Policy last updated
16 November 2022
This policy explains how schools can enter community joint use agreements (CJUAs) for the construction and ongoing management of jointly used community facilities such as stadiums, sporting grounds and theatres.
CJUAs are long-term formal agreements. For short term (up to 5 years), occasional or one-off involving the hire or licensing of school premises, refer to the Community Use of Schools – Hiring and Licensing Policy.
- Schools are strongly encouraged to share and develop their facilities in partnership with local government and community organisations. CJUAs can enable this by facilitating the construction and ongoing management of shared facilities that benefit both schools and their local communities.
- A CJUA is a formal written agreement between the Minister for Education (or delegate), a school council and a community partner regarding the construction and the ongoing management of shared facilities that are located on school land or land owned or managed by the community partner. CJUAs can also apply to existing facilities that are being upgraded.
- Schools cannot enter into a CJUA without approval from the Minister for Education (or delegate), and any construction works on school land must also be approved by the department.
- CJUAs are long-term shared use agreements. The shared use period of a CJUA is typically set at 20 to 30 years following the initial construction or upgrade of the facility.
- Schools seeking to enter into a CJUA must first contact the Victorian School Building Authority by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 1800 896 950.
Overview of community joint use agreements
The department supports innovative partnerships between schools and communities, working together to build and share new facilities such as stadiums, sporting grounds and theatres. CJUAs facilitate such partnerships by providing a legal framework for the sharing of resources between the department and a community partner to construct a new facility and manage the ongoing operation and costs. The shared facility may be on school land or land owned or managed by the community partner.
Under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic), school councils may enter into a CJUA with a community partner such as a local government authority or not-for-profit community-based entity. A CJUA is a legally binding agreement which sets out the rights and responsibilities of each party, minimises risk and creates certainty for all parties of the agreement.
CJUAs have 2 major components:
- the construction or modernisation of a facility, including financing, designing and tendering
- the joint management and use of a facility, including:
- who is responsible for the management and operation of the facility once completed
- who is responsible for short- and long-term maintenance of the facility
- who is responsible for obtaining all relevant planning permits (including after-hours access)
- who is responsible for the income to cover ongoing operating costs, including facility maintenance and insurance, the terms and conditions of hire and hire fees.
Generally, CJUA facilities that are classified as outside area allocation will not receive an allowance for cleaning and maintenance. This means that the school receives no funding from the department for cleaning, maintenance or future expenses to upgrade or refurbish the buildings.
It is important that all parties recognise the requirement to be able to fund the costs of operating the facility. The school council and community partner need to agree how they will fund these costs prior to a CJUA being drafted. Funds may be generated by hiring the facility or be contributed by the community partner, school council or an agreed mix between the parties. Most facilities are not entirely self-funding, so the parties will usually need to contribute to a portion of these costs.
Expenditure on lifecycle costs (including maintenance and operational costs, such as cleaning and utilities) should be proportional to each party’s use of the facility. For example, schools and community partners with equal use of a CJUA facility should equally contribute the lifecycle costs associated with the facility.
Revenue generated by hiring the facility should not exceed expenditure on lifecycle costs associated with the facility (that is, schools and community partners should not operate CJAU facilities for profit).
Schools are encouraged to review ongoing arrangements as needed to ensure all parties are meeting their obligations.
Entering into a community joint use agreement
Contact the Victorian School Building Authority for advice and support
Schools seeking to enter a CJUA must first contact the Victorian School Building Authority by email at email@example.com or by phone on 1800 896 950. This is because all CJUAs must be approved by the Minister for Education via the VSBA’s Property Unit. The Minister for Education (or delegate) is required to sign CJUAs and the department is also required to authorise the construction of new facilities on school land.
CJUAs are commonly quite detailed due to the complexity of the partnerships involved and the fact that the agreement usually includes the construction/upgrade of facilities. Please refer to the Guidance tab for more information about the subsequent steps involved in entering into a CJUA.
Hire and licence agreements
Schools can also share their facilities with the wider community through shorter-term hire or licence agreements:
- hire agreements are for occasional or one-off hire of school facilities
- licence agreements are for regular use of school facilities.
For information on hire and licence agreements, refer the department’s policy on Community Use of Schools – Hiring and Licensing.
- Community Use of Schools – Hiring and Licensing
- Competition Grade Sporting Facilities
- Insurance for Schools
This guidance contains the following chapters:
- Entering into a community joint use agreement
- Opportunities for schools and the community
Entering into a community joint use agreement
Entering into a Community Joint Use Agreement
Co-located and shared facilities, including community joint use agreement (CJUA) facilities, build a sense of collective purpose between schools and communities. They facilitate diverse and positive learning experiences, increase family involvement in children’s schooling, and improve the attendance and achievement of students. They build a sense of community from a broad range of users and foster improved connectivity with schools.
The following information outlines the required steps for school councils to take to enter into a CJUA.
The Minister for Education (or delegate), school councils and community partners are parties to a CJUA.
Schools seeking to enter a CJUA must first contact the Victorian School Building Authority by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 1800 896 950. After contacting the VSBA, schools and community partners are encouraged to review the Guide to understanding and developing community joint use agreements . This document is an initial reference for schools and community partners to read prior to entering into discussions about a proposed CJUA facility.
Preparing a community joint use proposal
Prior to preparing a CJUA, the school and community partner must complete a Community joint use proposal .
A community joint use proposal enables the parties to record all the information required to produce a CJUA. The community joint use proposal supports schools to consider possible issues and long-term costs when constructing a facility through a CJUA. It will balance school and community needs and ensure the facility has long-term viability.
For guidance on completing each section of the proposal refer to the Instructions and explanatory notes for completing a community joint use proposal .
For CJUAs that involve competition-grade sporting facilities, also refer to the department's advice on Competition Grade Sporting Facilities.
Preparing and finalising the community joint use agreement
The CJUA contract template must be used for any joint use arrangement between a school council and a community partner regarding the construction and long-term management and use of facilities that are located on school land and can also be adapted for joint use arrangements on land owned or managed by the community partner.
This template is comprised of core clauses and options clauses.
- The core clauses form the standard terms and conditions for all CJUAs and are not negotiable.
- The option clauses allow the parties to select the approach that best suits their specific situation and community under the joint use arrangements and address the operation, maintenance and upkeep of the facility.
All options clauses are contained in the template document. The VSBA will amend the CJUA based on the information provided in the community joint use proposal.
For an explanation of the core and option clauses, helping the parties to understand the content of and reason for the clauses contained in the CJUA template, refer to the Explanatory table of clauses .
Construction of new facility or upgrade of existing facility
Once the CJUA is agreed and signed by all parties, then construction of project can proceed to tender.
On completion of the facility (where applicable), the facility can be utilised in accordance of the terms and conditions of the agreement.
Opportunities for schools and the community
Opportunities for schools and the community
Integrated school and community facilities play an important role in bringing together communities. They allow for increased access to local services and participation opportunities, and foster a sense of community pride and value in schools.
Co-located and shared facilities build a sense of collective purpose between schools and communities. They facilitate diverse and positive learning experiences, increase family involvement in children’s school, and improve the attendance and achievement of students. They build a sense of community from a broad range of users and foster improved connectivity with schools.
There are many opportunities for schools and community partners to work together and share the use of school facilities, which can lead to significant benefits as a result of partnerships based around shared facilities. Examples of these include:
- using school premises for community meeting spaces, creating stronger social networks between schools and communities
- opening school facilities up for use as community recreation facilities, improving availability of sports, arts and other facilities in local communities
- creating spaces to support school-aged holiday, before- and after-school programs, which can improve school security and reduce vandalism as a result of the increased use of school premises out of school hours
- providing information technology centres for community use, allowing better access for communities to state-of-the-art facilities
- sharing libraries or resource centres, performing arts spaces, or sports facilities, which can offer financial savings as a result of sharing the operating and maintenance costs of large facilities
- co-locating preschool centres on school grounds, promoting greater community involvement in school activities and children’s learning.
Schools can pursue these opportunities with a number of community partners, including:
- local councils
- community organisations
- sport and recreation providers
- other education and training providers
- not-for-profit organisations.
The department has created a suite of documents to assist schools and community partners on the journey from an initial joint use concept through to a legally binding community joint use agreement (CJUA).
- Guide to understanding and developing community joint use agreements – an overview of CJUAs, their key concepts and the processes to be followed to create them. This document is an initial reference for schools and community partners to read prior to entering into discussions about a proposed CJUA facility.
- Community joint use proposal – captures essential information to enable the CJUA to be drafted. This form is to be completed by all parties to CJUA.
- Instructions and explanatory notes for completing a community joint use agreement proposal – these are guidelines that provide supporting information to enable parties to complete the CJUA proposal. The instructions assist the parties to understand the concepts and options available to them for the operation and upkeep of the CJUA facility.
- Community joint use agreement contract template comprising core and option clauses – the formal legal agreement setting out the rights and responsibilities of the parties which is prepared by the department. The core clauses form the standard terms and conditions for all CJUAs and are not negotiable.
- Explanatory table of clauses – this document provides an explanation of the core and option clauses, helping the parties to understand the content of and reason for the clauses contained in the CJUA.
Reviewed 16 November 2022