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Unspent funds policy

This page states the requirements for returning or retaining unspent funds.

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General requirements for unspent funds

As a general rule, your organisation must return unspent funds to DCJ, as agreed in the contract with us, for return to NSW Treasury.

This approach enables us to:

  • reduce the level of unspent funds across programs, so that funding is directed to deliver the services for which it has been allocated
  • pool funding at the program level to:
    • better address strategic priorities
    • generate greater purchasing power and capacity to respond to those priorities.

There may be circumstances when this general rule doesn’t apply, as each DCJ program has its own requirements in relation to unspent funds.

These requirements guide whether you may retain and use unspent funds for the program services.

If your contracted services aren’t listed in the exceptions that follow, you must return any unspent funds to DCJ.

Returning unspent funds

To return unspent funds, we’ll discuss with you the amount, the method and the date the funds are to be recovered. We’ll confirm what’s agreed in writing.

Our preferred method of recovery is to withhold funds from your next quarterly payment or over several quarterly payments, depending on the amount.

If you have no current contract with DCJ, you can return the funds by cheque or electronic funds transfer. If this applies to your organisation, we’ll give you the necessary details.

If there are exceptional circumstances affecting your ability to return unspent funds, speak to your DCJ contract manager about the method and timing of their recovery..

Exceptions to the unspent funds general requirements for 2021–22

Your organisation may retain unspent funds if:

  • the amount is $250 or less, or
  • the contract is for:
    • Permanency Support Program (see special note, below)
    • Targeted Earlier Intervention (TEI) program (see special condition, below)
    • Family Connect and Support (FCS) program (see special condition, below)
    • Thriving Families NSW (TFNSW) program
    • Supporting Families into Early Childhood Education (SFiECE) program
    • domestic and family violence programs, and sexual violence programs (see special condition, below)
    • Industry Partnership program
    • Rent Choice Start Safely Trial program
    • Crisis Refuge Replacement program
    • Carers Grants program
    • Youth Frontiers program
    • food programs
    • community housing leasing programs, or
  • your organisation received a special COVID payment in 2021 or 2022, and was given an extension to carry forward spending. This includes payments for:
    • the non-government refuge cleaning stimulus funding
    • FOCAS (Family Outreach and Child Adolescent Services) brokerage made available in the 2021–22 financial year to the relevant Specialist Homelessness Services and Homeless Youth Assistance Program providers (see special condition, below)
    • expanding services in the area of domestic and family violence, including payments under the National Partnership Agreement and additional funding for Staying Home Leaving Violence, or
  • the funding was paid in advance for use in following financial years, or
  • your organisation received written approval from DCJ to retain unspent funds for future use with the program.

Special note for PSP and OOHC Contracted Care providers

DCJ has completed the 2019–20 reconciliation of PSP payments made to service providers contracted to deliver Foster Care and Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) and agreed this with most providers. By June 2023, DCJ aims to complete a reconciliation of PSP payments for the 2020–21 and 2021–22 financial years.

As specified in the payment provisions of the PSP Program Level Agreement (Clauses 5.3–5.5), the advance quarterly payment following the reconciliation will be adjusted to account for funds owed to or to be recovered from you.

If you’ve identified unspent funds and DCJ has verified them during the reconciliation, you may retain these unspent funds for future use with the program, as agreed in the contract. If reconciliation results in a discrepancy in the payment, DCJ will contact you to resolve.

Note that COVID-19 Emergency Action Payments made to PSP and OOHC Contracted Care providers are subject to monthly reconciliation.

Special condition for TEI and FCS programs

While you have DCJ’s consent to retain unspent funds, you must obtain our consent prior to committing the funds, for how and when you will use them for the program services. Refer to the instructions for Applying for consent to retain and use unspent funds, below.

Special condition for domestic and family violence programs, and sexual violence programs

You must apply for DCJ’s consent to retain and use unspent funds for the program services. Refer to the instructions for Applying for consent to retain and use unspent funds, below.

Special condition for FOCAS

2021–22 FOCAS funding may be rolled over pending performance review by your DCJ contract manager. You’ll be notified of the review’s outcome when it’s completed.

Any unspent portion of the 2020–21 FOCAS and 2020–21 Under 16’s stimulus package must be returned to DCJ during the 2021–22 annual accountability process.

Applying for consent to retain and use unspent funds

If applicable to the program, you must obtain consent from DCJ to retain and/or use unspent funds for a specific purpose.

To do this, you must fill in and submit an Application for consent to retain and use funds unspent in 2021–22, separate to your annual accountability reporting.

Send the completed form and any supporting documents by email to your DCJ contract manager before 5pm on 31 October 2022. The earlier you submit the form, the sooner you will receive a decision from DCJ.

In the application you must:

  • state the reason the funds were not spent
  • explain how your planned re-allocation and use of the funds will meet the core objectives of the program
  • describe the expected benefits of the re-allocation of the unspent funds, and how this would be in addition to the normal contract outcome for which annual funding is provided
  • provide a plan, budget and timeframes for the benefits to be achieved.

If you submit an application for consent to retain unspent funds, your DCJ contract manager will contact you to discuss it.

Your DCJ contract manager considers whether to support the application and makes a recommendation to the program manager, who makes the final decision.

Once a decision is made, you will be notified, in writing.

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Last updated: 08 Jul 2022