Applications for the Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) IT Grants Program are now open.

Applications for Round One will be accepted from eligible Aboriginal Community Housing Providers (ACHPs) until 5pm on Monday 27th August 2018.

Please read the Program Guidelines, Program Terms and Conditions, and further information to assist your application (found below) before beginning your application.

You can continue to work on your application as long as you are using the same computer and same web browser. If this applies to you, please begin the application by clicking the link below.

If you think you will need to work on your application from more than one computer we can provide you with a unique log-in.  Please request a unique log-in before you begin this application by emailing: achpitgrants@communityhousing.org.au  Do not begin the application until you receive your unique log-in. If you have not received it please check your junk email or phone 02 9690 2447.

APPLICATION FORM

 

AHO IT Grants Program Guidelines 2018-19 Round 1

Download a PDF copy of these guidelines

1. About the program
2. Who can apply?
3. What can the IT grants be used for?
4. What grants are available?
5. Applying in partnership with other organisations
6. What won’t be funded?
7. What should you include in your application?
8. When must the proposed project be completed by?
9. How will applications be assessed?
10. Payments and acquittals
11. What is the process for the IT Grants
12. When and how can ACHPs apply?
13. What are the application timeframes?
14. Terms & Conditions

Further information:

15. IT marketplace events for ACHPs
16. Housing software procurement checklist
17. IT readiness survey

 

Guidelines:

 1. About the program

This year, the Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) has been investing in programs that build a strong and sustainable Aboriginal community housing sector, one that delivers greater access to opportunities and a better social housing experience for Aboriginal tenants and families in NSW. As a result, the AHO have commissioned the Community Housing Industry Association NSW (CHIA NSW) to support the development of sector performance, stability and investment – through an IT grants program, which will be rolled out from July 2018.

IT grants will allow Aboriginal Community Housing Providers (ACHPs) to invest in technologies that improve provider performance and reporting, increase access to IT training to make the best use of new technologies, and create business efficiencies in the areas of tenancy and asset management.  IT grants will be targeted at ACHPs that are intending to become registered under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH) or the NSW Local Scheme (NSWLS).   (back to top)

 2. Who can apply?

Grants are only open to NSW based ACHPs who hold a current registration with the AHO under one of the. following categories:

  • AHO approved (PARS, NRSCH, NSW Regulatory code and SHAPE / CBS) providers
  • Transitionally registered providers  (back to top)

 3. What can the IT grants be used for?

ACHPs can decide what the technology investment will be used for, providing the technology or services fall under at least one of these priority areas:  (also see further information

  • Organisational capacity: improving the capabilities of your office and IT systems
  • Reporting systems: IT system(s) to maintain asset/properties/tenancies and to create and provide reports to different
  • IT training: to improve the IT skills of their workers and make their workplace more IT friendly
  • Digital capability: specialised digital technology or software (business specific), content development (web site and pages, mobile applications, visual and audio media etc.) and related training.  (back to top)

4. What grants are available?

ACHPs can apply for an IT grant under one of three categories listed below, based on the total number of properties currently being managed.

Category IT Grant Details Eligibility
Category 1 15 IT grants available for up to $15,000 each Aboriginal Community Housing Providers currently managing less then 50 properties
Category 2 6 IT grants available for up to $35,000 each Aboriginal Community Housing Providers currently managing more then 50 properties and less then 200 properties
Category 3 3 IT grants available for up to $70,000 each Aboriginal Community Housing Providers currently managing more then 200 properties

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 5. Applying in partnership with other organisations

ACHPs may submit joint applications if they wish.  Joint applications must identify a lead organisation that will be the grant recipient.  The grant amounts for all joint applicants will be paid to the lead organisation once they provide CHIA NSW with a copy of the supplier tax invoice, and proof of payment of that invoice.

ACHPs are encouraged to consider both the potential opportunities of developing IT projects in partnership as well as the risks.  Please note that there is no additional weighting to be given to applications made in partnership.  This is to ensure that partnerships are considered on their own merits.

There are several ways that ACHPs could work on IT projects in partnership with other ACHPs or with other organisations.  These could include sharing training costs, negotiating a better deal on software amongst two or more organisations or achieving cost savings by agreeing to implement the same system across several organisations.  Other examples might include using the same web developer to build a website and then tailoring the content for different ACHPs.

There are also some considerations in developing IT partnerships – including differences in understanding about the aims of the IT project, misunderstandings between multiple partners and IT suppliers and a loss of flexibility if one system is implemented across several organisations.

If IT grant applications are made in partnership, the total number of properties managed by all the partners will be used to calculate which grant category will be chosen.  For example, if two ACHPs decide to apply together where one ACHP has 30 properties and the other has 35 properties this partnership would be eligible to be assessed for a Category 2 grant.

It is a condition of the grant application that neither CHIA NSW nor AHO are responsible for the success or otherwise of any partnership arrangements entered into as part of an IT grant application. (back to top)

 6. What won’t be funded?

The grant specifically aims for ACHPs to gain access to IT technologies and services or to improve the IT skills of staff. Therefore, there are a range of activities that will not be funded:

  • maintenance of existing IT technologies
  • purchase of non-IT related assets such as building material
  • salaries
  • general business operating costs (including bookkeeping/accounting and tax returns)
  • retrospective payments for expenses incurred prior to grant funding approval date or work already undertaken
  • fees for services provided by related parties (such as companies with common shareholdings or directorship with the applicant, and employees or immediate family of the applicant) (back to top)

 7. What should you include in your application?

Applications must include:

  • a clear overview of the project
  • a clear outline of how the digital technology training or service will benefit your tenants
  • a clear outline of the impact the digital technology training or service will have on your day-to-day operations
  • information on how the technology, training or service will help you be more efficient or productive
  • information about your plans to register National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH) or NSW Local Scheme (NSWLS)
  • a clear outline of how the digital technology training or service will contribute to your registration under the NRSCH or NSWLS and future viability as a housing provider
  • a detailed quote for the digital technology training or service for which you are seeking funding. Licencing and maintenance costs for up to three years can be included in the grant application
  • an implementation plan showing how the digital technology or service will be implemented, including key dates and how these dates will be met
  • signed acceptance of the program’s terms and conditions from a designated signatory
  • other further relevant information to support your application (back to top)

 8. When must the proposed project be completed by?

All projects must be completed within 12 months of grant approval, unless an extension is approved in writing by CHIA NSW. (back to top)

 9. How will applications be assessed?

CHIA NSW will conduct an initial eligibility check of all applications. All applications that pass this check will then be assessed by the assessment panel against the eligibility criteria, identified priority areas and the following assessment criteria:

Assessment Criteria Weighting
Benefits Does the application clearly demonstrate:

  • How the technology, training or service will benefits clients and improve client outcomes
  • The impacts the technology, training or service will have on the organisation’s day to day operations
  • How the technology, training or service will help the organisation to be more efficient or productive
  • Whether the is organisation intending to register under NRSCH or NSWLS?
  • How the technology or service will contribute to the organisation’s registration under the NRSCH or NSWLS.
50%
Likelihood of Success
  • Does the implementation plan demonstrate that the rollout of the technology, training or service has been well thought out, with risks and resource requirements carefully considered?
  • Are the main steps for implementing the software, training or other technology likely to lead to a successful implementation by the expected completion date?
30%
Value for Money
  • Is the amount of funding requested reasonable value for money for the technology, training or service that is being proposed?
  • Does the amount of funding requested fall within the maximum grant available for each category of organisation?
20%
Acceptance of IT Grant Conditions
  • Has an authorised representative of the ACHP signed and returned the grant Terms and Conditions?

 

Y/N

The assessment panel will include AHO representatives and a representative from CHIA NSW. Where necessary the assessment panel may call on internal or external expert advice, including advice of AHO regional offices. (back to top)

 10. Payments and acquittals

  • Applicants must not begin the project or pay for the product/s or service/s, in part or full, without confirmation that the grant has been approved.
  • Once approved, successful ACHPs may commence the project as outlined in their application, spending up to 50% of the total IT grant approved in the first instance (or up to 100% if purchasing hardware).
  • This initial IT grant payment will be distributed to the provider as soon as they provide CHIA NSW with a copy of the supplier tax invoice, and proof of payment of that invoice (i.e.: receipt from supplier, bank transfer notice).
  • Payments will only be made into the applicant’s registered bank account.
  • AHCPs that are not in a position to pay upfront must indicate this on the application form, and provide the invoice to CHIA NSW and CHIA NSW will pay the supplier directly.
  • The remaining IT grant funds will be paid in second and final payment upon completion of the project, and provision of the final supplier invoice and proof of payment of that invoice if paid up-front.
  • For software costs or services where there are multiple stages (such as website development or software installation) and for the largest IT grants, the Assessment Panel may agree to divide the IT grant into more than two payments. Confirmation of such arrangements will accompany the notification of a successful applicant, and will be based on the invoice schedule provided in the supplier quote.
  • All IT grant payments are ex-GST and providers will be reimbursed based on the net amount of the invoice (the ex-GST amount). The suppliers will invoice you for the amount plus GST, and you will need to claim the GST back via your BAS. (back to top)

 11. What is the process for the IT Grants Program?

The process involved in applying, processing and managing a grant application is as follows:

1. PREPARATION

 

The ACHP researches what type of IT enhancement will benefit tenants and the organisation the most, within funds available.
2. SUBMIT AN APPLICATION

 

The applicant submits an online application form to CHIA NSW, including signed agreement to meet grant Terms and Conditions.
3. DECISION/NOTIFICATION

 

The assessment panel makes a decision on the application and the applicant is advised of the decision.
4. INITIAL PAYMENT MADE

 

When tax invoice and proof of payment provided by ACHP to CHIA NSW

Hardware only projects can be re-imbursed in full at this stage 

5. IMPLEMENT YOUR PROJECT

 

Submit invoices and proof of payment for remainder of IT Grant amount
6. EVALUATION

 

CHIA NSW conducts a survey to evaluate the outcomes of the program.

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12. When and how can ACHPs apply?

Round 1 of the AHO’s IT Grants Program will open on 18th July 2018 and close at 5 p.m. on 27th August 2018.  Applications for Round 1 cannot be accepted after this time.

Applications will be made online via CHIA NSW’s webpage: communityhousing.org.au/ACHPITgrants

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 13. What are the application timeframes?

The tables below summarise the important 2018 dates and timeframes in the application process.

 

Key Dates Application Schedule 
18th July 2018 Applications open
27th August 2018 Applications close at 5pm
29th August 2018 Evaluation panel meetings commence
5th September 2018 1-week period for submission of additional information if requested by assessment panel closes
10th September 2018 Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be informed via email

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 14. Terms & Conditions

If you are successful in obtaining a grant you will be expected to sign these Terms & Conditions

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15. IT marketplace events for ACHPs

The Federation ran two IT marketplace days as part of the AHO’s IT enhancement grants program..

The IT marketplace days brought together a selection of IT suppliers and ACHPs that are interested in investigating IT solutions that could support their operations and provide enhanced reporting.

The IT suppliers who were invited to the marketplace days have a track record of delivering IT in either the ACHP or CHP sectors.  While neither AHO nor the Federation endorse particular products or suppliers, each of the suppliers invited have been active in the community housing sector or Aboriginal housing sector and can provide referees from previous work in the sector that can be checked by ACHPs.

The IT marketplaces were held in May 2018 in Coffs Harbour and Dubbo.

Please see below for a video of the three presentations from the IT Marketplace as well as links to the IT companies’ own videos or website.

Castleton
A video of Castleon’s presentation at the ACHP marketplace.
You can visit their website here

Chintaro
A video of Chintaro’s presentation at the ACHP marketplace.
An explainer video about Chintaro

SDM
A video of SDM’s presentation at the ACHP marketplace.
You can visit their website here.

For any further information please feel free to contact Adam West on 02 9281 7144 ext 211 or adamw@communityhousing.org.au

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 16. Housing software procurement checklist

The decision whether or not to invest in new housing software to support your organisation’s development is a complex task and one that it is essential to get right.  The Federation has asked Housing IS to provide a checklist of some of the most important aspects that ACHPs should be looking for in a potential supplier if they decide that they do need to upgrade or purchase new software.

Neither Housing nor the Federation favour or recommend any particular software supplier.  It is therefore essential that ACHPs thoroughly evaluate suppliers and their products as part of their software procurement process.  The checklist below will help you consider some of the main issues – however it is not possible to include every possible factor in a checklist and each ACHP must make its own independent assessment of whether to purchase housing software and which supplier to choose.

NSW Aboriginal Community Housing Software Procurement Checklist

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 17. IT readiness survey

If you are thinking of applying for an IT enhancement grant, please complete this short survey about your current and planned IT.

www.communityhousing.org.au/ACHP_ITsurvey.html

The survey will collect background information that will be useful for any ACHP thinking about IT enhancements.

The survey will also help the Federation and AHO understand the sector’s IT needs better so we can work with IT developers to encourage them to offer relevant services.

Please contact AdamW@communityhousing.org.au with any questions about the IT grants program.

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