To inform child protection workers of the process for incidental ‘one off’ costs and recurrent costs for the provision of goods or services, particularly in relation to a child in the care of the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Communities. This process includes accessing the Contract Tracking System (CTS) portal to generate contracts under $50,000.
Case support costs are provided to support children in the CEO’s care and their carers. To access case support costs for a child in the CEO’s care, the child must have a case plan and a provisional care plan or care plan.
Case support costs are also provided to families to prevent children from coming into care through Intensive Family Support. To access case support costs through Intensive Family Support the child must have a case plan.
It may be appropriate to provide establishment costs when a child is initially placed with a carer when essential items need to be purchased (i.e. beds, bedding, toys etc). This is determined on a case by case basis, and may be influenced by whether a family has immediate access to subsidy payments.
When requesting funds for establishment costs, an accurate cost estimate and clear justification for the funding must be submitted to team leaders through the funding component in Assist.
Child protection workers should not make any commitments to carers or suppliers by assuring them of payment for an item. Carers should also be advised not to make such commitments. A commitment for payment for goods can only be made to a supplier when electronic or written approval is received.
When planning case support costs, child protection workers should be aware of the reciprocal arrangements existing with other government departments, and of relevant Commonwealth allowances and benefits, and access these whenever eligibility or entitlement exists.
Refer to the Centrelink website at www.centrelink.gov.au for information on Centrelink benefits.
Each district is provided with a budget for costs at the beginning of the financial year. District directors allocate this budget to their team leaders and monitor expenditure on a regular basis.
District directors should set appropriate expenditure limits for their team leaders and other senior staff who approve client expenditure. Adherence to these limits and management of the client costs budget must be reviewed in each supervision session between district directors and team leaders.
All children must have a case plan. Depending on the value of the expenditure, funding is approved by a team leader, an assistant district director, or a district director in the funding component in Assist. Children with high funding costs must be identified early in the financial year and, if the level of expenditure is likely to exceed the district’s budget, prepare a Special Purpose Funding Submission - for more information please refer to Chapter 3.5: Case management costs - special purpose funding: major, extraordinary and capital costs.
Case support costs expenditure must be reviewed at each district management team meeting. If over-expenditure occurs, strategies to manage the district's budget need to be discussed with the relevant executive director.
The delegated approval levels for case support costs per item of expenditure per child are:
Approval for funding is sought through the funding component in Assist. Staff with delegated approval for case support costs must review the specific funding items to verify that they have the required level of delegation approval to approve the funds.
Child protection workers may meet emergency, unplanned expenditures of up to $50 per transaction from petty cash (up to $100 per quarter per child). While carers should be encouraged and reminded that they should only make unplanned and emergency expenditures without prior approval in exceptional situations, this delegation allows child protection workers to reimburse carers immediately on presentation of receipts. Alternatively, the delegation may be used to provide for minor costs in advance for a child (for example, costs of unplanned school excursions or outings).
If the money is paid directly to a child in the CEOs care, the child must sign the petty cash sheet as proof that they have received the money. This delegation does not extend to normal, ongoing and predictable costs; these should be planned for and approved in advance.
When carers purchase small items or services in emergencies without prior approval, child protection workers should check the following before reimbursing minor expenses:
To recoup GST:
Child protection workers must inform carers about these requirements, and that in all cases, the receipt must show the amount of GST paid.
Child protection workers must:
Refer to Chapter 3.2: Interstate and overseas travel.
Child protection workers must apply for miscellaneous expenditure in advance. All purchases must comply with the purchasing requirements outlined in the Administration Manual.
When a business with an Australian Business Number (ABN) provides goods or services, place the order and arrange payment. If required, send an email with the relevant details to the supplier to confirm the order.
Service provision over a period of time with periodic tax invoices
Before any requests can be made for services that will occur over a period of time and involving a number of recurring tax invoices (for example, ongoing orthodontic treatment), child protection workers must:
If the type of service involves a contractor such as a clinical psychologist, child protection workers must complete Form 665 Psychology Services Referral - Intervention or Therapy and forward it to the Chief Psychologist for quality assurance and endorsement. For more information refer to the related resource Psychology Services - Approved Private Practitioners, and Chapter 4.2: Engaging with private practitioners for treatment/therapeutic services.
Payments for Services
The Western Australian Government’s preferred method of payment is through Government Purchasing Card (GPC).
When a child's case plan indicates that goods or services should be ordered, the process depends on the payment type:
Government Purchasing Card (GPC) or Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
Child protection workers must check that all tax invoices and receipts are in the Department of Communities' name, not in a carer's or child's name, and that the child's name is noted on that document for accounting purposes.
MasterCard Prepaid Card
Department officers must not use the Prepaid MasterCard for purchasing except in the limited circumstances set out below. Within these circumstances, where child protection workers (CPWs) and other Department officers use a Prepaid MasterCard on behalf of a client, they must:
Other payment types
Other payment types available include: petty cash, corporate travel, and cabcharge. These payment methods can be used in instances where GPC, EFT or MasterCard Prepaid may not be appropriate.
Exceptional use by Department officers:
There are limited exceptional circumstances where the Prepaid MasterCard may be used by CPWs and other Department officers to make purchases on behalf of clients. Before using this payment option, all other options must be explored, for example, EFT or GPC to determine that there are no other payment options available.
Examples of exceptional circumstances:
Process for exceptional use:
In other cases, such as mentoring, child minding, tutoring etc., a Contract For Services should be initiated. This sets out the agreed arrangement between the Contractor and Communities in terms of:
The Contract for Services can be for a one off provision of service or for services provided over a period of time for contracts under $50,000. For contracts valued at $50,000 and over please contact the Procurement Services Team by phone or email: ProcurementServices.Team@cpfs.wa.gov.au.
Contract Tracking System portal
To generate contracts for services under $50,000, staff (child protection workers, education officers, etc.) need to access the Contract for Service System portal.
Contractors must provide invoices for payment for services. On receipt of an invoice, payment is initiated via Assist Payment Authorisation Form – EFT Payment Type from approved funds.
Services for extracurricular (e.g. driving lessons etc.) do not require a contract for services to be completed.
Where a community sector agency has funding for case support costs, this funding is for each placement (not each child) for that year. All case support costs should be negotiated and reflected in a child’s case plan. Child protection workers and community sector agency case workers should regularly plan and review the case support costs against the child’s case plan.
When a community sector agency case worker or child protection worker identify high costs needs where the level of expenditure is likely to exceed the community sector agency’s budget, case support costs must be reviewed and assessed to determine if a Special Purpose Funding Submission should be prepared - refer to Chapter 3.5: Case management costs - special purpose funding: major, extraordinary and capital costs for details.
Provision of additional case support costs from a district’s budget to support the community sector agency’s funded placement is at the district director’s prerogative. A community sector agency cannot commit to any additional costs without consultation with the child protection worker.