General Information on Funding

The Department of Social Services (DSS) works in partnership with other government and non-government organisations to manage a diverse range of programs and services designed to support and improve the lives of Australians. Commonwealth funding is a great way of helping your community expand, develop or start a project. Service Providers are chosen through selection processes.

DSS encourages all potential applicants to check the DSS website regularly for the latest information on programs, current selection processes and closing dates for applications. A list of some alternative sources of funding to support community-based projects is also provided on this website.

For new grants entered into from 1 July 2011, DSS will accept financial information from not-for-profit organisations as defined in the National Standard Charter of Accounts.

Selection Process

Selection processes are subject to decisions by DSS as to:

  • whether online or written applications will be sought,
  • when applicants are to lodge their applications,
  • how late or incomplete applications will be treated,
  • what funds are available and when funding will commence, and
  • what selection criteria will apply for the different programs.

DSS reserves its right to source providers outside of a selection process, including by direct selection, restricted selection processes or negotiating the expansion of an existing agreement with a current provider.

How to apply

You must follow the instructions available in the application pack or information on the DSS website to apply for funding.

TIPS before you apply for funding

DSS strongly encourages applicants to read all documents contained in the Application Pack carefully.

If you have read the Application Pack and still have difficulties completing an Application Form, you should contact the hotline specified in the Application Pack.

When completing an Application Form you must:

  1. Check whether you are eligible before applying.
    Read the Application Pack for eligibility criteria carefully before applying for funding.
  2. Check if applications are hard copy, electronic or both.
    Read the instructions in the Application Pack carefully to ensure that your application is submitted in the required format.
  3. Complete full details and bank account details of the organisation applying for funding.
    Make sure you complete the details of the organisation and bank account details of the organisation as requested in the Application Form. DSS will not make cheque payments, or payments to a third party.
  4. Attach requested supporting documents.
    Attach any supporting documents to the application as specified in the Application Pack. Documents enclosed with the application which are not requested in the Application Pack will not be assessed.
  5. Respond to all the selection criteria.
    Make sure you answer all the selection criteria within the word/page limits specified in the Application Form. All selection criteria are equally important.
  6. Provide evidence to support your claims against the criteria.
    A claim that your organisation delivers strong outcomes for clients would be strengthened by quantifying with a statement such as 'as demonstrated by surveys administered to clients at the cessation of services which found that XX% of clients had improved their housing situation.'
  7. Read and complete the declaration.
    Please read and complete the declaration part of the Application Form carefully. You must sign the application if sending a hard copy.
  8. Prepare application in advance of closing date.
    Allow a deadline for yourself that is at least two weeks prior to the closing date. Use this period to collate all relevant material and to proofread your application before the closing date. Use the Application Checklist if provided in the Application Pack to ensure that you have completed all parts of the application. Provide a 'not applicable' response to questions that do not apply to your application.
  9. Keep a record of your application.
    Before sending the application, make a copy of the entire package and keep it on file for your own records.
  10. Use the questions and answers facility.
    An online questions and answers facility is generally made available on the DSS webpage during the application period. DSS encourages potential applicants to check this questions and answers facility on a regular basis and to call the hotline number given in the Application pack for any questions not addressed.

Red tape reduction

The Australian Government is committed to reducing the administrative burden on providers.

Consistent with this commitment, DSS is continuously examining and improving the way we do business with our providers. 

We want to achieve an appropriate balance between the requirements we place on providers and the department’s responsibility to ensure funds are used effectively, ultimately improving funding outcomes for all Australians.

As part of a continuous improvement process, the suite of funding agreements now consists of:

  1. Letter of Offer
  2. Standard Agreement
  3. Capital Agreement

To ensure best practice and continuous improvement new Terms and Conditions for DSS Standard Funding Agreements has been developed and apply to any new funding agreements from 11 May 2011 or any existing agreement that is extended through a letter of variation for 12 months or more past 11 May 2011.

Further information on these changes to the Terms and Conditions can be found at: Changes to Funding Agreements.

The type of funding agreement you are asked to enter into will be influenced by the nature of the Activity, the assessed Activity risk level, the length of the Activity and the value of the Activity.

In your application pack you will receive a draft copy of the funding agreement to be used.  The funding agreement is a performance based, legally enforceable agreement between the Commonwealth and the successful applicant that sets out the terms and conditions governing the funding to be provided.

Assessment of applications

You will need to ensure that sufficient information to assess the application is covered in your application. Where the required information is not provided on time, DSS may consider your application based on the available information. This may reduce the chances of your application being successful.

To ensure fairness and equity to all applicants, DSS is required to assess each application received as outlined in the Program Guidelines for each program. Submitting an application does not guarantee funding.

Content Updated: 24 March 2014