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 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 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 our start-up process?

Recommended links

The OSCAR Establishment Overview at OSCARNZ web

OSCARNZ is our sector information hub and the best place to tap into 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 this page at Te Kahui Kahu

OSCN Sample Policies

A sample of the policy templates we have that can assist with preparing an OSCAR policy document for to meet 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.