Starting up an OSCAR service

The provision of after school care and school holiday programmes in New Zealand (which we call Out of School Care and Recreation or “OSCAR”) is largely unregulated. Many services obtain Accreditation 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 much “red tape”. This gives you a lot of scope for how you operate to meet the needs in your community. We see this flexibility as a significant strength.

However you will have to get going mostly through your own resources. The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) does fund services with operating grants but there is no funding to assist with starting up. The total funds available for operating grants is capped and usually fully allocated to over 700 existing, contracted providers. New OSCAR services are only occasionally added to this pool.

OSCN can assist with advice and information – we have long experience with supporting  the establishment process. These are  the key questions to 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 your area?
· Will you apply for OSCAR Accreditation 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 the start-up process?

Recommended links

The OSCAR Establishment Overview at OSCARNZ web

OSCARNZ is our sector web-site. There's basic information on setting up a service and relevant links about Accreditation for OSCAR, OSCAR Fee Subsidy etc.

Social Sector Accreditation Standards for OSCAR

To obtain Accreditation as an OSCAR provider you must have a policy document that meets all these standards. OSCAR-specific standards such as staffing ratios are outlined at the end of this document. When you are ready to apply for accreditation, head to this page at Te Kahui Kahu

OSCN Sample Policies

This is a sample of the policy templates we provide to assist with preparing an OSCAR policy document that meets the Social Sector Accreditation Standards for OSCAR.

Programme feasibility guide

This is a simple checklist of the key issues to consider for any programme start-up

Minimum requirements if operating without OSCAR Accreditation

If you start up without obtaining accreditation as an OSCAR provider, this FAQ outlines some minimum guidelines that you should still follow, based on legislation and duty of care requirements.