MSD OSCAR Approval

This page briefly explains OSCAR Approval, as well as OSCAR Funding and OSCAR Fee Subsidy. You will also find links here to further information provided by the agencies responsible for these different processes. (What is OSCAR?)


The OSCAR sector is not governed by any specific regulations. An operator of an OSCAR service must however comply with all relevant general legislation such as the Health and Safety in Employment Act, Employment Relations Act, Human Rights Act, Privacy Act etc.

The "OSCAR Standards for Approval" is a set of operating standards and guidelines which a large proportion of the OSCAR sector complies with. They are not compulsory, however in order to be eligible to receive OSCAR Funding from the Ministry of Social Development, an OSCAR service must comply with these standards.

Also parents who wish to apply for Work and Income OSCAR Fee Subsidy must have their children attending an OSCAR service that complies with these standards.

An OSCAR service that complies with the "OSCAR Standards for Approval" will usually refer to this as either "OSCAR Approved" or "MSD Approved", as the approval process is now being carried out by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) Approvals Team.

MSD OSCAR Approval

If you are starting a new programme you might first wish to refer to the establishment page.

To become an "OSCAR Approved" service, you must demonstrate that your service complies with the "OSCAR Standards for Approval".  

NOTE - the OSCAR Standards are soon to be aligned with the MSD Social Service Accreditation Standards. From April 2016 different standards will be used for MSD OSCAR Approval. Read more here and contact us if you have questions about the transition process.

When applying for Approval, you need to submit evidence (policies, procedures and forms) that demonstrate that your service complies with the OSCAR Standards. An assessor will review your documents, make contact with you and visit your service to meet with you and view your facilities. Once the assessor is satisfied that your service meets all the standards, you will receive a certificate confirming this, including the mximum number of children that the Approval is valid for.

More information on the approval process can be found at the Ministry of Social Development OSCAR Approval page. We also strongly recommend that your first steps should include that you download and read the OSCAR Standards - click here. For further assistance with preparing for MSD Approval please use the advice and support links on the contacts page.

NOTE: Obtaining OSCAR Approval is a requirement to be eligible to apply for OSCAR Funding but it does not guarantee that your service will receive OSCAR Funding. Separate requirements apply for OSCAR Funding and are explained further below.


The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) provides contract-based funding for OSCAR services. NOTE THAT ALL CURRENT MSD FUNDS FOR OSCAR SERVICES ARE FULLY COMMITTED. New services can register through our contacts page to receive updates and notices regarding the availability of MSD funding but MSD at present has no plans to open funding to new services.

If your programme has a current MSD contract, you should take note that contracts usually come up for renewal in April each year and it is essential to ensure MSD are notified if any contact details for your programme changes.

MSD Contact:

Guidelines for Change of Ownership

Some additional information is available at the MSD OSCAR Funding web page.

2105 Funding review 

MSD recently emailed all currently contracted OSCAR providers with information on some changes to how funding is allocated. 

Read the details using this link: MSD 2015 OSCAR Funding Review

If you have questions, refer to this Funding FAQ. Please direct further questions to the MSD Contracting team.

Work and Income OSCAR Fee Subsidy

Parents can apply for financial asssistance from Work and Income to help with their before/after school care and school holiday programme fees. The programme must be "OSCAR Approved". Other eligibility criteria apply and are explained here.

Fee subsidy information for parents

Fee subsidy information for OSCAR services

Work and Income list of approved "OSCAR Approved" services

Quick links

If you are not familiar with the different processes outlined below, we recommend that you read the rest of the information on this page first.

What is OSCAR?

OSCAR Approval (MSD Information)

What does "OSCAR Approved" mean?

MSD OSCAR Standards

Application form for OSCAR Approval

MSD Approvals Contact Information


OSCAR Fee Subsidy

Establishing a New OSCAR Service

OSCAR Approval & Venue Capacity

Tips for Gaining Re-Approval

PLEASE NOTE: Your service must be "OSCAR Approved" if parents want to access OSCAR Fee Subsidy when attending your programme. All OSCAR Programmes that have MSD OSCAR funding contracts must be "OSCAR Approved".

"OSCAR Approval", OSCAR funding contracts and OSCAR Fee Subsidy are each administered by different agencies within the Ministry of Social Development. Please use the advice and support links on the contacts page if you would like to know more about this.

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