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Stage 1: What to do before registering a CFA Variation

DHB Negotiations

Failure to begin negotiations early can lead to many delays in the process, difficulty in managing relationships, and may hold up funding release.

  • Non-binding discussions should be held between the Ministry and the DHBs to agree the terms of the variations before submitting your draft document to the CFA Coordinator. Agreement on service requirements, payment schedules, and reporting requirements are most important, as these are the areas that are most likely to cause delays or require amendments before a DHB will accept a CFA Variation.
  • Guarantees should only be given by a person with the authority to do so (eg, Group Manager or National Director).

Seek Internal Advice

It may be helpful to seek advice on payment, service specifications, purchase unit codes, and/or reporting requirements early on in the drafting process.

Payment Methods

There are two methods of payment through CFA Variations: automatic monthly payments (added to the DHB's monthly cash profile) and direct invoicing.

  1. Schedule B Payments: The DHB will receive automatic payments of 1/12 of the total yearly funding allocation each month.
  2. Direct Invoicing: Payment on invoice is the responsibility of the Directorate that is authorised to provide the allocated funding. This involves additional work for the Directorate, which is not required with the Schedule B payments. The DHB will send an invoice to a nominated person within the Directorate, who has authority to approve funds. On approval, the invoice is paid to the DHB by a person with the authority to do so. If you require or prefer more structure around invoicing and do not wish to make payments through Schedule B, then you should consider direct contracting through Sector Services.

Service Specifications

  • A Service Specification must be completed and a fully defined purchase unit code allocated before funding is devolved. The service requirements must be developed sufficiently in the variation schedule for the Ministry to enforce compliance.
  • Service Specifications are developed by sector experts to describe the minimum level of a service to be provided. If your service requires the development of a service specification, or if you are unsure whether a nationwide service specification is required, contact the Ministry's Service Specification Manager in the first instance. The Service Specification Manager will ensure that due joint approval processes are followed for a nationwide service specification. The Operational Policy Framework lists requirements for service specifications.

Purchase Unit Codes

Purchase unit codes (purchase units) are required in CFA Variations. Current purchase units are available the Purchase Unit Data Dictionary. If you require a new purchase unit, contact the Purchase Unit Coordinator once you have completed the service specifications/service requirements.

Reporting Requirements

Ministry policy requires limitations of DHB reporting requirements to certification/exception reporting, and all variation reporting must be run through the DHB Quarterly Reporting Database.

Purchase Board Approval

Each directorate has a Purchase Board to approve directorate spending. You need to obtain and submit the appropriate funding approval before your variation can be registered into the CFA Tracking Database. This should be organised as early as possible to avoid unnecessary delays. This is exempted if your CFA Variation does not contain a funding component.

Business Case

A simple Business Case (see the Business Case Template) is required before your variation can be registered into the CFA Tracking Database. A health report or Cabinet paper that addresses the minimum components within the template is acceptable.

Variation Register

The CFA Variation Register Form contains the information required to create a database link for a CFA Variation. This should be completed and emailed to the CFA Coordinator, with the Purchase Board Approval and Business Case (or equivalents).