National Centre of Excellence in Intellectual Disability Health – information session

Find out about the planned grant funding process for the National Centre of Excellence in Intellectual Disability Health.


We might get started. I'll just apologise first. Simon Cotterell, First Assistant Secretary, is intending to run this session. However, he is caught up in a meeting with a VIP. And so I will kick off and Simon may come in at a later point and take over.

I think it's important that we start on time and before we do, before we do get any further, I just would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we are all meeting today, and to pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging.

I would also like to apologise that we don't, we do not have an Auslan interpreter yet, but we will have live captioning, so my apologies for that. We realise that that is important and we have not been able to manage to do it. So if the I think the live captioning should be available.

Okay. Let's just say there is a comment there. Let me just have a look at these meetings hang on a sec. Where are the interpreters? I'll just respond to this question from Jen Blyth. And before we kick off. Here we go. Yep. Yep. Okay. So, just checking that the live captioning is underway. Thank you, Jen. Would again, just like to apologise that we weren't able to arrange for live captioning. Sorry for interpreters and hopefully the live captioning is accessible to you. Okay.

So we'll just pause for a moment because I think Simon Cotterell is available now, so just wait for Simon to. 2 minutes. He'll be back on.

[Simon Cotterell]

I am online, Anne-marie.

[Anne-marie Boxall]

All right, Simon. So I've just. I'll just tell you, we've just done an acknowledgment of country and have apologised that there are no Auslan interpreters and so we have live captioning, but do acknowledge that that is a problem and so we haven't connects to the information session yet. So I'll hand over to you if that's okay.

Thanks, Anne-marie.

[Simon Cotterell]

We just checked that anyone we're expecting is not on in the team, just going through the attendee list that we're expecting. Just check. We're ready to start work. We're just having a cross-check of the list.


I better introduce myself because I might not be where I should be, but I'm sitting in just to see what it's like because I'm waiting for forward opportunity at some stage in the future. My name is Alex.

[Simon Cotterell]

Thanks, Alex. And you're very welcome. This is a public information session.


Thank you.

[Simon Cotterell]

All right. Well, we might get started before we do, I'd like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of land on which we're meeting today in various parts of Australia and respects to elders past and present, and also extend those respects to any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on the line.

We're going to have a slideshow. So this is an information session on the grant opportunity for the National Centre of Excellence in Intellectual Disability Health.

My name's Simon Cotterell. I'm the First Assistant Secretary of the Primary Care Division in the Department of Health and Aged Care. This session is about the planned grant funding process for the National Centre of Excellence in Intellectual Disability Health, that I'll refer to as the Centre from here on.

We have a number of people with intellectual disabilities joining us today. I will try to keep the language as simple and inclusive as possible. Sometimes there's legal language that I'll have to use, so apologies for that.

We have sent out a set of Easy Read slides on the meeting invitation, and these slides are displayed on the screen for everyone to follow along with subtitles for the information. The Australian Government announced funding for the Centre. I think we should be on the next slide.

The Australian Government announced funding for the Centre in the October 2022 budget. The Government allocated $15.9 million on top of some existing funding for a total commitment of $23.9 million over four years from 2022-23 for the Centre with funding to continue into the future, beyond those four years.

Establishing the Centre is a key action under the national roadmap for improving the health of people with intellectual disability. The roadmap for short, we go to the next slide. So this is about the purpose of this information session.

So to fund the Centre, the department will run a competitive grant process. The purpose of today's information session is to give you an overview of the key information in the draft grant opportunity guidelines and an overview of the grant opportunity process and timeframes. We go to the next slide.

In running grants processes, we have to comply with the Commonwealth Grant Rules and Guidelines 2017 and relevant Commonwealth legislation about the expenditure of public money. As required, we have prepared a draft grant opportunity guidelines for this grant and the application process.

In early January, the draft guidelines were approved by the Department of Finance and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet that enabled us to publish them with the grant Opportunity forecast on the Australian Government's grants portal, Grant Connect. The link to the forecast on Grant Connect was included in the diary invitation for today's session. We go to the next slide.

We expect that the grant opportunity will open around the end of January. This is subject to us receiving approval from the Minister for Finance to release the final guidelines. Once we have that approval, we will publish the final version of the guidelines and the application templates on Grant Connect.

Please make sure that you read the grant guidelines and the application documents carefully and encourage any interested organisations who have not already registered on Grant Connect to do so. That way you will get an automatic email notification as soon as the grant opportunity opens.

We plan to allow ten weeks for applications depending on when we get the finances Finance Minister’s approval to release the guidelines. This would mean that applications would close in April. We cannot allow longer than that because we need to complete the process, and get the grant agreement in place and make the initial payment of grant funds before 30 June.

The Centre has been funded as an ongoing measure. The Government has allocated a total of up to $22.064 million over four years from 2022-23 in initial grant funding, with the funding to continue into the future beyond those four years. The maximum grant period through this grant opportunity is up to ten years from 2022-23.

It is intended that the grant will initially be for four years and will be extended one year at a time on a rolling basis after submission of a satisfactory annual report. This approach is designed to give the Centre a four year funding horizon so that it can attract and retain staff and plan appropriately for the delivery of longer term activities under its core functions. The ten year overall funding period matches the ten year length of the National Roadmap for Improving the Health of People with Intellectual Disability.

Each annual extension of funding will be subject to the Centre meeting the requirements of the grant agreement and providing a satisfactory annual report.

What will the Centre do? A scoping and co-design of options for a national centre was undertaken in 2021-22. This was done in collaboration with clinical and academic experts, intellectual disability advocacy organisations, people with lived experience and carers, state and territory health departments, and existing specialised intellectual disability health services. The core functions of the Centre, which are listed in Section two of the draft guidelines, are based on the outcomes of the scoping and co-design process.

In summary, the core functions of the Centre will be providing national leadership in intellectual disability health, supporting intellectual disability health for example, by identifying national research and data priorities to inform practice, lifting the capability of health services, in meeting the needs of people with intellectual disability. Providing online support, including an online portal to help connect people with intellectual disability to appropriate health services, and providing health resources and information for people with intellectual disability and their families.

Establishing a central hub of expertise, resources and research in the health care of people with intellectual disability and in full and information for people with intellectual disability and their families to help deliver the above functions and serving as a source of expert advice implementing other measures under the Roadmap.

So, what will the Centre be established as based on the outcomes of the scoping and co-design? The Government agreed that the Centre be established as either a collaborative incorporated not for profit entity established by a consortium of eligible organisations. Under this model, the Grant agreement would initially be established with the lead applicant. However, the consortium would then be required to form a separate, incorporated not for profit entity.

The grant agreement would then be novated or transferred to that new entity. Or, a collaborative consortium of eligible organisations such as the University led centre, which will continue to be administered by the lead applicant on behalf of consortium members for the duration of the grant. Therefore, as set out in the draft guidelines, applicants applications must be consortium based. Over to the next slide.

Who will be eligible to apply for the grant? Section 4.1 of the draft guidelines sets out the types of entities that are eligible to apply for the grant. To be eligible, you must be one of the following entity types: a company, a corporate state or territory entity. A non-corporate state or territory entity. A non-corporate state or territory statutory authority. A cooperative. An incorporated association. A statutory entity, a partnership, or an Indigenous corporation.

Additional eligibility requirements are in Section 4.1.1 of the draft guidelines. Each consortium must include at least all three of the following: a disability advocacy organisation, a university, and an existing intellectual disability, health centre or service. We can only accept applications from consortia that include organisations with expertise and skills in intellectual disability health, and working with people with intellectual disability.

You must appoint a lead organisation that is an eligible entity type. The lead organisation is responsible for submitting the application on behalf of the consortium. Use of the grant funding. So, section 5 of the guidelines outlines what the grant money can be used for. Section 5.1 is about eligible

grant activities. These include a set of establishment and operational activities and a set of activities to deliver the core functions of the Centre.

Section 5.2 on eligible expenditure, the successful applicant will only be permitted to spend the grant funds on eligible expenditure that is incurred for the agreed project activities. This section lists the types of expenses for which the grant funds can be used.

Section 5.3. What the grant money cannot be used for. Section 5.3 includes a list of costs which the grant funds cannot be used. The grant must only be used for the establishment and operation of the Centre.

Slide 12 The Assessment Criteria. There are five detailed assessment criteria listed in section 6 of the guidelines. In summary, the criteria are 1): the proposed operating model, governance and staffing structure of the National Centre. 2): Capacity and capability to successfully establish and operate the National Centre. 3): Delivering the core functions of the National Centre. 4): Risk management, and 5): impact of the grant funding. Applications must address all five criteria. The criteria are weighted, and each one has a word limit as specified in the guidelines and the application form.

Go to Slide 13 on how to apply. Information on how to apply is set out in section 7 of the guidelines. Before applying, carefully read the final version of the guidelines and the application documents on Grant Connect. Any alterations and addenda (means changes) to these will be published on Grant Connect.

By registering on Grant Connect, you'll be automatically notified about any changes. To apply, you must complete the application form on Grant Connect. Provide all the information requested. Address all eligibility criteria and assessment criteria. Include all necessary attachments, and submit your application using the application form, and do this by the closing date and time as specified on the front cover of these guidelines.

Slide 14 - Attachments to the application. Section 7.1 of the Guidelines lists the attachments that you have to submit with your application. These are: the activity workplan using the template in the application attachments pack. A budget plan, also using the template in the application attachments pack. A risk management plan, also using the template in the application attachments pack. Evidence of support from your organisation's board, CEO or equivalent, and letters of support from the proposed consortium members.

You must attach supporting documentation to the application form in line with the instructions provided within the form. You should only attach requested documents. We will not consider information in attachments that we do not request.

Slide 15 about timing. Indicative expected timing for the grant opportunity is listed in section 7.3 of the guidelines. These are highlighted in yellow in the draft version as they are still subject to change in the final version. We plan to allow ten weeks from the opening date for applications. It is anticipated the grant agreement will start in late May, or early June.

If you have questions relating to clarification of information of the available grant, technical issues or processes during the application period, you will need to email  and the department will respond to emailed questions within three working days. Requests for clarification may form the basis of a response that will be posted on Grant Connect in the frequently asked questions document about this opportunity. Any questions will be de-identified. Registered applications will be notified. Sorry. Registered applicants will be notified of updates to documents via email from the Grant Connect website.

The Department cannot assist you to address assessment criteria, determine eligibility or complete your application. Section 8 of the guidelines sets out the grant selection process. We first review each application against the eligibility criteria. Only eligible applications will move to the next stage. The assessment panel will then assess eligible applications against the assessment criteria. We consider each eligible application on its merits and against other applications based on how well it meets the criteria, how it compares to other applications, and whether it provides value for money.

Who decides which application to approve for a grant? The assessment panel will recommend to the decision maker who will be the Deputy Secretary of the Primary and Community Care Group in the Department of Health and Aged Care, which application to approve for the grant. The decision maker decides which grant to approve, taking into account the recommendations of the assessment panel and the availability of grant funds for the purposes of the grant opportunity. We will advise you of the outcome of the application in writing. If you are successful, we will advise you of any specific conditions attached to the grant.

Slide 19: Establishing the Grant Agreement. As set out in Section 10 of the guidelines, the successful applicant will be required to enter into a legally binding grant agreement with the Commonwealth. We use the whole of Government grant agreement templates and we will use the standard grant agreement for this program. Each agreement has general terms and conditions that cannot be changed. Sample grant agreements are available on the Department of Finance's website. We will use supplementary terms and conditions if required and a schedule to outline the specific grant requirements.

We will issue a written offer to the successful applicant to sign the grant agreement with the Commonwealth. The decision maker in the Department will sign the grant agreement for the Commonwealth. Once the grant agreement has been signed, we will make the first payment. That is, the funds that are allocated for 2022-23 to the grant recipient as an upfront starting payment.

And finally, I would like to thank everyone for joining us today and for your interest in this important measure. If you have any questions relating to clarification of information of the available grant, technical issues or processes during the application period, you will need to email and we will post the response to any questions so that all applicants have access to the same information. If we. So if I could just apologise again for the absence of Auslan interpreters at this session, we will consider whether to have another session with Auslan interpreters available once the grant guidelines are finalised.

So there's a couple of questions in the chat. Are we able to register now? A person can't see where to register on the Grant Connect website. Or do you register once the RFT is released. Anne-marie and your team, can you answer that?

[Anne-marie Boxall]

Yes, you can register for Grant Connect, and I'll just add to that in the chat. So we can send that information out to everyone after this meeting as well. But it is possible to register now. Okay.

[Simon Cotterell]

And can questions be posted before the formal opening of the grant? And the answer is yes. Okay. So there's no other questions in the chat. Unless people have no further pressing questions. There's another question. Someone is on Grant Connect and cannot see where to register interest for this grant. Yet it's going to put the link up for people. So we'll put it in the chat in and send it via email. Okay.

And there's another question. What provision is being made for people who use AAC? I don't know if you know the answer to that one. Judith, I think is just putting something in the chat. Simon, okay.

And we have another question. Will the applications be assessed for how they will engage with other groups who are not part of the collaboration applying for the grant? And I think the answer to that goes to the selection criteria, which are about capacity and capability to successfully establish and operate the National Centre. So given the functions of the Centre to provide leadership and across the sector, then I think that would be assessed in that criterion.

So to answer the question on AAC, the final grant guidelines will be published in Web accessible format.

There is a question, how will the department ensure the Centre is culturally safe for First Nations people? Anne-Marie, would you like to address that.

[Anne-marie Boxall]

Again, we will, I think that's a criteria that could be assessed as part of the assessment criteria. So that can be something that we look at as part of the application and consider it in in terms of delivering the core functions of the Centre. And of course, the impact of the grant funding as well. So I think that's captured by our assessment criteria. Thanks for the question.

[Simon Cotterell]

Thanks. And Jim has asked: the application form only has space for five members of the consortium. Can you have more than five? And the answer to that is yes. So we need to think about how we address that in the application form. Okay.

And the question, there is a clarification about AAC; how will the successful applicant engage with people who use AAC? And I think the answer to that is that we will be requiring the National Centre to communicate in an inclusive way with all stakeholders.

We've had a complaint about the slides with more than 20 words per slide. So all I can do is apologise for that.

Will state and territory departments be part of this process? I think state and territory departments are eligible to apply? Is that right, Anne-marie, as part of the consortium?

[Anne-marie Boxall]

Sorry, I couldn't get off mute. Yes, that's. That's right. So the entities are there, so companies, corporate state and territory entities, non-corporate state or territory entities and authorities. So I think that encompasses state and territory governments.

[Simon Cotterell]

Okay. There's a question. Who retains the intellectual property rights of any work developed, and does the grant stipulate the ways in which work developed must be shared and made public? I think the Commonwealth standard funding agreement has the Commonwealth retaining ownership of intellectual property rights. I think if there's a successful applicant there'll be a discussion with them about intellectual property rights at that time.

And does the grant stipulate the ways in which work must be shared and made public? The underlying purpose of the Centre is to ensure that there is public access to the best available information on intellectual disability health.

Will people with intellectual disability be included in all relevant roles and decision making? And the requirement of the grant is that they will be included in the Centre. Anne-marie, I don't know if there's anything more detailed than that.

[Anne-marie Boxall]

There is. I'm just looking to the right page, but it is a requirement of how the Centre operates that and also the grant application that it is clear how people with intellectual disability are included in the staffing structure. So it is under Criterion 3, and the applicants are required to provide national leadership and intellectual disability health, such as identifying and raising the profile of priority issues, working collaboratively with people with intellectual disability, their family and carers and other groups as well. So, and there's other criteria there which go to that as well. So it's criterion 3 where that will be addressed.

[Simon Cotterell]

Thanks. Thank you. Is a comment that many people with intellectual disability do not have literacy or digital literacy to use websites. How will this be addressed? My response to that is that the part of the role of the National Centre will be to find best practice ways to communicate information to people with intellectual disability.

The team have now posted the link to the new user registration on Grant Connect, so people can connect to the right spot. There's a question: Will people with intellectual disability be on the selection panel?

[Anne-marie Boxall]

Usually the selection panel is made up of government officials only, so we would have to investigate whether there were suitable people within the department. The other thing is we would have to investigate whether it's possible to include external people from the department as part of the intellectual, as part of the panel. So I appreciate the sentiment there. I don't know the answer. We will investigate and of course, we'll post the answer once we find it.

[Simon Cotterell]

Okay. I don't see any more questions. So thank you, everyone, for participating in the information session. As I say, we will consider what to do about the absence of Auslan interpreters and we may hold another session once the guidelines are finalised.

All right, so with no more questions. Thanks again for your participation and we will close this session.


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In January 2023, we held an online information session about the planned funding process for the national centre. Setting up a National Centre of Excellence in Intellectual Disability Health is a priority action under the National Roadmap for Improving the Health of People with Intellectual Disability (roadmap).

This is video recording includes Auslan translation and hard captions.

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