What is the Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST)?
The Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) program forms part of the Government’s commitment to support the role of ex-service organisation (ESO) pension and welfare practitioners and advocates, who provide advice and assistance to the veteran and defence communities. It also links closely to the Advocacy Training and Development Program (ATDP), which provides the essential skills for claims, advocacy and welfare work.
BEST is intended to assist the veteran and defence communities by providing support and resources to ESO practitioners for pensions, advocacy and/or welfare work. It assists ESOs by providing a contribution to the work of these practitioners. It does not fully fund an organisation.
The objectives of the program are to assist ESOs to:
- improve the quality of claims received by DVA at the primary determining level;
- reduce the rate of appeals to the Veterans’ Review Board (VRB) and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT); and/or
- promote the provision of welfare services to the veteran and defence community.
For this grant opportunity, a total of $4.351 million GST exclusive is available for the 2021—22 financial year. There is one BEST funding round each year.
The grant amount available for each organisation will be determined on the basis of the total funds available and the workload information provided in your application.
The program funding is available to support the work of military compensation and welfare advocates, and administrative assistants supporting that work.
You can only spend the grant on eligible expenditure you have incurred on eligible grant activities.
Grant assistance is available for two categories of expenses incurred by ESOs undertaking compensation and welfare work:
- salary assistance
- equipment and administrative expenses assistance.
To be eligible you must be an incorporated and bona fide ESO.
For the purposes of BEST grants, a bona fide ESO is considered to be an organisation:
- whose membership consists primarily of veterans, past and present members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and/or their dependants
- which is established primarily to provide pensions, advocacy and/or welfare assistance to veterans, past and present members of the ADF and/or their dependants
- which does not operate as a business or charge any fee for acting on behalf of the veterans, past and present members of the ADF and/or their dependants in the provision of claims or welfare services.
ESOs can choose to apply as one of two applicant types:
- An ESO applying in their own right for funding for their own organisation.
- An organisation applying for funding as a sponsoring applicant on behalf of one or more ESOs that may or may not be an eligible entity type.
To be eligible to apply in your own right, you must be:
- a bona fide ESO
- one of the following eligible entity types:
- Corporate State or Territory Entity
- Indigenous Corporation
- Incorporated Association
- Statutory Entity
If you are applying as a Trustee on behalf of a Trust, the Trustee must have an eligible entity type as listed above.
Whether or not an ESO meets the eligibility criteria to apply for funding in their own right, another organisation may apply as a sponsor on their behalf. Funding is managed by the sponsoring applicant but any recommended grant amount will be assessed on the basis of the sponsored organisation’s activity as provided in the application. A sponsoring applicant may apply on behalf of more than one ESO.
Applications close 14 April 2021.