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Reporting sessions of care

Why is accurate reporting important?

It is vital that a provider submits accurate session reports on time. This enables the Commonwealth to correctly calculate of the amount of Child Care Subsidy or Additional Child Care Subsidy (if any) that is payable for care provided to a child.

Inaccurate reports can result in incorrect Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy and affect the eligible individuals and children to whom the care relates. Further, under Family Assistance Law, a person may commit an offence and is liable for a civil penalty if a session report is not submitted within the required timeframe (see below) and containing the required information (see Table 7 below), including information needed to determine whether an individual is eligible for, or entitled to be paid, Child Care Subsidy or Additional Child Care Subsidy and, if so, the amount.

How is a session report submitted?

Sessions of care are reported through a provider’s child care software or the PEP. Child Care Subsidy cannot be paid until a session report is received.

A session report must be submitted for each child for each week a session of care has been provided (including absences). It must contain at least one session of care for a week, recorded as either an attendance or absence. It must only include sessions of care for which an individual incurred a genuine fee liability.

Session reports must be accurate. If the Department of Human Services has concerns about the accuracy of session reports, it can stop processing payments until the information has been verified.

When are session reports submitted?

Session reports must be submitted within 14 days after the end of the week when the sessions were provided, except where:

  • a provider or service was not yet approved, or was suspended, on the day the child’s enrolment started. In this case the session report must be provided within seven days after the end of the week in which the approval was provided or the suspension was revoked
  • a provider has received business continuity payments because it is unable to provide session reports (such as because its system access is down). In this case, session reports must be submitted within 14 days after it becomes able to submit reports again.

What information is in a session report?

Session reports need to be provided for each child for each week that care is provided and need to include the details summarised in Table 7.

Table 7: Issues addressed and details of information required in the weekly session report

Issue

Details

Type of report

Can be:

  • initial report
  • variation (change) to a report, or
  • withdrawal of a report.

Dates

Start and end dates of the week the report covers.

Session details

Include:

  • date
  • session start and finish times.

Attendance times

Child’s actual in and out attendance times must be reported for each session of care (except where an absence is reported).

Absences

Include:

  • notification of absences (if applicable)
  • a reason for any additional absence (where child has used more than 42 absence days in a financial year).

Actual fee charged

The actual fee charged must reflect the amount the parent was liable to pay for the session of care.

Where the parent directly benefits from another subsidy or discount that reduces their fee liability for the session (that the provider knows of), the amount in this field must reflect the remaining amount after the other subsidy or discount has been applied.

Likewise, if the parent is not liable to pay the whole fee charged for the session (because a third party has accepted liability to pay some of the fee), this field must only reflect the portion that the parent is liable for.

Other subsidies paid to the provider to reduce the individual’s fee liability

Where the actual fee charged for the session was reduced by the amount of another subsidy that the parent directly benefited from (for example, employer contribution to parent’s child care fees):

  • must indicate—yes/no.
  • If ‘yes’:
    • name of the other subsidy payer
    • other subsidy amount—hourly or session amount.

Family Day Care and In Home Care

Educator—child care personnel ID.

Preschool

Whether the session was part of an early education program.

How is a session report varied?

If the provider realises a session report was incorrect or did not need to be submitted (for example, because no care was provided to a child in that week), it can vary or withdraw the report up until 28 days after the start of the week to which the report relates (or until the end of the financial year if that occurs sooner).

If a provider needs to withdraw or change a session report after the 28-day limit, it will need to provide a reason for the late change or withdrawal for assessment by the Department of Education.

The following reasons can be entered into the system for a variation or withdrawal of a session report:

  • Administrative error—use where there was a mistake made in the original session report; for example, an incorrect session start time.
  • Responding to carer’s dispute—use where a parent has disputed a session report.
  • General amendment—use where changes are being made before Sunday night of the session report week, before the report has been processed and Child Care Subsidy has been paid (for example, the child attends another session after report is submitted).
  • Responding to 204C—only use where a 204C (compliance) notice has been issued requiring the provider to make a change to a session report.

Where a parent has not given the provider the correct Customer Reference Number of the parent who has made the claim for Child Care Subsidy, administrative error is the appropriate reason for the withdrawal of the incorrect session reports. This reason may apply to a wide range of circumstances and does not necessarily mean the provider is at fault.

If the Department of Education considers that a detail contained in a session report submitted by a provider might not be accurate, the department may require the provider to withdraw the report, vary it so that it becomes accurate or substitute it with an accurate report. The provider must do this within 14 days of the notice.