust; state/territory or local governments; and where there is no suitable alternative, an individual or - jointly and separately individuals. Should a funding and/or procurement process have restricted eligibility requirements (such as funding provided specifically for Aboriginal community controlled health organisations or organisations representing the interests of Aboriginal community controlled health organisations) this will be clearly specified in the application package for that process. 2.2 WHAT IS ELIGIBLE FOR FUNDING? To be considered for funding, applicants must propose to undertake activities that meet the objective and priorities for the Fund, and comply with the terms of the application documentation. Matters such as: project activities/items that will be considered eligible; any funding caps (minimum and/or maximum limits); any restrictions on Start/End dates for activity, for example all projects must be completed within the stated Financial Year/s; any restrictions around whether funding will be provided only for new or additional work; and any restrictions on when funding must be expended by, for example, all funding will be available from [insert date] and must be expended by [insert date] will be included in any application documentation, as required. 3 PROBITY The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that the process for providing funding under the Fund is transparent and in accordance with published Fund Guidelines. Individual grant processes will contain detailed guidance on the specific requirements for that process and these will be consistent with the Fund Guidelines. Page 15 of 29

16 Note: Fund Guidelines may be varied from time-to-time by the Australian Government as the needs of the Fund dictate. Amended Fund Guidelines will be published on the department s website in advance of any grants process. 3.1 CONFLICT OF INTEREST A conflict of interest may exist, for example, if the applicant or any of its personnel: Has a relationship (whether professional, commercial or personal) with a party who is able to influence the application assessment process, such as a department staff member; Has a relationship with, or interest in, an organisation, which is likely to interfere with or restrict the applicant in carrying out the proposed activities fairly and independently; or Has a relationship with, or interest in, an organisation from which they will receive personal gain as a result of the granting of funding under the Fund. Each applicant will be required to declare as part of any application process, existing conflicts of interest or that to the best of their knowledge there is no conflict of interest, including in relation to the examples above, that would impact on or prevent the applicant from proceeding with the project or any contractual arrangement it may enter into with the Australian Government. Where an applicant subsequently identifies that an actual, apparent, or potential conflict of interest exists or might arise in relation to an application for funding, the applicant must inform the department in writing immediately. The department will ensure that all members of Assessment Panels under the Fund will be required to provide a statement detailing any relationship they may have with applicants/tenderer(s). All panel members will be required to sign a Deed of Confidentiality-Conflict of Interest form. 3.2 CONFIDENTIALITY AND PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION Each applicant may be required to declare as part of their application, their ability to comply with the proposed contractual arrangement to be entered into with the Australian Government. The Protection of Personal Information Clause requires the Funded entity to: comply with the Privacy Act (1988) ( the Privacy Act ), including the 11 Information Privacy Principles (IPPs), as if it were an agency under the Privacy Act, and the National Privacy Principles (NPPs); refrain from engaging in direct marketing (s 16F of the Privacy Act), to the extent that the NPP and/or s 16F apply to the Funded organisation; and Page 16 of 29

17 impose the same privacy obligations on any subcontractors it engages to assist with the Project. The Confidentiality Clause in any subsequent contractual arrangement imposes obligations on the funded entity with respect to special categories of information collected, created or held under the Agreement. The funded entity is required to seek the Commonwealth s consent in writing before disclosing Confidential Information. The specific clauses governing the confidentiality provisions of any grant process under this Fund will be contained in the contract that will form part of any grant application documentation available to potential applicants. 4 FUND APPLICATION PROCESSES 4.1 ACCESS TO FUNDING To date, the majority of funding has been directly allocated to organisations to implement Indigenous Chronic Disease Package programs in line with the Commonwealth s Implementation Plan and the Government s commitments under the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes. This practice is likely to continue up to and beyond 30 June 2013 i.e. the Fund will continue to support the types of activities currently delivered under the various consolidated programs under similar administrative arrangements (subject to demonstrated evidence of their effectiveness and available funding). These activities will likely absorb the majority of available funding beyond 30 June Surplus funds may become available over time to address new priorities that may arise and support additional activities that are consistent with the objective and priorities of the Fund. Access to funding from the Fund may be available via a variety of means. Potential applicants can contact the Fund via at Entities wishing to apply for funding will need to demonstrate (at a minimum) the following: Identified need; Relevance to current government policies and priorities; Value for money; and Capacity to deliver quality outcomes. The department may undertake any of the following funding processes to achieve the objective and priorities for the Fund: Page 17 of 29

18 4.1.1 DIRECT FUNDING ALLOCATIONS The department will continue to directly allocate funding to organisations as appropriate, informed by advice provided by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Partnership Forums and subject to approval from the Minister for Indigenous Health. Funded organisations will be approached by the department to negotiate grant funding arrangements OPEN COMPETITIVE GRANT ROUNDS Funding for new activities may be made available through open competitive grant rounds. These grant rounds will open and close to applications on nominated dates, with eligible applications being assessed against the selection criteria set down for the initiative and then prioritised against competing, eligible applications for the available funding. The quantum of funds made available annually through open competitive grant rounds may vary over time TARGETED GRANT ROUNDS Funding may also be made available through targeted or restricted competitive funding rounds. These grant rounds will be open to a small number of potential funding recipients based on the specialised requirements of the initiative or project under consideration. Funds may be allocated on the basis of advice from the following bodies to address emerging health priorities, unmet needs or to achieve specific policy objectives: The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality Council; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Partnership Forums in each state and territory; and Peak bodies/organisations, including the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and the Australian Medicare Local Alliance SUPPORT FOR COLLABORATION WITH STATES AND TERRITORIES Funding may be used for the provision of support for arrangements in collaboration with states and territories (for example AHMAC or sub-committee activities) PROCUREMENT Funds appropriated for the purpose of the Fund may also be used for the procurement of work directly related to the purpose of the Fund e.g. Program Evaluation. Such procurements will be undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the Page 18 of 29

19 Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and will be for purposes that are consistent with the objectives and priorities of the Fund. Procurement processes will be conducted independently of any grant process. 4.2 FUND UNDER EXPENDITURE Funding allocations will be monitored throughout the year with potential underspends identified and allocated to activities identified as being the most appropriate method of meeting the objective of the Fund. Applications identified as being able to contribute to the Fund objective, and not receiving funding through an open or targeted grants round may also be prioritised and shortlisted for consideration should such underspends be identified. Under expenditure may also be used to fund unsolicited proposals or one-off grants where such proposals will meet the objective and priorities of the Fund. There is very limited scope to fund unsolicited proposals or one-off grants. In considering applications for funding for unsolicited proposals or one-off grants the department will be guided by a range of factors including, but not limited to: the availability of funds; the proposal s alignment with the Fund objective and priorities; value for money considerations; the proposal s capacity to address emerging issues or areas of need; and/or the proposal s capacity to inform future policy development. From time to time, the Australian Government may direct additional or supplementary funding to services under the Fund. For example providing targeted services to areas where evidence shows that there is a need. The Minister and the departmental delegate reserves the right to refuse to fund unsolicited proposals or one-off grants for any reason, including where the proposed activity does not clearly meet the Fund s objective and priorities or where insufficient funds are available. 4.3 APPLICATION PROCESSES The majority of funding will be directly allocated to organisations and these organisations will be approached by the department to negotiate grant funding arrangements (see section above). On occasions when funding is made available through application-based processes (see sections to above) these Fund Guidelines will form part of the application documentation and must be met in all Page 19 of 29

20 circumstances where grant or procurement arrangements are entered into under the Fund. In urgent or unforeseen circumstances the Minister or departmental Delegate has the right to waive eligibility criteria. A range of activities will be funded under the Fund. Each funding process will have comprehensive application documentation that will detail, at a minimum, the following: General information for applicants; How the activity meets the objective and priorities of the Fund; Eligibility criteria; Assessment criteria specifically relating to the activities being funded; Assessment process; Funding available; Timeline for funding; Proposed contractual arrangements; Procedures for submitting an application; Contact officer for applicants; and Fund Guidelines. A full suite of documentation will be provided with each funding process (excluding where funding has been directly allocated to organisations, one-off or unsolicited proposals and some targeted grant rounds). Where possible a minimum of one month s notice will be given to potential applicants of any proposed funding process. Such notice, including the broad objectives of the funding round, the level of funding available and the timeframe for funding will be published on the department s internet site at and on GRANTSlink at grantslink.gov.au 4.4 BROAD ASSESSMENT REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL FUND PRIORITIES The first step in assessing applications for any funding process will be a preliminary compliance check, to identify applications that meet any mandatory eligibility requirements, and to reject applications that are ineligible. Applications that are chosen for further consideration will then be subjected to a more detailed evaluation, to determine the capacity of the applicant and the proposed project to meet the objective of the Fund and the relevant priority or priorities. Page 20 of 29

21 This will include an assessment against specific criteria, which may include: The need for the activity (eg. unmet needs, burden of disease); Relevance to current government policies and priorities; Value for money; How the activity meets the objective and priorities of the Fund; A detailed Project Plan and Budget; Measurable outcomes; and Evidence (including referees comments) of the applicant organisation s experience or expertise, capacity to deliver quality outcomes, and financial viability. The department s administration of the Fund will comply with the following overarching principles under the National Indigenous Reform Agreement: Service delivery principles for programs and services for Indigenous Australians Priority principle: Programs and services should contribute to Closing the Gap by meeting the targets endorsed by COAG while being appropriate to local needs. Indigenous engagement principle: Engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, women and children and communities should be central to the design and delivery of programs and services. Sustainability principle: Programs and services should be directed and resourced over an adequate period of time to meet the COAG targets. Access principle: Programs and services should be physically and culturally accessible to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people recognising the diversity of urban, regional and remote needs. Integration principle: There should be collaboration between and within government at all levels and their agencies to effectively coordinate programs and services. Accountability principle: Programs and services should have regular and transparent performance monitoring, review and evaluation. Page 21 of 29

22 4.5 DECISIONS Approval of funding The department may establish consultation mechanisms or committees to guide specific activities or groups of activities being implemented through the Fund. The department will ensure representation from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and/or health organisations on such committees. The department may consult with the Indigenous Health Partnership Forums in each state and territory during the implementation of specific activities to seek advice on priority areas for funding in that jurisdiction and to receive feedback on implementation progress. While advice from the forums will inform the department s consideration, the final decision on the allocation of funding is at the discretion of the department and the Minister for Indigenous Health. The department will establish an Assessment Panel to assess applications against the assessment criteria and select the successful applicants. The Assessment Panel will consist of officers from the department. Following an assessment of the applications by the Fund Assessment Panel for that process, advice will be provided to the Funding Approver (Approver) on the merits of the applications including value for money. The final decision about the approval of a grant will be made by the relevant Minister or departmental delegate. The Approver will consider whether the proposal will make an efficient, effective, ethical and economical use of Commonwealth resources, as required by Commonwealth legislation, and whether any specific requirements will need to be imposed as a condition of funding. Funding approval is at the discretion of the Approver. Advice to applicants Applicants will be advised by letter of the outcome of their application. Letters to successful applicants will contain details of any specific conditions attached to the funding. In accordance with the Commonwealth Grants Guidelines grant approvals will also be listed on the department s website. The department will notify all unsuccessful applicants. Complaint handling The department s Procurement and Funding Complaints Handling Policy applies to complaints that arise in relation to a procurement or funding process. It covers events that occur between the time the request documentation is released publicly and the date of contract execution, regardless of when the actual complaint is made. The Page 22 of 29

23 department requires that all complaints relating to a grant or procurement process must be lodged in writing. Further details of the policy are available on the 'About Us' page on the department s internet site ( Any enquiries relating to decisions on funding under this Fund should be directed to the Fund mailbox: 5 CONDITIONS OF FUNDING 5.1 CONTRACTING ARRANGEMENTS Successful applicants funded under the Fund will be required to enter into a funding agreement or alternative contractual arrangement with the Commonwealth (represented by the department). A copy of the proposed contractual arrangement will form part of any material that forms the basis of a grant process under this Fund. 5.2 SPECIFIC CONDITIONS There may be specific conditions attached to the funding approval required as a result of the appraisal process or imposed by the Approver. These will be identified in the offer of funding or during contract negotiations. 5.3 PAYMENT ARRANGEMENTS Payments will usually be made on achievement of agreed milestones. Before any payment can be made, funding recipients will be required to provide evidence of meeting the obligations of the contractual arrangement. They may also be required to provide a tax invoice for the amount of the payment. Where payments are linked to the achievement of specific milestones, payments will only be made after the department is satisfied that those milestones and associated obligations of the contractual arrangement have been met. 5.4 REPORTING REQUIREMENTS Funding recipients will be required to provide progress reports on the agreed milestones. These progress reports may include funding acquittal requirements. The timing of progress reports will be negotiated and form part of the final contractual arrangement. The format and framework for providing progress reports will take into account the size, cost and relative risks of the initiative/project being undertaken by the funding recipient and other reporting provided through mechanisms such as the OATSIH Services Reporting questionnaire. Page 23 of 29

24 5.5 MONITORING The funded entity will be required to actively manage the delivery of the project. The department will monitor progress against the funding agreement or contract through assessment of progress reports, verbal reports and by conducting site visits as necessary. 5.6 EVALUATION Evidence from the evaluation of the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package, which will be completed by 30 June 2013, as well as any other relevant evaluations, will contribute to any reviews of the Fund s objective, priorities and funded activities. From 1 July 2013, the department may conduct further evaluation activities at its discretion to determine how the funding contributed to the objective of the Fund. Funding recipients may be required to provide information to assist in this evaluation for a period of time, as stipulated in the funding agreement or contract, after funding has been provided. 5.7 FUND CONTACT DETAILS The department s preferred contact point for the Fund is via at: Alternatively, applicants may wish to contact the department in writing at: Assistant Secretary Program Management and Evaluation Branch Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing MDP 750, GPO Box 9848 CANBERRA ACT 2601 Page 24 of 29

25 6 GLOSSARY OF TERMS For the purposes of the Fund: APPLICANT means any entity that applies for funding or any entity that is approached by the department and/ or provided funding through non-competitive and/ or direct/ restricted funding arrangements under the Flexible Fund. CHRONIC DISEASES - are illnesses that are prolonged in duration, do not often resolve spontaneously, and are rarely cured completely. Chronic diseases tend to have common lifestyle-related risk factors such as smoking, poor nutrition, lack of exercise and obesity, which contribute to the onset of chronic disease. Modifying risk behaviour and decreasing the occurrence of risk factors can prevent or delay the onset of chronic disease and improve outcomes for those who are already unwell. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience a burden of disease two-and-a-half times that of other Australians. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and chronic respiratory diseases are the major diseases contributing to an unacceptable gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. The Fund specifically targets chronic disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations that are the main contributors to the life expectancy gap. CHRONIC DISEASE MANAGEMENT on-going interventions designed to effectively manage a chronic condition using a systematic approach to care and potentially employing multiple treatment modalities. CHRONIC DISEASE PREVENTION - strategies directed at minimising or eliminating future chronic disease and disease complications with initiatives directed at modifiable risk and protective factors. DIAGNOSIS the act or process of identifying or determining the nature and cause of a disease or injury through evaluation of patient history, examination, and review of clinical or laboratory data. EARLY DETECTION - the discovery of a disease or condition at an early stage of its development or onset, usually prior to the development of symptoms. FUNDED ENTITY - any entity that has been successful in receiving funding under the Fund. FUNDING APPROVER (APPROVER) - the officer or individual identified in any grant documentation as the decision maker in any process under the Fund. PROGRAM - a pre-existing grants program that has been subject to consolidation into the Fund. Page 25 of 29

26 SCREENING the presumptive identification of unrecognised disease or defects by means of tests, examinations or other procedures that can be applied rapidly. Screening is intended for all people, in an identified target population, who do not have symptoms of the disease or condition being screened for. The process can identify a pre-disease abnormality; early disease; or disease risk markers. The aim of screening for a disease or a risk marker for a disease is to reduce the burden of the disease in the community including incidence of disease, morbidity from the disease or mortality. This is achieved by intervening to reduce individual risk of the disease or detecting the disease earlier on average than is usually the case in the absence of screening and thereby improving disease outcomes. Screening can reduce the risk of developing or dying from a disease, but it does not guarantee that disease will not occur, or if it occurs, that it can be cured. THE FUND the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Chronic Disease Fund, as described in Section 1 of these Guidelines. Page 26 of 29

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