Sport Australia Participation Grant Program Guidelines
These Guidelines set out the funding requirements for the Sport Australia Participation Grant Program (the Program). The Australian Sports Commission (ASC), referred to in these Guidelines as ‘Sport Australia’, is responsible for administering the Program.
A glossary of key terms used in these Guidelines is attached at Appendix A.
All necessary consultations, planning and approvals should be completed prior to submitting an application for funding under the Program.
2. ABOUT THE SPORT AUSTRALIA PARTICIPATION GRANT PROGRAM
Participation in sport and being physically active are essential ingredients for building and maintaining a healthy, happy, and connected nation.
Necessary health measures undertaken over the past 20 months have forced thousands of sporting clubs and programs into hiatus, leaving millions of participants and volunteers across Australia without their chosen sport or physical activity.
The Sport Australia Participation Grant Program (the Program) will support the delivery of community based programs across Australia to provide more opportunities for Australians to connect or return to sport and physical activity.
We are seeking applications from peak physical activity bodies, National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) and National Sporting Organisations for people with disability (NSOD) that have innovative new programs and ideas to bring our communities together, to make them stronger, more resilient, more active, more inclusive.
Through an investment of up to $10.3m, the Program will support more Australians to obtain social, personal and health benefits through regular engagement in community sport and physical activity.
3. PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
The objectives of the Program are to support new or modify/extend existing projects which:
- Address barriers to sport and physical activity, noting that COVID-19 has impacted many Australians
- Increase participation in sport and physical activity through the provision of inclusive and high-quality sport and physical activity experiences, and
- Build awareness of the benefits of being active through sport and physical activity.
4. IMPORTANT DATES
The expected timing for this grant opportunity is:
|Applications open||9am AEST Monday 6 September 2021|
|Applications close||2pm AEDT Friday 8 October 2021|
|Notification of outcomes and funding announcements||From Tuesday 19 November 2021|
|Project to be commenced||Prior to the end of 2021|
|Projects to be completed by||12 months from signing of funding agreements|
5. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
To be eligible to receive funding through the Program, applicants must satisfy the eligibility criteria.
5.1 Who is eligible as a primary grant applicant?
The entity applying for a grant will be the primary grant applicant. To be eligible, the primary grant applicant must meet the following criterion.
The entity must:
- Have been operating with a Not for profit status for at least 12 months
- Not be (and ensure that any Partner organisation is not), an organisation named by the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (www.nationalredress.gov.au) on its list of “Institutions that have not joined or signified their intent to join the Scheme”
- Have delivery reach through Member Associations and/or partnerships in at least three Australian States or Territories.
Stream 1 aims to support physical activity providers to get Australians involved in physical activity. Applicants must be:
- A National/Peak body supporting the provision of sport and physical activity (excludes any Sport Australia recognised NSO, NSOD or their member organisations.
- A National/Peak Non-Government Organisation (NGO)
Stream 2 aims to support NSO’s and NSODs to increase the number of Australians in organised sport. Applicants must be:
- A Sport Australia recognised NSO or NSOD. A list of recognised NSO/NSOD can be found here.
Stream 3 aims to encourage NSO and NSOD’s to partner with each other to maximise reach and drive collaboration. Applicants must be:
- A Sport Australia recognised NSO or NSOD
- Feature a partnership to deliver a project in conjunction with another recognised NSO/NSOD.
- Organisations eligible under these Guidelines, that received funding for a completed project through Sport Australia’s 2018-19 and 2019-20 Move It AUS Participation Grant Program, may also apply for funding under the relevant Stream(s) of this Program. Such applications will be assessed in accordance with these Guidelines, however, where the proposed Project is related to the previously funded Project, the applicant must also demonstrate significant advancement on its project outcomes.
- Where the Project involves children (under the age of 18) or vulnerable people, applicants will be required to comply with all laws relating to the employment or engagement of child related personnel, including obtaining and maintaining Working With Children Checks (however described) and mandatory reporting requirements, and upon request by Sport Australia, provide evidence of compliance with child safeguarding requirements.
Only one application will be accepted per Primary grant applicant per Stream. Any subsequent application submitted will be ineligible for assessment.
6. AVAILABLE FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
Three Streams of funding are available to support the objectives of the Program. The potential funding amounts, and the funding categorisation for eligible organisations are as follows:
|Reach||Total Program funds available||Potential Grant amount (GST exclusive)|
|Stream 1||National Physical Activity Programs|
Eligible national physical activity organisations (not NSO, NSODs or member organisations)
|Across at least three Australian States or Territories||Up to $4,000,000||$50,000 to $250,000|
|Stream 2||National Sporting Organisation Programs|
Eligible NSO/NSODs to deliver initiatives through Member Associations/ partnerships
|Across at least three Australian States or Territories||Up to $5,000,000||$50,000 to $450,000|
|Stream 3||National Sporting Organisation - Program Partnerships|
Eligible NSO/NSODs, in conjunction with other NSO/NSOD Partner organisation(s), to deliver initiatives through Member Associations and partnerships
|Across at least three Australian States or Territories||Up to $2,000,000||$50,000 to $450,000|
|Total program funds available: Up to $10,300,000|
Note: Grant amounts awarded, will be determined as part of the assessment process under these Guidelines and may not be at the level applied for.
6.1 Who is not eligible as a primary grant applicant?
You are ineligible to apply as a primary grant applicant if you are a:
- for-profit organisation
- a Regional or State/ Territory Association (although applications can be developed in partnership with National body)
- a local club
- a local council
- an organisation that has been operating with a Not for Profit status for less than 12 months
- an individual, partnership or trust
- a school or university, or
- a Commonwealth, state or territory government agency or body (including government business enterprises).
Sport Australia grant evaluations have determined that partnerships are a primary driver of success in delivering effective and sustainable projects. As such, Sport Australia encourages primary grant applicants to consider partnering with other organisations (including those not eligible to be a primary grant applicant), to enhance the delivery of the Project.
There is no limit to the number of times an organisation can be nominated as partner of Primary grant applicant(s) for the purpose of the Program.
Partner organisations may assist with, for example:
- providing expertise in the needs of specific target markets and/or the development of appropriate physical activity or sport programs
- the education of and communication to stakeholders
- supporting the delivery, resourcing, or providing a funding contribution to the Project; or monitoring, evaluating and reporting Project outputs and outcomes.
ELIGIBLE USES OF GRANT FUNDS
8.1 Eligible projects and activities
To be eligible for funding, your Project must implement initiatives which increase the sport or physical activity level of Australians.
Examples of eligible Projects and activities include, but are not limited to:
- modification of existing, or new sport and/or physical activity products/programs to encourage Australians to participate;
- initiatives that address the barriers to participation (including cost)
- initiatives that help to increase the connection between sporting activity through schools (including Sporting Schools Program) and community club sport
- the development of inclusive participation products in line with the needs of participants, and
- training and education solutions that support the training of new, or existing, volunteers related to the delivery of the funded Program.
- The expenditure of grant funds is restricted to activities directly related to the project as specified in the Funding Agreement.
8.2 Ineligible projects and activities
Examples of projects and activities which are ineligible for funding include, but are not limited to:
- infrastructure related projects
- stand-alone, one off events that are not linked to a longer project
- stand-alone digital projects with no connection to program delivery
- indirect research costs
- established projects that are already operating (and do not offer increased scope, reach or scale)
- ongoing operational costs beyond the life of the project
- high performance sport (including elite and representative sport)
- purchase of capital assets (e.g. buildings, motor capital vehicles, furniture, with a threshold of up to $2,000)
- requests for retrospective funding
- international travel.
Sport Australia will be seeking national delivery coverage across the total grant pool and will consider the geographical reach and location of Projects as part of the application assessment process (see section 10 below).
All applicants will be required to include in their application a list of locations at which project delivery will occur.
As part of the application assessment process, Sport Australia may seek further information from applicants regarding the location of their project delivery, including whether there is potential for the applicant to expand or modify their project location in order to achieve improved national coverage and benefit for the Program.
Assessment of Eligible applications will be made against the following criteria, based on the weighting given to each criterion as outlined below.
10.1 Selection Criterion 1 – Design (40%)
Increasing participation in sport and/or physical activity
This will be demonstrated by identifying:
- How the project will increase participation in sport and physical activity and address the barriers to participation, in order to meet the Program objectives in section 3.
- How evidence has been applied to the design of the project supporting inclusive and high-quality sport and physical activity experiences, particularly for:
- Women and girls
- People from rural and remote communities
- People with disability
- People from culturally and linguistically diverse communities
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- Lower socio-economic communities
- Demonstrating value for money through a project budget and the provision of any co-contributions, and
- Where relevant, details of the involvement of any partner organisation(s) through letters of support.
10.2 Selection Criterion 2 – Delivery (40%)
Capacity, capability and resources to deliver the Project
This will be demonstrated by:
- Detailing a project plan that clearly outlines the project scope, workforce capability, key deliverables and milestones, risk management procedures and timeframe.
- Outlining the expected scale and reach of the project, including the number of participants, number of States and Territories and project locations, and access to suitable facilities.
- Detailing the sustainability and ongoing delivery of the project beyond the funding period.
10.3 Selection Criterion 3 – Promotion and Impact (20%)
Develop community awareness and messaging
This will be demonstrated by:
- Detailing how your organisation will build awareness through media and event campaigns.
- Outlining how the project learnings and findings will be shared with the community/sector.
Before you apply, please read these Guidelines and related materials to make sure you understand all relevant requirements. You can view the relevant information at www.sportaus.gov.au/participationgrants.
Note: Only one application per Primary grant applicant per Stream will be eligible for submission.
All applications must be submitted online during the funding application period. No late application submissions will be eligible after the application closing time.
To apply, you must:
- submit an online application form via www.sportaus.gov.au/participationgrants
- provide all the information that we need to assess your application, and
- consider all eligibility and selection criteria, ensuring you have addressed the relevant criteria.
Please ensure your application is complete and accurate. Giving false or misleading information is a serious offence under the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth). We will investigate false or misleading information and may not consider your application for the grant.
If you find an error in your application after submitting it, you should notify us immediately at email@example.com. Sport Australia does not have to accept any additional information nor requests from you to correct your application after the closing time.
If you have any technical difficulties using the system, either with attaching documents or submitting the application, you must contact Sport Australia immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No allowances will be made for technical issues arising in attempting to submit an application where the issue has not been reported prior to the application closing time. We do not have to accept additional information or requests to change your submission after the closing time.
If you need further guidance in the application process, are unable to submit an online application or wish to withdraw a submitted application, you can contact Sport Australia via email email@example.com.
11.1 Attachments to your application
Where relevant, supporting documentation will be attached to your online application, the total size of attachments must be 25MB or less.
APPLICATION ASSESSMENT PROCESS
All applications will initially be assessed against the eligibility criteria by Sport Australia.
All eligible applications will proceed to the Assessment Panel stage, where they will be assessed within their nominated Stream. The Assessment Panel, comprising Sport Australia and industry experts, will assess applications based on how well they meet the selection criteria and how they compare to other applications.
Selected applications for each Stream will be considered by a Moderation Panel. Various State and Territories’ agencies of Sport and Recreation and other industry representatives will be invited to join representatives from Sport Australia to form the Moderation Panel and provide recommendations for the consideration of the Grant Approver.
For Stream 2 and 3 funding applications, the Moderation panel may consider risk factors that may impact on the organisation’s ability to deliver the project such as Governance, Financial and previous or current funded project performance.
During the assessment process, Sport Australia may require further information about your organisation or application and may seek to source this information from applicants or any number of external sources.
The Grant Approver will make the final decision as to grant recipients and funding amounts after considering the recommendations of the Moderation Panel and the availability of grant funds for the purposes of the Program.
All applicants will be notified in writing of the outcome of their grant application.
The Grant Approver’s decision is final in all matters, including the:
- approval of the grant
- grant amount to be awarded, and
- terms and conditions of funding.
There is no review or appeals process after the Grant Approver’s final decision.
14.1 Child Safety
Sport Australia is committed to Australian sport environments that are safe, supportive and friendly for children and other vulnerable people. The ASC Child Safe Policy outlines our commitment to child safeguarding, and the obligations and responsibilities of our people and stakeholders to protect children. All grant recipients will be bound by the ASC Child Safe Policy.
Sport Australia has adopted the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework, including the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. All grant recipients/organisations will be expected to adopt and implement the National Principles for Child Safety and ensure that all child related personnel are compliant with legislation relating to the employment or engagement of people working with children and vulnerable people, including Working With Children Checks and mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect. Grant recipients must provide evidence to Sport Australia, upon request, of compliance with child safety requirements.
Sport Australia is a participating organisation in the National Redress Scheme and has adopted the Australian Government Grant Connected Policy. An organisation/applicant will not be eligible to receive funding if it is named by the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse on its list of “Institutions that have not joined or signified their intent to join the Scheme”
14.2 Funding Agreement
Successful applicants will enter into a Funding Agreement with Sport Australia.
Successful applicants for Stream 2 and 3 funding, NSOs and NSODs, will be required to enter a variation to their current Sport Investment Agreement with the ASC, which gives effect to this grant Program.
Successful applicants will have 30 days, from the date of a written offer, to execute a Funding Agreement with Sport Australia (‘execute’ means both the applicant and Sport Australia have signed the agreement).
The offer may lapse if the Funding Agreement is not executed within this time. In certain circumstances, Sport Australia may extend this period.
Approval of the grant funding is based on the information provided in your application. Any significant changes to those details will be reviewed to consider their potential impact on the approval.
Grant payments will not be made until an executed Funding Agreement is in place, and Sport Australia will not be responsible for any Project expenditure until this time.
Funding approval may have specific conditions that have been determined through the assessment process. Any such details will be specified in the Funding Agreement.
The timeline for conduct of the Project will be specified in the Funding Agreement. Projects can only commence after a Funding Agreement
14.3 Payment and tax obligations
The Funding Agreement will state the:
- maximum funding amount payable to the Grantee, and
- any Co-contributions applicable to the Project.
Sport Australia will not exceed the maximum funding amount under any circumstances. Any extra costs incurred will be the responsibility of the Grantee responsible for the Project.
Sport Australia will transfer all grant funding electronically in accordance with the payment arrangements set out in the Funding Agreement.
If your organisation is GST-registered, where applicable, you will be paid the approved grant amount plus GST.
Grants are assessable income for taxation purposes, unless exempted by a taxation law. We recommend you seek independent professional advice on your taxation obligations or seek assistance from the Australian Taxation Office. We do not provide advice on tax.
14.4 Program evaluation
The Grantee will be required to complete an evaluation for the funded project against its objectives and outcomes. The evaluation must include, but is not limited to:
- reach of the project including target populations
- number of participants engaged
- number of locations where the project was delivered
- key learnings
Sport Australia may use information from applications and project reports for whole of Program evaluation and promotional purposes. Sport Australia may also conduct interviews, or request information about the grant’s impact, to evaluate the Program’s effectiveness in achieving its objectives. Sport Australia may contact a Grantee after a Project is completed to assist with this evaluation.
14.5 Monitoring and compliance
Grantees are required to submit progress and financial reports in line with the Funding Agreement. Required details for reports include:
- delivery locations, including target populations, postcode and LGA, and details of any local community partnerships
- progress against agreed Project milestones
- contributions of participants directly related to the Project
- expenditure of grant funds against deliverables, and
- evaluation of Project success in supporting Australians to participate in sport and physical activity programs.
Milestones and the amount of detail required in reports will be proportionate to the project size, complexity and grant amount.
Sport Australia will monitor project progress by working closely with successful organisations, through assessing submitted reports and may also conduct site visits to confirm details as necessary. In some cases, Sport Australia may need to re-examine claims, seek further information or request an independent audit of claims and payments.
If you become aware of a breach of terms and conditions under the Funding Agreement, Sport Australia must be contacted immediately.
14.6 End of project report
End of Project report requirements will be outlined in the Funding Agreement. These requirements may include:
- an evaluation of the completed project, including the outcomes achieved
- providing evidence as specified in the Funding Agreement
- detailing total eligible expenditure incurred for the project
- acquittal of Sport Australia grant amount and expenditure against deliverables
- submission within four weeks of completing the project, and
- reporting in a format provided in the Funding Agreement.
14.7 Ad-hoc report
Ad-hoc reports may be required for the project. This may include reports to confirm progress, or to explain any significant delays or difficulties in completing the project.
14.8 Financial and audit report
Grantees may be asked to provide an independently audited financial acquittal report. A financial acquittal report will verify expenditure of the grant in accordance with the Funding Agreement.
14.9 Project variations
We understand that unexpected events may delay a project’s progress. In these circumstances, Grantees, or Sport Australia can request a project variation. Any request must be made before the end date of the Funding Agreement and should include details of:
- changed Project milestones
- extended timeframe for completion, and
- any changed Project activities.
There is no guarantee that a request for a project variation will be successful. In considering a request for variation to the Funding Agreement, Sport Australia will consider your request based on the provisions of the Funding Agreement and the likely impact on the project outcomes.
14.10 Organisation details
You must inform Sport Australia of any key changes to your organisation or its business activities, particularly if they affect the ability to complete the project, carry on business and pay debts due. This includes the following changes:
- nominated contact details
- bank account details.
14.11 Events and Program promotion
You must notify Sport Australia of any material events relating to the project and provide an opportunity for Sport Australia staff, or Government representatives to attend. These requirements will be outlined in the Funding Agreement.
Sport Australia will provide successful applicants with instructions and communications material to be used to promote the grant Program, leverage Sport Australia’s marketing activity and to promote the benefit of being physically active. This may include social media, website etc.
Grantees will also be invited to partner with Sport Australia to share insights, develop social media content and case studies to illustrate Program outcomes.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Any conflicts of interest could affect the performance of the Program. There may be a conflict of interest, or perceived conflict of interest, if Sport Australia staff, any member of the Moderation Panel, a committee or advisor, and/or you or any of your personnel, for example:
- has a professional, commercial or personal relationship with a party who is able to influence the application selection process, such as a Sport Australia officer, or a member of an external panel
- has a relationship with, or interest in, an organisation which is likely to interfere with or restrict the applicants from carrying out the proposed activities fairly and independently or
- has a relationship with, or interest in, an organisation from which they will receive personal gain because the organisation receives a grant under the Program.
You will be asked to declare, as part of your application, any perceived or existing conflicts of interests or that, to the best of your knowledge, there is no conflict of interest.
If you later identify an actual, apparent, or potential conflict of interest, Sport Australia must be informed in writing immediately.
Conflicts of interest for Sport Australia staff will be handled in accordance with Sport Australia’s Conflict of Interest Policy. Moderation Panel members will also be required to declare any conflict of interest.
HOW SPORT AUSTRALIA WILL USE YOUR INFORMATION
Sport Australia may share your information with other government agencies for a relevant Australian Government purpose such as:
- to improve the effective administration, monitoring and evaluation of Australian Government programs
- for research, and
- to announce grant recipients.
16.1 Treatment of confidential information
Sport Australia will treat the information provided by applicants as confidential if it meets all of the three conditions below:
- is clearly identified as confidential with an explanation as to why it should be treated as confidential
- the information is commercially sensitive, and
- disclosing the information would cause unreasonable harm to you or someone else.
16.2 When we may disclose confidential information
Sport Australia may disclose confidential information to:
- the Moderation Panel, Sport Australia’s Board and our employees and contractors (and to other Commonwealth employees and contractors as required) to help us manage the Program effectively
- Sport Australia’s Board and our employees and contractors (and to other Commonwealth employees and contractors as required) so we can research, assess, monitor and analyse our programs and activities
- the Minister for Sport
- the Auditor-General, Ombudsman or Privacy Commissioner, and
- a House or Committee of the Australian Parliament.
Sport Australia may also disclose confidential information if required or authorised by law, or if someone other than Sport Australia has made the confidential information public.
16.3 Personal information
Sport Australia must treat your personal information according to the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) and the Privacy Act 1988. This includes informing you:
- what personal information Sport Australia collects
- why Sport Australia collects your personal information, and
- who Sport Australia may give your personal information to.
Sport Australia may give personal information collected, to our Board, employees and contractors, the Moderation Panel, and other Commonwealth employees and contractors as required, so we can:
- manage the Program, and
- research, assess, monitor and analyse our programs and activities.
Sport Australia may also:
- announce the names of successful applicants to the public, and
- publish personal information on Sport Australia’s website.
Effective disclosure and reporting of administered grants is essential for public accountability. Sport Australia publishes grant recipients and funding details on its website.
16.5 Freedom of information
All documents in the possession of the Australian Government, including those about this grant opportunity, are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).
The purpose of the FOI Act is to give members of the public rights of access to information held by the Australian Government and its entities. Under the FOI Act, members of the public can seek access to documents held by the Australian Government. This right of access is limited only by the exceptions and exemptions necessary to protect essential public interests and private and business affairs of persons in respect of whom the information relates.
All FOI requests must be referred to the Sport Australia FOI Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sport Australia’s approval is required prior to public announcements around funding. If you make a public statement about a Project funded under the Program, we require you, at a minimum, to acknowledge the grant by using the following:
‘This project received grant funding from the Australian Government through Sport Australia.’
This may also include the use of Commonwealth Government approved signage. These details will be outlined in the Funding Agreement.
ENQUIRIES AND FEEDBACK
For further information or clarification on the assessment process, including your application status and outcome you can contact email@example.com or through our website www.sportaus.gov.au.
We may publish answers to your questions on our website as Frequently Asked Questions.
Any complaints can be lodged using the Sport Australia complaints form on our website www.sportaus.gov.au/complaints.
APPENDIX A: DEFINITIONS OF KEY TERMS
|Australia||All states and territories within Australia.|
|Co-contributions||A co-contribution is a cash or in-kind contribution provided by the Grantee.|
|Eligible projects and activities||The activities undertaken by a Grantee in relation to a Project that are eligible for funding support.|
|Eligible applications||An application for grant funding under the Program that meets the eligibility requirements specified in these Guidelines.|
|For-profit organisation||A business or other organisation which aims to earn profit through its operations and is concerned with its own interests.|
|Funding Agreement||A legally binding contract between Sport Australia and a Grantee for grant funding.|
|Grant Approver||The Australian Sports Commission Board|
|Grantee||An applicant that has been offered grant funding and executed a Funding Agreement with Sport Australia in relation to the Program.|
|Guidelines||Means these guidelines to provide the framework for the administration of the Program.|
|Local Club||An organisation that delivers sport and recreation activities to the community and is not considered the National, State or Regional Sporting Organisation or Industry Representative Organisation/Peak Body for the activity.|
|Local Government Area (LGA)||An administrative division of a State or Territory that a Local Government is responsible for.|
|Member Associations and/ or partnerships||An organisation that has a formal relationship with the Primary applicant, through written agreement to support the provision of sport and physical activity.|
|Moderation Panel||Sport Australia will establish an industry panel of members with subject matter expertise, which will include independent technical experts as well as Sport Australia staff, to assess applications.|
|National/Peak body||Organisation that has the purpose of delivering or supporting the provision of sport and or physical activity articulated in the objects of its constitution.|
|Not for profit (NFP)||Organisations that provide services to the community and do not operate to make a profit, personal gain or other benefit of particular people.|
|Non-Government Organisation (NGO)||An organisation which is neither a government department nor a business operating for profit|
|Partner organisation||Organisation that supports the Grantee on delivering Project outcomes.|
|Personal information||Has the same meaning as in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).|
|Physical activity||Any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure and produces progressive health benefits|
|Primary grant applicant||An entity that has submitted a grant application and meets the Program grant eligibility criteria.|
|Program||Sport Australia Participation Grant Program|
|Program funds||The funding made available by Sport Australia for the Program in any given financial year, subject to the receiving those funds from the Australian Government for the purpose of the Program.|
|Project||A project described in an application for grant funding|
|Project location||Where the Project is undertaken|
|Project period||The time between the Project start date and Project end date as detailed in the Funding Agreement.|
|Regional||A rural or remote area outside of Australia’s major cities.|
|Regional or State/ Territory Association||Regional or State/Territory Association that provides support and development opportunities to local clubs. This includes State Sporting Organisations affiliated with a National Sporting Organisation and Regional Sporting Associations.|
|Sport Australia||Australian Sports Commission|
|Vulnerable person(s)||a Child or Children; or an individual aged 18 years and above who is or may be unable to take care of themselves, or is unable to protect themselves against harm or exploitation by reason of age, illness, trauma or disability, or any other reason. (Department of Social Services)|