Currawong Childcare Centre Allocation Policy

January 2012

1. The Currawong Childcare Centre (Currawong) is an employer-sponsored long day childcare centre, run primarily for the benefit of employees of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Therefore, in accordance with the Priority of Access Guidelines, as set out in the Child Care Benefit (Eligibility of Child Care Services for Approval and Continued Approval) Determination 2000, first priority in the allocation of places is given to DFAT employees.

2. To be eligible to be allocated a place in Currawong, a DFAT employee or other person must complete an application for Currawong's external waiting list. In order to make the management of the allocation policy transparent, a points system is used to determine the ranking of applicants on the external waiting list. All applicants are awarded points for each priority criterion they meet. Applicants are then given a cumulative score and ranked according to that score. The applicant with the highest score will be ranked first, the applicant with the second highest score will be ranked second, and so on. When a childcare place becomes available, the applicant ranked first will be offered any available place first. The person ranked second will be offered the next available place, and so on, until all available places are filled. In cases where two or more applicants have the same rank, the place will be offered to the applicant whose application was registered first by the director of the centre.

3. The points system is as follows:

Priority Criterion Points
At least one parent/legal guardian is an ongoing DFAT employee 40
A DFAT family already has a child in the centre 20
Number of months on the waiting list (points accrue for each month) 2

4. To ensure prompt offer of places to those who require them, Currawong will deduct points from families on the waiting list who decline an offer of placement without having notified the centre of their new requirements. The following point deduction system will apply:

5. Points will not be deducted if a staff member rejects an offer of placement for an earlier than a preferred date.

6. In order to support DFAT employees who are asked to return to Canberra from an overseas post or state office at the department's initiative, and at short notice, to meet the DFAT's operational requirements, the allocation policy will accord an additional priority to meet the childcare needs of these employees.

7. An application must include details of the child's date of birth, an estimated date of birth, or proof of authorisation to adopt. The director of Currawong will update the waiting list at least every three months. An applicant on the waiting list who is no longer pregnant, or who no longer has a child to enrol in Currawong, forfeits the place on the waiting list but can reapply in accordance with this policy.

8. Applicants are required to re-confirm their application every 6 months and/or when their details change. Failure to do so may result in your application being removed from the waiting list.

9. Applications from persons who are not DFAT employees will be considered only after demand for places in the centre from departmental employees have been met. Any places offered to non-DFAT applicants (including contractors engaged by DFAT) will be of limited duration. Places will be available until 31 December in the year they are offered and will then be subject to review and possible withdrawal should they be required by DFAT applicants.

10. The Director of the Currawong Childcare Centre will offer a childcare place to an applicant by telephone or email, and will check to ensure the message is received without delay. If there is no sign that the message has been received, Currawong will contact the applicant by other means. DFAT will assist if necessary. Applicants are requested to respond, if possible, within 24 hours of receiving an offer. If they need more time to consider the offer, they must seek an extension from the centre director. If no prior arrangement has been agreed for a late response, offers will be deemed lapsed 72 hours after receipt.

11. An applicant who does not receive the full number of days originally requested will go on a separate internal waiting list as of the date of registration of the original application. Priority for this list will be in accordance with the order of the date of application for the days sought. When days become available, they will be offered to DFAT applicants first. DFAT applicants whose childcare needs change after the original acceptance of a childcare place will be placed on the separate internal waiting list as of the day they notified the centre of their new care requirements. Priority will be in accordance with the date of application for the new care requirements.

12. In cases where a DFAT employee with a child/children in the centre permanently separates from the department, s/he will be required to withdraw the child/ren enrolled at the centre. This should occur no later than 31 December in the year the parent separates from the department, if places are required by DFAT applicants on the waiting list.

13. To facilitate management of the waiting list, DFAT parents posted or transferred to a location outside Canberra must notify the Currawong director of their intended departure date as soon as possible.

14. In the first instance, the director of the centre is responsible for resolving any dispute that may arise in relation to the implementation of the allocation policy and other issues relating to placements in the childcare centre. Where disputes cannot be resolved by the Director of the centre, and in any instance where parental behaviour undermines the positive caring environment of Currawong, the issue will be referred to the Assistant Secretary, Remuneration and Post Management Branch, for consideration and decision. The DFAT Contract Manager will monitor the day-to-day management of the waiting list in accordance with the contract.