OSCAR – discussion document - Christian Camping New Zealand by ajizai


									      CONSULTATION PAPER:


        Ministry of Social Development
                  July 2010

Government has asked for a review of Out of School Care and Recreation (OSCAR).
The purpose of this review is to look at how OSCAR could be improved, particularly
for low income families. This review will look at:

   OSCAR standards and the approvals process

   funding and the current grant structure

   school participation.

The Ministry of Social Development has been asked to test four potential approaches
to improve OSCAR. This paper provides a short summary of our thinking and asks
for your thoughts.

Approach                                                             Page number

Simplify the OSCAR Standards for Approval so that they focus
on ensuring child safety

Improve the approvals process so that providers are better
supported to enter the OSCAR sector, and to remain in it once               7

End deficit-based funding by changing the way that grants are
allocated to target high-need communities

Encourage more schools to enter the OSCAR sector by
encouraging and supporting providers’ use of school grounds


We will be holding consultation meetings with stakeholders from the OSCAR sector.
This document is intended as background for these meetings.

We encourage participants to share the paper more broadly in advance of
consultation, so that a wide range of views can be gathered and used to inform future

OSCAR Standards for Approval

All providers of out of school care must meet any applicable legislative requirements.
These are set out in a number of different Acts, Regulations, and local government
by-laws, from the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 to the Fire Safety and
Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 2006.

In addition, to be approved for OSCAR purposes, providers must meet 11 standards,
set in accordance with the Social Security (Childcare Assistance) Regulations 2004.
These standards were developed to assure programme quality, and also assisted
providers to understand what was needed to have a good foundation for their
business as the sector was developing. They cover a range of areas, from child
safety, to staff and management processes, to record-keeping. The standards
require prospective providers to develop extensive written documentation of policies
and procedures, and in some areas can re-state legislative requirements.

Proposed changes to standards

We want to make it simpler for potential OSCAR providers to enter the sector, while
still focusing on child safety.

The Standards for Approval of OSCAR programmes have been identified as one way
in which potential providers may be discouraged from entering the sector.

We are proposing that the standards are simplified to:

   reduce the number of requirements for paper-based policies or procedures

   recognise that some standards should already be met by providers who are
    complying with their legal obligations (providers would be required to attest to
    meeting these obligations).

The following table outlines the current standards and the proposed new standards.
The changes outlined would reduce the number of standards from 11 to five, keeping
those standards necessary to protect children.

Current OSCAR Standards for Approval                      Proposed new standards

1. Programme environment: The programme                   1. Programme Environment: Simplified, removal of
provides a safe and positive environment with child-      written policies, procedures and behaviour
focused activities. There is an adequate and              management plans.
appropriate space for active indoor and outdoor
recreation. Seven requirements, three written
policies and procedures.
2. Programme operation: Programme providers               2. Programme operation: no change as this
have written policies to show what the organisation       standard covers a range of critical child-safety
does and written procedures to show how those             related issues, for example in relation to collection
policies are put into practice. Four requirements,        and transport of children, behaviour management,
one set of written policy and procedures.                 and children with special needs and/or disabilities.
3. Health and safety: Programme providers comply          No standard required: covered under legislation
with all relevant health and safety legislation to        (e.g. the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
ensure that children, staff, volunteers and visitors      and the Smoke-Free Environments Act 1990).
are protected from risk. 16 requirements, 13 written
policies and procedures.
4. Child protection: The organisation is committed        3. Child protection: requirements simplified but
to the recognition and prevention of abuse of             standard retained to ensure volunteers are well
children and young people. Six requirements, two          supervised, processes for dealing with allegations of
written policies and procedures.                          abuse/concerns about child safety, training for staff
                                                          in recognising and responding to suspected abuse.
5. Programme supervision: Children are                    4. Programme supervision: Ratios stay the same
supervised by a minimum of two staff and are within       at 1:10 on-site and 1:8 off-site, age of supervisors
sight and sound of a staff member at all times. Eight     stay the same, include specific requirements for
requirements, four written policies and procedures.       water safety. Requirements for first aid training.
                                                          Requirement for police vetting (previously contained
                                                          in the staff and management standard). No
                                                          requirement for 2 staff supervision minimum.
6. Emergencies: All staff and volunteers are trained      No standard required: covered under legislation
in fire, earthquake drills and other emergency            (e.g. the Fire Service Act 1975 and the Fire Safety
procedures. Five requirements, one set of written         and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 2006).
policies and procedures.
7. Staff and management: The programme has a              No standard required: police vetting shifted to
sufficient body of qualified and competent staff both     programme supervision, otherwise covered
to deliver and support the service. 12 requirements,      under legislation (e.g. the Employment Relations
three written policies and procedures.                    Act 2000, the Minimum Wage Act 1983, the Human
                                                          Rights Act 1993, and the Holidays Act 2003).
8. Buildings and Facilities: Premises are safe and        No standard required: covered under legislation
comply with all relevant legislation as well as local     (e.g. the Building Act 2004 and local body
city or district council requirements. Potential          regulations).
hazards to child safety are repaired, removed or
made inaccessible.
9. Record keeping: Programme providers maintain           No standard required: covered under legislation
records in accordance with the Privacy Act 1993           (e.g. the Privacy Act 1993).
and other relevant legislation. Four requirements.
10. Finance: Finances are managed competently.            No standard required: covered under legislation
Five requirements, one set of written policies and        (e.g. the Tax Administration Act 1994).
11. Camps: Camps are managed competently and              5. Camps: Safety procedures and clear processes
safely.                                                   for camps, necessary to ensure child safety.

Programme supervision changes

Cabinet has agreed that, to promote more home-based care provision and increase
the number of OSCAR places for children, the supervision standard should no longer
require that a minimum of two staff members supervise children at all times.

We are asking for your feedback about this change specifically. We understand that
supervision is a controversial issue with two prevailing views:1
   Child protection is paramount and the supervision requirement for a minimum of
    two staff protects children and staff.
   A minimum of two staff at all times is restrictive and imposes undue compliance
    costs on providers especially when programmes are operating with small
    numbers of children.

Standards for approval of home-based OSCAR programmes

Changes to the supervision standard will mean that home-based care can become
OSCAR approved, which will increase the number of OSCAR places for children.
However, the current OSCAR Standards for Approval are focused on centre-based
provision of OSCAR care, and may not be wholly appropriate for home-based

Appropriate standards for home-based OSCAR programmes are important.                   We
would like your thoughts on what might work best.

For example, approving home-based OSCAR programmes might involve:

   Requiring OSCAR home-based care services to operate under the umbrella of a
    home-based service provider licensed by the Ministry of Education (for example,
    Barnardos or PORSE) on condition that they meet additional standards related to
    the requirements for OSCAR home-based services.

   Developing the simplified OSCAR standards so that they explicitly cover home-
    based care and include extra or alternative standards relating to home-based
    OSCAR provision.

We will also need to develop interim processes for approving home-based care
providers. Funding has been made available to support home-based OSCAR care
from 1 October; this will support parents moving off benefit and into work.

We propose requiring home-based care providers to meet the current OSCAR
standards, and applying to them the reduced supervision standard approved by

  Consultation by the Ministry of Social Development in 2007 for the Out of School Services
Five-year Action Plan.
Questions for feedback:
   Do you agree with the proposed changes to simplify the Standards for Approval?
    Why / why not? Which standards do you think need to be retained / are not
    necessary / could be simplified?
   Do you approve of changing the supervision standard? Why / why not? Should
    this standard be different across home-based and centre-based OSCAR
   What approach to standards and approvals do you think will work best for
    managing home-based OSCAR provision? For example, should we look at
    developing a model where provision in homes is arranged by approved providers
    (similar to that used for ECE)?
   Given your experience with the OSCAR sector, what would you add / do
    differently if you were designing new standards?

OSCAR approvals process

Currently all providers of out of school care who want to access grant funding or
subsidies must become OSCAR approved. Child, Youth and Family process
applications for OSCAR approval and grant approval after seeing all necessary
documentation and completing a site inspection.

It can take several months for some providers to set up a programme and meet the
requirements for approval, especially as the current standards demand a high level of
compliance and paperwork. Ongoing compliance with the standards is then reviewed
about every two years.

We would like to develop a new, simpler process to make it easier for providers to
become, and remain, OSCAR approved. Two potential approaches have been

1. Stop running an approvals process, and instead require all providers to
   sign up to a contract that specifies required standards. Contracts would
   include a monitoring process to ensure that standards were maintained, and
   could be cancelled if a provider ceased to meet the specified standards. This
   approach would allow increased flexibility for providers and the Ministry.

2. Continue to run the approvals process as an initial quality assurance
   process, but reduce ongoing requirements for providers with a confirmed
   track record. This option would reduce the administrative burdens placed upon
   trusted providers:

          when their ongoing compliance with the standards is reviewed, and

          when they open new programmes.

     Approved providers could move to self-monitoring, further reducing compliance
     barriers. This approach could work well both for large multi-site providers that
     have their own quality assurance systems and processes and for smaller
     providers with good records.

 Questions for feedback
        In your opinion, what are the benefits and risks of the potential approaches to
        Do you prefer one of the potential approaches to approvals?
        Why do you prefer that option?

Ending deficit-based funding (grant funding changes)

The OSCAR sector is currently receiving around $17.4 million a year in grant funding,
through a mix of:
   development grants, which provide up to $3,000 to assist with start-up costs for
    new programmes (total $0.6 million)
   assistance funding, which provides up to $16,000 to providers operating at a
    deficit (total $16.8 million).

We are proposing to make some changes to OSCAR grant funding.

Any changes would be made within current resourcing levels. The issue of how
much funding is available for OSCAR provision is out of scope for the purposes of
this consultation process.

Key components of the new grant funding system

We propose using the $17.4 million grant funding to:
   provide a targeted new payment for sole parents, and
   improve start-up funding, and
   target the remaining grant funding better.

A new payment for sole parents

From September, sole parents receiving the Domestic Purposes Benefit with a
youngest child of 6 or over will be expected to take up part-time work. To support
parents as they move back to work, we could shift some grant funding into a new
payment. This payment would provide a higher level of support than the current
subsidies, but would be time-limited, designed to provide transitional extra assistance
to sole parents moving off benefit. After the payment ends, parents would continue
to be eligible for subsidies.

Improving start-up funding

We propose to increase funding for start-up grants, and target them to areas where
new services are most needed. Targeting would be based on a mix of factors
including decile, the state of the local network of provision, and identification of areas
where there are large numbers of people on benefit who will be returning to work.

Approach 3: targeting grant funding better

We propose to provide grants, targeted to high-need communities, to support the
ongoing base costs of services. These grants would be allocated at varying levels
depending on community need (determined through a mix of decile, local network
factors, and labour market variables such as areas targeted for work testing by Work
and Income). Low need communities would no longer receive grant funding.

Questions for feedback
   Do you agree with the proposed new payment for sole parents? Why / why not?
   Do you agree with the proposed changes for start-up grants? Why / why not?
   Do you agree with the proposal to better target grant funding, including by shifting
    funding away from low priority areas? Why / why not?
   Based on your experience, what costs are involved in setting up an OSCAR
   Based on your experience, what are the base costs of running a service?

School participation in OSCAR

School based OSCAR provision is popular and convenient for parents.

There is scope for more OSCAR providers to be located within schools. While
around half of all OSCAR provision is based at school sites, this number accounts for
only around 20 per cent of New Zealand’s primary or intermediate schools.

We need your help to identify the barriers to school participation. Currently we are
aware of administrative issues relating to property use – such as insurance liability
and leasing arrangements.

We would be particularly interested in your experience of providing OSCAR in

Questions for feedback
   What advantages or disadvantages are there to having OSCAR programmes
    located at schools?
   In your experience, what factors might make it difficult for OSCAR providers to
    use school premises?
   How could barriers be removed or reduced?


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