Co-location arrangements are where Education and Care (E&C) services operate on Department of Education (DoE) sites, such as schools or Child and Family Centres (CFCs). For example, this may be a Long Day Care (LDC) centre in a building leased on a school site, or Outside School Hours Care (OSHC), such as before school care, after school care, or vacation care, using shared facilities, like a school hall.
Co-location is fundamental to many of the partnerships between DoE schools and services, and E&C services in Tasmania. The Provisional Co-location Policy and Process (the Provisional Co-location Policy) was developed, alongside the provisional Strong Partnerships Framework, to support and clarify these relationships. As these documents are new, they will be tested and reviewed after 12 months with feedback from the E&C sector and from DoE schools and services.
New co-location arrangements are established through transparent expression of interest (EOI) processes, which are initiated by the DoE school or service. Opportunities to co-locate are advertised on the Tasmanian Government Tenders website and may also be advertised through media including local newspapers or school newsletters. By registering with the Tenders website, E&C services can download EOI documents, lodge submissions online, and receive email alerts when new EOI opportunities open. Successful services are offered leases or licences for facilities on DoE sites.
During the transition to the new arrangements outlined in the Provisional Co-location Policy, existing co-located E&C services are required to participate in Reviews of Existing Arrangements with their DoE school or service. Pending the outcome of these Reviews, new leases or licences will be offered on the new terms, including longer tenure terms in many cases. This process will not ordinarily begin before the expiration of existing leases or licences.
Strong communication and cooperation between E&C and DoE services underpins successful co-location, and the Strong Partnerships Framework has been developed to support these relationships. Under the provisional Co-location Policy, DoE schools and services and their co-located Outside School Hours Care, Family Day Care, and Occasional Care services, are required to meet three times per year, and co-located DoE schools and services and Long Day Care services, twice per year. These check-ins must be between decision makers, such as DoE principals or School Business Managers and E&C Directors/Managers. The meetings are opportunities to organise shared activities, discuss challenges, and plan transitions for children moving between E&C and DoE settings.
Requirements for these meetings are described in the provisional Co-location Policy and the supporting documents, which are attached below.
Education and Care (E&C) services are not charged a rent for the use of Department of Education (DoE) buildings and lands, but do pay a cost recovery charge, which recognises the costs incurred by the DoE in providing these spaces. Costs to DoE reflected in the cost charge include:
- municipal rates
- water charges
- cleaning costs
- energy charges
- statutory and capital maintenance
- waste removal
- security monitoring costs.
The cost recovery approach, which is consolidated into a per square metre rate of leased or licenced area, is described in Appendix 3 of the provisional Co-location Policy. In recognition of the individual circumstances of E&C services, various adjustments to therate are available.
To facilitate information sharing, and the keeping of agreed records of meetings, Department of Education (DoE) schools and services can use Microsoft Teams.
After opening the app, select ‘Join or create a team’ -> ‘Create a team’ -> ‘Anyone’. From this screen, DoE principals, service managers, and/or school business managers can invite Education and Care (E&C) service managers via their email. E&C service managers must accept the invitation and create an account, or sign into their account if their professional email is associated with a Microsoft account. They may then view the shared Microsoft Teams through the website interface or by installing the app on their own device.
Microsoft Teams is an appropriate tool to upload and share records of meetings, notes, and resources. The platform can also be used to send messages, but email is recommended for this purpose, noting that not everyone is likely to check Microsoft Teams daily.
Microsoft Teams should not be used to upload and share any documentation of a confidential or sensitive nature. Both DoE and E&C representatives must ensure that login information to the shared platform is kept secure, including the choice of a secure password.
A guide to working with Microsoft Teams is available within the ‘Help’ section of the app.
Department of Education (DoE) schools and services, and Education and Care (E&C) services should discuss their questions with each other in the first instance.
Where additional information or support is required, the overview of roles and responsibilities outlines responsible business units within the Department of Education, including contact details.
Alongside the provisional Co-location Policy, a set of supporting documents has been developed to support co-location arrangements at each stage, from Expressions of Interest through to the check-in meetings mandated under the Policy. Instructions on when to use these documents can be found in the provisional Co-location Policy.
- Provisional Policy and process to guide co-location of Education and Care and Department of Education services
- Template – Review of Existing Arrangements – Co-location of DOE and E&C services
- General Guidance on completing an EOI for E&C services
- General Guidance on assessing EOI applications
- Information Sheet on Check-in Meeting process
- Template – Check-in meeting between E&C service and DoE service
- Self-assessment Template for Out-of-Scope of NQF services
- Registration of interest survey
- Co-location Policy and Process – overview of roles and responsibilities