Contractor Information Sessions

Frequently Asked Questions

These questions encompass those commonly asked at the Contractor Information Sessions conducted at Hurstville, Penrith, Parramatta, Bathurst, Wollongong, Newcastle and online via zoom.

How many students should an ATSO support on a run?

Depending on risk assessments, ATSOs are assigned to individual students on a run however in some instances, if there are multiple students requiring an ATSO on a run, the ATSO resource is shared across these students and only one ATSO is assigned per run. It is generally not viable to have more than one ATSO on a run.

How are ATSO hours calculated/are ATSOs paid for their travel time to meet the vehicle?

ATSOs are paid from the time they board the Contractor’s vehicle until the time they disembark the Contractor’s vehicle. Travel time to meet the vehicle is not included.

How long until ATSO pay rates are reviewed?

As temporary employees, ATSO remuneration and other conditions of employment are made in accordance with the Crown Employees (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Award 2009, or successor instrument, and Determination 3 of 2012. Any changes to this award and/or the associated conditions are subject to regular government processes to consider (and outside the delegation of the ASTP).

We are, however working with the NSW Department of Education’s Industrial Relations directorate to determine future state options for employing ATSOs. On 20 July 2023, the NSW Industrial Relations Commission varied the Crown Employees (Public Sector – Salaries 2022) Award.

This variation provides the following increase for the 2023/2024 financial year:

  • 4.0% increase to salaries and salary related allowances
  • 0.5% increase to the Superannuation Guarantee Contribution.

ATSO pay rates are currently being reviewed as at August in line with the National Wage Review. Information will be released by the Industrial Relations directorate in due course.

How often is the STT list updated?

ASTP reviews STT lists each term, however, these lists are updated every week and are sent to those Contractors who have ATSOs on their run. We ask that in order to maximise list currency, Contractors advise ASTP of any changes to the listing in the event the ATSO has not informed the ASTP directly.

Can an ATSO discriminate on which run they attend depending on whether there is a male/female driver?

LTT ATSOs are appointed by ASTP to support individual students. Only ATSOs who have signed a letter of offer will be assigned to a run. Further ATSOs must comply with the NSW Department of Education’s Code of Conduct.

What is a reasonable timeline for submitting an ATSO application and receiving approval for them to work?

The current application timeline for onboarding new ATSOs is dependent upon several external factors including training, Probity and Police checks. Upon receipt of a correctly completed application, processing turnaround should occur within 10-15 working days.

Why are ATSOs contracted from term to term?

ATSOs are temporary employees of the Department of Education who are offered work when work is available. Due to the nature of the work, ATSOs are not employed over the school holiday period, hence, a break in their engagement.

How can a Contractor advise if they feel a student no longer requires an ATSO?

Decisions on whether ATSOs continue to be required on runs are made by schools, in conjunction with families. Contractors are welcome to discuss any issues with ASTP, should they feel the need, and ASTP may then follow up.

Is there a difference in the hourly rate of a medically trained ATSO?

Medical and behaviour ATSOs are paid at the same rate.

Are masks and COVID-19 vaccinations still required for ATSOs and drivers?

Yes, this is a NSW Department of Education requirement on advice provided by NSW Health. Vaccination (minimum two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine) and mask wearing (in and around all ASTP vehicles) requirements continue to remain in place. This position is maintained to support our most vulnerable students.

Will the app be accessible to relief drivers or drivers that share a run?

Yes, this will be part of the progressive uplift of the platform as it develops.

When will Contractors be given access to the app?

It is envisaged that Contractors will be given access to a dashboard as part of the next stage of the mobile phone platform development.

Once updated, will Contractor access be included in Contractor Online?

This is currently being discussed between ASTP and the mobile phone app developer.

In the meantime, can Contractors be given a dummy account so that they can train their drivers in using the app?

At this stage this is not possible. A Contractor could, however, be set up as a driver on a run to gain access. In addition, the ASTP has developed detailed user guides and videos to support training in the use of the Mobile App see https://education.nsw.gov.au/public-schools/astp/contractors/astp-mobile-app-for-drivers

Can the app be used while the vehicle is running?

The legal use of the mobile phone app is governed by NSW road traffic laws. It is the responsibility of all drivers to ensure that they are abiding by these laws when using the app.

What happens if a driver does not have a mobile phone capable of using the app?

This is a matter for the Contractor to manage, in line with their contractual obligations in providing ASTP services.

How much extra time will it take to use the app each day?

The app is extremely user-friendly, and the time involved is negligible.

What happens if the driver forgets to use the app?

This is a matter for the Contractor to manage, in line with their contractual obligations in providing ASTP services.

What happens in rural areas when access to the internet is minimal?

The mobile phone app has a function whereby it will hold entered information on the device until a data link is re-established for upload.

Does the app record changes to the route or the kilometres travelled?

Yes, the Mobile App does have this capability and at present, information is used to support any enquiries received.

Will ATSOs be granted access to the app?

The Mobile App for drivers was not intended for use by ATSOs. A separate application for ATSOs may be considered in the future.

Can absences noted in the app carry over to the Contractor pay claim?

Yes, this will be part of the progressive uplift of the platform as it develops. The ASTP is currently in discussion with the mobile phone app developer.

Is there a minimum iOS required to use the app?

  • iPhone - requires iOS 12.0 or later.
  • iPad touch - requires iOS 12.0 or later.

Can multiple drivers log on to the app using the same device?

Multiple drivers can use the same device but cannot be logged in simultaneously. Each driver will need to log out before sharing the device. Upon logging in they would need to reauthenticate their account using multifactor authentication.

How can Contractors reach the ASTP team managing app enquiries?

If you have questions about the ASTP Mobile App for Drivers, please email businessassurance.astp@det.nsw.edu.au or call 1300 338 278 and press 2 (for Eligible Services Provider enquiries) and then press 6 (for technical enquiries).

Does the current mapping system consider whether a route is suitable?

The ASTP utilises Google Maps to determine the shortest practical route to ensure students arrive at school ready to learn. Should an alternate route be more practical please discuss this with the ASTP.

The mobile phone app occasionally presents some issues (e.g., frozen screen; asking if the driver is in the right location; requiring regular entry of WWCC etc). Will these be rectified for when the app becomes mandatory next year?

An update is currently in progress to address all early feedback received. The Geo alert confirming location is being monitored by ASTP staff on a daily basis. As a security measure drivers will be prompted to reinput their WWCC every 30 days of non use. If the Mobile App is prompting your driver to enter their WWCC sooner this may be due to them logging out of the App or reinstalling it.

Will wheelchair-accessible vehicles be reassessed for viability?

Vehicle viability has been assessed as part of the schedule of rates review. Details are currently being finalised and it is anticipated that information will be made available to all Contractors by the end of Term 3, 2023.

Will sedan rates be reassessed for viability?

Yes. Details are currently being finalised and it is anticipated that information will be made available to all Contractors by the end of Term 3, 2023.

When was the last kilometre rate increase?

The last base rate review was in 2012, however, the schedule of rates has been adjusted on an annual basis to align with the Sydney CPI, as per the current agreement.

Will consideration be made for the kilometres that Contractors travel to make the first pick up on a run?

Unloaded kilometres were considered as part of the current rate structure and continue to be a future consideration. Details are currently being finalised. It is anticipated that information will be made available to all Contractors by the end of Term 3, 2023.

Will the new Agreement process be like the tender in 2012?

It is the ASTPs intention to make the new Agreement process as seamless as possible for all stakeholders. Details are currently being finalised and it is anticipated that information will be made available to all Contractors by the end of Term 3, 2023.

Is the Houdini strap still allowed to be used in vehicles?

A Houdini strap or similar device can be used in ASTP vehicles. Even though this is technically an accessory, it is considered a restrictive practice and formal approval is required from ASTP for its use. The decision to use a Houdini strap or any other equipment on transport is made by the parent in consultation with the school and it is the responsibility of the parent to provide the restraint. A change request from the school is required and it is recommended that a webbing cutter is stored in the vehicle in case of emergency.

Does a driver need to be trained in how to use a restraint?

Yes, it is a contractual requirement to ensure drivers are suitability trained (but not be limited to):

  • child protection training;
  • how to restrain wheelchairs and their occupants;
  • operation of hoists and ramps; or
  • specialised training in relation to the identified needs of student/s being transported.

It is the responsibility of all involved to ensure child safety in the onboarding, transporting and offboarding of students in vehicles. Drivers are obliged by law to ensure that all passengers are securely fastened in vehicles before departure.

Can a driver refuse to transport a child?

No, once a run has been accepted it is expected to be managed in accordance with the Contractors obligations under the Agreement.

If, at the point of pick up, the driver is concerned that the student poses a safety risk they are to immediately contact the ASTP and school.

Can the system be updated to allow for:

  • Sorting of drivers, i.e., alphabetically (current practice)
  • Sorting of vehicles i.e., alphabetically
  • Removing drivers who are no longer working for the business or on that run
  • Updating a vehicle attached to a run
  • Uploading registration and insurance records?

The above feedback has been captured as part of the progressive uplift of ASTP Online for Contractors. There are also plans to streamline many processes through the much larger ASTP system reform project, including an online self-service system.

Category:

  • School operations

Business Unit:

  • Student Support and Specialist Programs
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