Disability Advocacy Futures Program

Applications open 24 July 2023

Disability Advocacy Futures Program (DAFP) 

The DAFP focuses on all people with disability in NSW who need support to access NSW Government funded or provided services, whether or not they are NDIS participants. Where relevant, it also targets specific communities and disability types.

In December 2019, the NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner recommended the establishment of the DAFP which commenced on 1 January 2022 and is funded until October 2024.

The DAFP, the 2023/24 Special Purposes and Projects; and Sector Development grant programs aims to: 

  • support initiatives to assist people with disability in NSW to actively engage in their communities in a more informed and empowered way, for which alternative funding sources are not available, and 
  • drive quality improvement, collaboration and innovation among advocacy organisations, and to build stronger networks and learning opportunities. 

How to apply

Before applying, please read the following documents:

If you have trouble accessing the documents on this page or to request an accessible version, please contact us on Megan.Hands@facs.nsw.gov.au

Submit your application for the Disability Advocacy Futures Program grant round using the online Smarty Grants portal.

Applications are only accepted through the online application form. All required fields marked with an * must be completed.

Through the portal, applicants are required to log in via Smarty Grants to access the online application form. If the applicant organisation has previously used Smarty Grants to apply for a grant, then they will already be registered and can use existing usernames and log in details, and do not need to set up a new registration/account.

All required attachments must be uploaded through the online application form in Smarty Grants. Please do not upload documents that have not been requested or email additional attachments such as support letters or references – only your response to the application form will be used to assess your application.

Applications will not be accepted unless they are submitted online through the Smarty Grants portal. Incomplete, late and/or non-compliant applications will not be progressed for assessment.


Please refer to the Grants Administration Guide and Frequently Asked Questions for further details:

The online information session to support eligible organisations with their applications and to answer any questions was held on Thursday 3 August 2023, please watch the video to access the recording.

  • Disability Advocacy Futures Program


    Transcript of video

    The Advocacy Futures program for the 2023-24 special Purposes and projects and sector development in the room I have Milka and James and also from the DCJ grants team.

    Megan Hands 

    I have a Mimi and Tracy.
    So we just have a few little housekeeping rules.
    If everyone just wants to turn their cameras off and their microphone and mute themselves, please ask any please ask any questions in the chat or raise your hand at the end of the session.
    And if there's any unanswered questions will be taken on notice and we'll share it with all the stakeholders here today.
    Also like to do it in acknowledgment of country, I'd like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands.
    We are all meeting on today.
    I pay my respects to elders, past, present and emerging, and celebrate the diversity of Aboriginal peoples and their ongoing cultures and connections to the lands and waters of NSW, also acknowledge and pay my respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people joining us here today.
    So now I'll hand off to Tracy Duncan's team from the DCJ grants team on how to apply for the DCJ Disability Advocacy Futures Program grant through SmartyGrants.

    Tracy Duncan

    Yes, good afternoon everybody.
    My name's Tracy. I work in grant design and support for DCJ.
    I'm hoping some of you may be familiar with grants processes and have used the Smarty Grants portal before, but if not, please don't fret.
    When you log in, there's lots of support available on this site on this form and on the whole site you'll find there's links to Megan's team, to my team, and also directly to the Smarty Grants support team.
    Team so please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or issues with the form.
    Umm, so this is what you'll see when you log in.

    Tracy Duncan 

    If you have a log in already for the Smarty grants portal, then you use the same login.
    If you're new, then it'll ask you to register to the portal and this will be the login you'll use throughout the entire process of this grants program.
    So for an application and also if you are successful, you'll be receiving notifications through this portal and the reporting will be required to be completed through this portal.
    So the form has lots of prompts and hints throughout as you move through each section, but as it says on the front here, you really need to become familiar with the program guidelines and also for any frequently asked questions.
    So whilst we are here to support you, the answers are in both of those documents and I think my biggest tip for applying for a grant is it's like a cast out minds back.
    It's a bit like a comprehension test, and it's an opportunity for you to show and shine with your ideas for the projects that meet the requirements and the objectives in the guidelines said the form will navigate you through I think also the important thing I think it's on the next slide Megan is that there are the opportunities.
    There's a new function in here for those of you that used it before this smarty file. It's actually a.
    It will store your registration so any other grant program you apply for it will automatically bring you up your so you can select your details.
    It's part of the NSW government's requirements to tell us once so if you tell us once in this grant system, it will continue to hold your details, you can also manage to apply registered different authorized logins and different people from your organization if you'd like to do that as well.
    And then you can save as you go when you fill in the form.
    I think the most important thing to remember that once you have submitted your form you will receive a confirmation email to say that form has been submitted with your application number.
    So if you do not have that, then you have not completed the steps properly.
    So you can save as you go and fill in as you go and make changes up until the time you have submitted.
    Once you've submitted, no changes can be made, but if you do wish to make anything different, you can actually contact us and we can withdraw that application and you could start again.
    But we can't reopen it or re-edit it as submitted application.
    Does anybody have any questions around Smarty grants at this stage or we hold them to the end?

    Megan Hands
    Yeah, we might hold them to the end if there's.

    Tracy Duncan 
    OK, great.
    But it look at it's a.
    It's a great system and there's a lot of upgrades going.
    I mean, for those of you that have you Smarty grants, this is a new function, the Smarty file, and it's going to be enhanced again in a couple of months where you'll be actually be able to load in standard documents like your public liability insurance, which is a mandatory requirement for every grant program across NSW.
    And it's also having a data upgrade, so from September it will be Smarty grants.
    Is the system of choice for a whole of governments.
    There's over 43 government agencies that we'll be using the smarty grants portal, so I would encourage you to consider using the Smarty grants file and importantly for this program and every other, the guidelines are your key.
    Thank you.

    Megan Hands
    Thanks Tracy.
    OK, so for organisations and who is eligible, we have a list of organisations so it must they must be an incorporated, non for profit, community organization.
    They are also in the guidelines be based in NSW and already operating in the state of NSW and identifies or is known as a disability organization for organizations that aren't eligible.
    They are individuals and sole traders, local councils, state and federal governments and for-profit and commercial enterprises.
    So the application process is quite streamlined, so the grant application opened on Monday the 24th of July and close at 5:00 PM on Monday the 28th of August.
    Unfortunately, there will be no extensions and the closing Deadlight that that the closing date is the hard deadline, but eligible organisations they can apply through the Smarty grants Dafp Link which will be provided to you after this meeting.
    So what is the assessment process that will be going through for the DAFP grant?
    Tracy Duncan's team from the grants DCJ grants will assess all eligibility organisations before it goes to the assessed independent assessors.
    Once the independent assessors, make their recommendations.
    It'll go to the panel for review once the assessment panel will make their recommendations, it'll be the delegated decision maker who will consider the panel's recommendations and make the final decision.
    After this, applicants will be notified on the outcome of their application.
    So this is a quick look background on what organizations should include for their dafp grant.
    Organisations must follow minimum one or minimum of 1, at least one of the following objectives, and are used to increase available supports to assist people with a disability in New South Wales to actively engage in their communities in a more informed and empowered way or to fellow develop the NSW as we advocacy sector through quality improvement, collaboration and innovation.
    It's also to build stronger networks and learning community and learning opportunities for the NSW, with the advocacy sector.
    So these are the possible projects that could be funded under the DAFP program and that is to improve the development of high quality sustainable services and provide community information about access to NSW delivered or funded services, support community operated initiatives to assist people with a disability to actively engage in their communities and funds can only be used for activities and directly associated to the grant and must contribute to the achievement of the grants program objectives in the previous slide.
    Organisations must meet the assessment criteria and that there's five, so that is demonstrated ability to make the grant objective and outcomes in the previous slides demonstrated capacity to deliver projects or activities for the target groups demonstrated value for money experience working with the target group and community links and engagement with relevant stakeholders such as the other, the other dafp program.
    Organizations must have up to date and current insurance, grant recipients must maintain current adequate insurance appropriate to the activities services funded under the grant.
    This is to cover any liability of the grant recipient might arise in connection with the performance and obligations under the grant funding agreement, and that must include, but not limited to, a minimum of 10 million public liability insurance if any of the organizations today have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact the DAFP at FACS mailbox to ensure that you are eligible.
    Organisations can also submit a joint application, so if an organization is found that they aren’t eligible but wanted to continue doing a project, they can get a subcontracting arrangement with an organization who possibly is eligible and they can have their arrangement between the two.
    So this is for example, an unincorporated community organization can be a project partner to an eligible organization.
    Once again, all the information is included in the DAFP frequently asked questions and the DCJ subcontracting policy.
    So the next steps are what happens when you are organisation is successful for the dafp grant.
    Successful applicants will save a grant funding agreement and acquittal for the grant and will be managed using Smarty Grants and DocuSign.
    Successful applicants will receive electronically via DocuSign for grant funding agreement are required to sign and return the forms within two weeks of receipt, and agreements can only be signed by authorised officers of your organisation.
    It is the applicant or the organisations responsibility to carefully read the terms and conditions of the grant funding agreement, together with the program guidelines and the grant application, the agreement using correct authorised signatories, once we received your signed grant funding agreement, DCJ will countersign the agreement and return the counter signed agreement to you via email.
    Any variations to the grant funding agreement must be formally requested and approved in writing, and failed to do so may result in the withdrawal of your grant offer.
    But as always, if there's any questions regarding variation or your funding agreement, please email the DAFP that facs.nsw.gov dot AU mailbox so.
    Successful applicants obligations are any variations as discussed in the previous must be approved within writing before any additional works can take place.
    All funds must be spent by the 4th of October 2024, and you're required to submit a midterm report and a final report.
    The midterm report will be due in April 2024 and the final report will be due in no later than the 4th of November 2024.
    Along with your acquittal.
    And it's a requirement that all financial records related to the grant expenditure and acquittal be retained by the Committee of the Organisation for at least seven years.
    This is also a timeline of the Dafp Grant, so the DAFP grant opened on the 24th.
    We're holding the information briefing today.
    As discussed, the grant closes on Monday the 28th of August 2023 at 5:00 PM and throughout September, there will be the assessments and advice around if the outcome of your application. In October the project will commence with the payment, a grant announcement and publication will also occur in the previous slides there we also will request for a mid-term report in April 2024 and in October 2024 at the project will wrap up.
    And finally, in November, the final report and financial acquittal will be due through SmartyGrants.
    So that is it for our time today.
    If anyone has any questions, please turn on your camera.
    Raise your hand or put your questions in the chat.

    Cecile Sullivan
    Thanks for that.
    I'm just.
    Uh, I suppose the the deadline of the 28th of August?
    I'm just wondering like unless it opened earlier.
    I know we weren't notified.
    I think until was the 1st of August.
    So, so sort of eight days after it opened and just yeah, any thoughts on that as to why?

    Megan Hands
    As to why?

    Tracy Duncan
    I'm happy to take that Megan, if you like.
    So all NSW grants are listed on the NSW Grant Funding Finder.
    There is no automatic mail out notification system any longer, so organizations must be following the premiers legislative requirements that every funding of NSW is listed on the grant funding Finder.
    So it was listed open on that date as well as it was listed in open on that date on the DCJ service provider grants page as well.
    So we just, we just don't able to manage service provider databases and emails any longer.
    I mean, we do email our networks where possible, but that's why the legislation came into play in May this year under the premiers guidance that everything had to be listed up there on the day it opened.
    And it also is a legislative requirement that all successful applicants are listed on that same website within 45 days of offer of a successful grant.

    Cecile Sullivan
    No, and I appreciate all of that.
    I suppose to the to the providers as in the advocacy piece like we were told several times by DCJ that it was coming and would be notified when it was going to land, so to speak.
    So, but that's fine.
    Like it's still a decent time by but there was a lead up around it being communicated, yeah.

    Tracy Duncan
    Yeah, absolutely.
    And it has been a little bit clunky between the new ministers appointments and the portfolio, so absolutely and new media advisors in those cabinets.
    But we have followed the legislative requirements to have it up there and it is something that we regularly sending out to service providers through our hot topics, nominations and invites and newsletters that are sent out in general through DCJ that that information is available on those sites.

    Megan Hands
    Thank you, Cecile
    Thank you, Tracy.
    Have questions?
    No further questions or through the chat.
    Old to raise your hand.
    OK, alright.
    So we really appreciate your time today.
    As always, please email the dafp at facs.nsw.gov dot AU mailbox.
    Alternately, you can also contact the SPC grants team.
    They're contact details are available as well regarding your eligibility and just visit the DCJ website to find out more about the display of.
    Because if futures program grant and apply through Smarty grants.
    All right, well.
    Thank you all.
    And you have a lovely ohh cecile.

    Cecile Sullivan
    Ah, no, sorry.
    I don't mean to be painful, but just a curious question does part, but we jump off.
    But is this open to broader than the advocacy sector?
    Is it?

    Megan Hands
    Yes, definitely, yes, it's to all non for profit organisations that are eligible.

    Cecile Sullivan
    Yeah, it is.
    Good on you.
    Thanks guys.

    Megan Hands
    Alright then.
    Well, thank you so much for your time today.
    And Liz uh oh, thank you.

    Liz Evans
    No, it's because I thank you.
    That was it at the end.

    Megan Hands
    Alright, thank you everyone.
    Have a lovely afternoon.

    Session Closed

If you have trouble accessing the documents on this page or to request an accessible version, please contact us on Megan.Hands@facs.nsw.gov.au

The DAFP team may also be able to answer your queries. Please contact the DAFP Team at DAFP@facs.nsw.gov.au

Grant applications are open 9am, 24 July 2023 and close at 5pm, 30 August 2023.

Last updated:

24 Aug 2023

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