There are proposed changes to government regulations in regards to Parent Club financial arrangements and fundraising rules. Parents Victoria is concerned about the impacts of these proposed changes on Parent Clubs. We are also concerned that our position has been misrepresented in the media.
The Department of Education released on 21 December 2016 the proposed Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017 for public feedback by 28 February 2017 before the current 2007 Regulations sunset on 26 June 2017.
The current situation
Irrespective of what you read in the Regulatory Impact Statement on DET's website or any media commentary, the current Regulations 2007 require all Parent Clubs (regardless if they are operating under a School Official Account (Option A) or a Separate Bank Account (Option B) to have their financial details recorded on DET's CASES21 system). Note the Principal must co-sign any payments from a separate account if the Club has one (Option B). Refer to the current version of the DET Finance Manual (Section 11, page 14).
An ongoing problem
It has been evident to Parents Victoria (PV) and our Clubs for a number of years now that Principals and School Councils are not fully informed or trained in their roles and responsibilities pertaining to the rules associated with School Community Associations (Parent Clubs). PV has also been contacted over the last eighteen months by various Schools and Clubs (operating as Option A) with operational concerns.
These approaches have related to the frequency and timing of Financial Reporting to Clubs for meetings and the expenditure of raised funds by persons outside of the parent club and without school council permission. For any Parent Clubs/Associations confused about what the current rules are, please note nothing has changed. If your club wishes to be constituted as an Option B club, it still can.If you are making a submission to the consultation please feel comfortable in sending us a copy for our information.
Want to know more?
If you have further questions we welcome you to make contact by emailing the Parents Victoria Office.
In the media
Parents Victoria also advises that some of the comments attributed to Gail McHardy, Executive Officer, Parents Victoria in the Herald Sun article on 3/1/17 "School fundraising: Money raised by parents subject to greater scrutiny under proposed overhaul" were horribly misrepresented.
What we really said
The following are Parents Victoria's comments supplied to the Herald Sun on 3 January 2017
"Since early 1900s Parent Clubs have provided an organised avenue through which parents have contributed their time, labour and material resources to improve Victorian Government Schools. The current Education Regulations (2007) permits a Parent Club to raise funds for school-related purposes subject to approval by the school council.According to the latest Governmentt information there are approximately 540 parents' clubs in Victoria, which represent about one third of Victorian Government schools. Collectively, these clubs raised an estimated $7 million in 2015. PVs expectation as per the current Regulations (2007) and DETs own policy is that all Parent Clubs in fact have the right to decide how their raised funds are spent with the approval of school council.
"The Department is looking to remove the Option B (Separate Bank Account) under the proposed amendments claiming it will remove risk and tighten financial oversight. Yet PV is aware of existing Clubs operating under Option A presently where the Principal expended funds without Parent Club knowledge, consent or School Council approval process. According to the current rules, it is clear that Option B does not allow Parent Clubs to raise or expend publicly raised funds without school council approval. PV already sees this matter dividing communities with a club recently informing Parents Victoria that they consider the Principal's/school's spending of locally raised funds without consultation, as theft.
"Government/DET need to be acknowledging, valuing, thanking and assisting parents in this role. Schools stand to lose many dollars if Government makes it more difficult to operate and/or portrays that parent clubs are not to be trusted! The draft of the Education Regulations does nothing more to ensure compliance with process going forward. It removes an option which some parent clubs see as "their only protection" or mechanism to have a say in the spending of locally raised funds."
Parents Victoria believes that with better training and communication there would be less cases of locally raised funds being spent without school council permission and parent club knowledge.