Starting up an OSCAR service
The provision of after school care and school holiday programmes in New Zealand (the sector which we call “OSCAR”) is largely unregulated. Many services obtain MSD Approval for OSCAR, but this is not a mandatory requirement.
This means that an OSCAR start-up is a relatively open process that does not have to involve a lot of “red tape”. This gives you a lot of scope for how you operate and meet the needs in your community. We see this flexibility as a significant strength.
However you will have to get going largely through your own resources. The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) does fund services with operating grants but there are no “establishment grants” and the operating grants are fully allocated to over 700 existing, contracted providers. Very few new services are now being added to this pool, as the total funding available is strictly capped.
OSCN can assist with advice and information – we have long experience with supporting the start-up process. There are some key questions you must consider for any new programme:
· Where will it be located and where are the school-age children who are likely to attend?
· Are there other services already operating in this area?
· Will you apply for MSD Approval for OSCAR and why? (Remember that this is not a mandatory requirement, so there should be a clear rationale for going down this path.)
· Who has relevant expertise in children’s services who can lead our start-up process?
OSCARNZ is our sector information hub and the best place to tap into comprehensive information on setting up a service and relevant links about MSD Approval, OSCAR Fee Subsidy etc.
To obtain MSD Approval you must have a policy document that meets all these standards. OSCAR-specific standards such as staffing ratios are outlined pages 18-21 of this document.
Examples of the the policy samples OSCN has available to assist with preparing documentation for MSD Approval.
This is a simple checklist of the key issues to consider for any programme start-up
If you decide to start-up without obtaining MSD Approval, this FAQ outlines some minimum guidelines that you should still follow, based on legislation and duty of care requirements.