The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has today officially announced that non-government schools will not have to directly provide any financial information to the ACNC for the 2014 and 2015 reporting periods. The ACNC will instead extract the relevant data from Department of Education and Training Financial Questionnaires.

ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM made the announcement at the Association of Independent Schools New South Wales (AISNSW) Governance Symposium and said this arrangement applies to the 2014 and 2015 reporting periods, but the ACNC intends to pursue longer term arrangements.

“As Commissioner, I intend to seek amendment to the ACNC Regulation to extend the transitional period to continue this arrangement while we work towards a long-term streamlined reporting solution for this highly regulated sector,” Ms Pascoe said.

Non-government schools currently benefit from transitional arrangements allowing the ACNC to accept the financial reports they already provide to the Department of Education and Training. However today’s announcement means this arrangement will extend to non-government schools not being required to complete the financial questions in the 2014 and 2015 Annual Information Statements.

“We will continue to consult with the Independent Schools Council of Australia and other state and territory bodies, with the intention to implement longer term data sharing arrangements with the Department of Education and Training,” Ms Pascoe said.

Ms Pascoe who has a professional background in education, previously serving as President of the Australian College of Educators, Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and Chief Executive of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria, said she knew firsthand the reporting burdens faced by non-government schools.

“The ACNC is committed to streamlining reporting processes for non-government schools,” Ms Pascoe said.

“In 2013, the ACNC worked with the Department of Education and peak bodies to progress this work through the dedicated Non-government Schools Streamlined Reporting Working Party.

“This group was suspended in 2014 owing to uncertainty about the ACNC’s future. However, we have since maintained regular contact with the Independent Schools Council of Australia and other sector representatives. I am pleased to announce that we are now reconvening focused discussions with the Department of Education and Training and these sector bodies to implement long-term streamlined reporting arrangements.

“One of the objects of the ACNC Act is to contribute to the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations on the sector.

“The ACNC’s approach to red-tape reduction is two-fold: minimising our own regulatory requirements to those necessary to promote public trust and confidence in the sector and to support a robust and innovative sector; and working with other agencies to reduce unnecessary or duplicative administrative requirements imposed on the sector under the principle of ‘report once, use often.

“Today’s announcement is a reflection of this approach," Ms Pascoe said.


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