2.6.5 CCS - requirements relating to CWA
The establishment and maintenance of CWA (1.1.C.52) between approved providers (1.1.A.90) and individuals (1.1.I.90) is central to determining the individuals' eligibility for CCS. While approved providers and individuals may choose to enter into other types of arrangement for the care of a child, CCS can only be paid for care provided under a CWA.
One of the core eligibility requirements (2.6.1) for CCS is that the individual, or their partner (1.1.P.30), must have incurred a liability to pay for sessions of care (1.1.S.40) under a CWA. The requirement for CWA to be 'in writing' ensures that the basic details about an enrolment (1.1.E.25) are recorded and agreed upon, and assist in establishing an individual's liability to pay for child care.
In addition, for the purposes of CCS and ACCS, a child starts to be enrolled when an approved provider and an individual (or their partner) enter into a CWA.
Information required in a CWA
A CWA must include the following:
- the names and contact details of the provider and the individual/s,
- the date that the arrangement starts (which is the date the child starts to be enrolled),
- the name and DOB of the child (or children),
- if care will be provided on a routine basis, and if so:
- details about the days on which sessions of care will usually be provided, and
- the usual start and end times for these sessions of care,
- whether care may be provided on a casual or flexible basis (in addition to, or instead of, a routine basis),
- details of fees to be charged under the arrangement (this can be by reference to a fee schedule or information available on the approved provider's website maintained by the provider), that the parties understand may vary from time to time.
These are minimum requirements only - approved providers may include any additional information as appropriate.
A CWA can cover more than 1 child if multiple children in a family will attend a child care service (1.1.A.90), although the provider must submit a separate enrolment notice for each child.
Format of a CWA
A CWA must be in writing, which includes either hardcopy (paper) or electronic form.
A CWA is a contract between an approved provider and an individual. Approved providers are not required to submit a CWA to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment or Centrelink unless it is specifically requested under information gathering powers. However, providers are required to submit an enrolment notice for each child that starts to be enrolled under a CWA, including relevant details about the terms of the arrangement, which the individual will be asked to confirm (18.104.22.168).
There is also no requirement or expectation that a CWA must be established separately to the enrolment form or other process that an approved provider would normally use to enrol a child (as long as the process meets the requirements for a CWA).
Where more than 1 individual enters into a CWA
It is possible for 1 member of a couple (1.1.M.50) to incur the liability for child care fees by enrolling the child under a CWA, and the other member of the couple to make the claim (1.1.C.27) for CCS in respect of the child. In this case, the member of the couple who makes the claim can be eligible for CCS (even though they have not entered into a CWA), as in order to be eligible for CCS, the individual or the individual's partner must have incurred a liability to pay for sessions of care under a CWA.
It is also possible that both members of a couple may enter into a CWA with the approved provider (i.e. both parents names are recorded in the CWA).
In both scenarios described above, when creating the enrolment for the child, the approved provider is required to submit the details of the parent who is the CCS claimant (as only 1 member of a couple can make a claim for CCS in respect of the same child).
Updates to CWA
An approved provider must vary a CWA in writing (including electronically), if the variation has the effect that information in the corresponding enrolment notice becomes incorrect.
Where a detail in an arrangement between an approved provider and an individual changes (whether or not that detail is required in a CWA), resulting in the details in the enrolment notice no longer reflecting the CWA, then both the arrangement between the provider and individual, and the enrolment notice, should be updated.
Importantly, it is intended that updating will only be required where there are ongoing and significant departures from the terms of an original agreement. In particular, where an approved provider and individual agree that certain details (such as routine sessions or usual fees) may vary within an agreed scope, the provider would not need to update the CWA where variations to the care arrangements occur within that agreed scope.
For example, it is anticipated that it may be common for approved providers and individuals to, in addition to agreeing on some routine days and times, also agree that care can be provided on other days and times, depending on the needs of the family and availability of places (which it is understood may fluctuate over time). Use of additional care in this circumstance would not require an update to the CWA under FA(Admin)Act section 200C, or an enrolment update notice under FA(Admin)Act section 200D, as it is within the agreed scope of variation, and does not reflect a significant and ongoing departure from the original arrangement.
In contrast, where an individual, for example, made a permanent change from part-time to fulltime work and changes their child's routine sessions of care accordingly, the provider would need to update the CWA and enrolment notice.
Individuals will be notified (22.214.171.124) when an approved provider updates an enrolment notice.
Act reference: FAAct section 85BA(1) Eligibility for CCS
FA(Admin)Act section 200B When a child is enrolled, section 200C Variation of complying written arrangements, section 200D Updates in relation to enrolled children
CCSSecRules section 9 Requirements for complying written arrangements
Policy reference: FA Guide 2.6.1 CCS eligibility