ACA NSW issues warning about digital sign in
Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) NSW have this morning issued a warning to their membership, clarifying obligations around the electronic data provision of sign in/sign out information for all children accessing subsided care under the child care subsidy (CCS) system
The announcement is a measure to clarify a common misunderstanding, ACA NSW said, stating ‘this legal obligation on all approved providers impacts CCSS software providers to provide sign-in/sign-out (ie attendance) information electronically to the Federal Department of Education and Training. This same legal obligation therefore does NOT require all approved providers to have an electronic sign-in/sign-out system.’
In relation to reporting actual attendance times in session reports, the above is supported by the legislative obligation via Section 204B(2) of the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999 (vol 2) which sets out the requirement to report about children for whom care is provided for each week in which a session of care is provided.
ACA NSW warned its members that the combination of the two pieces legislation above creates a legal obligation for all service providers to provide such sign-in/sign-out (ie attendance) information in a form and manner required by the Secretary of the Federal Department of Education (and any other information required by the Secretary) via their Federal Government registered third party Child Care software (see https://docs.education.gov.au/node/3300) from 14 January 2019 onwards.
Should services not provide the Department of Education with the required electronic data, ACA NSW said, they may be in breach of their legal requirements under Section 204B and be risking CCS amounts for parents not being given to the service provider.
ACA NSW cautioned that for larger services who have not automated the data collection of their children’s attendances (ie sign-in/sign-out information), this new obligation from 14 January 2019 onwards may also cause a problem from a data entry perspective, before emphasising that the challenges of the data entry process did not constitute a legal obligation to automate the sign in/sign out process.
The national ACA body is lobbying the Federal Government, asking for a delay in the introduction of the requirements discussed above for at least another six months, until there is an overt guarantee that all CCS software providers have the capability of transmitting sign in/sign out data to the relevant department.
In the meantime, ACA NSW will be asking for:
- a guarantee from all CCS software providers that they will be able to deliver the above information to the Federal Government “in a form and manner approved by the Secretary” beginning 14 January 2019;
- a guarantee from all CCS software providers that they have effective solutions for their customers’ data entering attendance information for all their children; and
- a guarantee from the Federal Government and Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan that service providers will not be prosecuted for the inabilities/failure of their CCS software provider who appear to have passed the Federal Government’s tests in order to be registered as a listed CCSS software provider (see https://docs.education.gov.au/node/3300).
ACA NSW declared they will publish the responses from all CCS software providers and the Federal Government.
Further information and clarification for ACA NSW members is available by contacting 1300 556 330 or [email protected].
For non ACA NSW members, the Federal Department of Education’s Child Care Subsidy System Helpdesk can be contacted via 1300 667 276.