Externally funded service providers
Externally funded health, disability and wellbeing service providers may seek to provide their services to students at the school during school hours. Access to the school by an externally funded provider is at the discretion of the principal.
An information package has been developed to guide and support schools, parents and carers, and external service providers around the key legislative and policy requirements schools need to consider when making decisions regarding school access for external providers.
Feedback on any part of this package may be sent at any time to ExternalProviderFeedback@det.nsw.edu.au.
WEBINAR: Implementing the external provider information package
Watch an Adobe Connect webinar (intranet only) (48 mins) held in March 2018 with Donna Blatchford, Principal. The webinar explores how the information package has been implemented at Fisher Road School and answers questions from other school staff. Viewers will require their DoE login to access staff only content.
Information for principals
This information sheet (Word 99KB) supports principals in exercising their discretion to approve (or not approve) external provider access to the school and the matters that need to be considered.
Checklist for principals
A checklist (Word 100KB) has been developed to enable schools to ensure that providers satisfy all the mandatory requirements before they operate in the school, where access is approved.
School induction checklist
The school induction checklist (Word 84KB) can be used by schools to manage the induction of externally funded provider staff before they can deliver services at the school.
Information for providers and provider checklist
This information sheet and checklist (Word 101KB) details the mandatory requirements external service providers need to meet, and documentation they will need to provide to the school, before they can start delivering services at the school.
Information for parents and carers
This information sheet (Word 91KB) gives parents and carers advice about seeking approval for the delivery of NDIS-funded services at the school. It also summarises the matters the principal will consider when deciding whether or not to accommodate an NDIS-funded service at the school, and the ongoing responsibilities of parents and carers once the school has approved NDIS-funded services at the school.
External Provider Engagement Agreement
Before commencing service delivery at the school, external providers must enter into a written agreement with each school in which they propose to provide the relevant service/s. A template agreement (Word 74KB) has been prepared for this purpose, setting out the responsibilities of each party.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does a provider approved to deliver services to one student at a school have an automatic right to deliver services to another child at the same school, or at another school?
No. A school's decision to grant access to an externally funded provider is to be on a case-by-case basis, reflecting the educational needs of the individual student and school operational requirements.
Do the requirements apply to officers from NSW Health or other NSW government agencies delivering services in schools?
The principal is responsible for all people delivering services within the school. Certain policies take a different approach where those people are employees of other government departments, such as NSW Health. These employees are only required to show government issued ID on each visit to the school, along with a driver's licence or RMS proof of identity card to verify date of birth for checking against the Not to be Employed database.
Schools are only required to sight the person's government issued ID and Driver's Licence and note this in the visitor's register. It is not necessary to photocopy and store these documents.
People employed by the NSW government will not need to demonstrate that they have insurances, and those departments will not need to enter into an engagement agreement with the school. Principals may still wish to document the services to be provided by individuals and ensure that these staff participate in a site induction prior to starting to work within the school.
The department's Probity Unit has developed a checklist that sets out the documentation requirements that apply to employees of other NSW government departments (eg. NSW Health) delivering services in schools.
Not necessarily. The school principal will determine the health care training needs of external provider staff based on the student's specific health care requirements, the extent of the school's supervision of provider staff activities, and the nature of the service being delivered. For example, providers delivering water-based therapy should have a first aid and CPR certificate.
Does the school need a new External Provider Engagement Agreement with an existing provider for each new student receiving a service from the provider?
No. The school is only required to enter into one agreement per external provider. Service delivery arrangements for each student at the school are to be included as separate schedules to this one agreement (one schedule per student).
No. The school is not required to photocopy any provider identification documents.
If a provider has delivered services at another NSW Public School, then the provider's Working With Children Check (WWCC) clearance details and proof of identity information will be recorded on the department's Electronic Casual Pay Claims (eCPC) system. In this case, the provider is only required to show photo identification to the school to enable the school to check the provider's WWCC clearance on eCPC and to ensure that the provider is not on the department's Not to be Employed database.
Where provider details are not available on eCPC and it is the first school they have approached, they are to fill out the Declaration for Child Related Workers of the Working with Children Check Procedures and the school is to sight proof of identity documentation. This information is to be entered into eCPC to allow for the department's Probity Unit to commence its verification process. To satisfy probity audit requirements, the school is required to retain the signed Declaration. The completed Declaration form is to be kept in a secure location for seven years after completion of the provider's services at the school.
Can an individual therapist submit their own insurance documentation and sign the External Provider Engagement Agreement on behalf of the provider organisation?
This would only be acceptable if the therapist is a sole trader. If the therapist is delivering the service as an employee, contractor or sub-contractor to an external provider organisation, then all insurance policy documents must be in the name of the provider organisation. Individual therapists are not to sign the External Provider Engagement Agreement on behalf of the provider organisation, unless they have authority to bind the organisation. The Agreement must be signed by two directors, or officers from the provider organisation with authority to bind the organisation to the Agreement.
Can schools hire out classrooms and other facilities to external providers seeking to deliver services in schools?
School principals have the authority to make decisions on the use of school premises and facilities, including hiring out school space to other parties.
If a school wishes to hire out a facility to an external provider for use outside of school hours this can be done with a Community Use Agreement (CUA) for short term arrangements (less than 12 months). CUAs are suitable for not-for-profit organisations or very small commercial enterprises (e.g. those with less than two employees) and can be negotiated at the school level and approved by school principals. CUAs can be completed online. Longer-term arrangements and/or those involving commercial activities need to be referred to School Infrastructure NSW for a lease/licence to be negotiated for the use of facilities. For further guidance and information, please contact the Asset Activations team at email@example.com.
External providers, including NDIS-funded providers, may seek one-off access to a school. This may be for an initial discussion with the school or for a therapist to undertake a one-off observation of a student.
The school principal will determine what checks and paperwork are required of a provider, as appropriate for a one-off visit. This will be based on the principal's assessment of risks to students and the school. For example, a principal may determine that evidence of insurance cover, child protection training or health care training is not warranted for an initial meeting that only involves school staff. The External Provider Engagement Agreement would also not be necessary for one-off visits.
An external provider making a one-off visit to a school must still meet Working With Children Check clearance requirements, including a completed Declaration for Child Related Workers and show proof of identity documentation, where this visit will involve interactions with students, and where it is the first school they attend to provide a service (for more information on screening requirements at first and subsequent schools, see previous FAQ: Does the school have to photocopy all external provider identification documents?).
The department's Probity Unit has developed a checklist that sets out the documentation requirements that apply to allied health and NDIS-funded disability services delivered in schools.
Do the same processes apply to externally funded service providers delivering online services to students?
Yes. These processes apply to all services delivered by externally funded service providers, irrespective of the delivery method. The school principal has the discretion to tailor school induction arrangements to reflect online service delivery.
School principals have the discretion to cease approval for online delivery of these services where face-to-face delivery at the school becomes permissible, and where the principal determines that face-to-face delivery is in the best educational and wellbeing interests of the student. In these instances, the school principal is to give the provider at least 10 business days written notice.
The only checks that need to be taken annually are as follows:
- evidence of currency of insurance policies
- evidence of completion of child protection training within the last year.
Note: for providers engaged through the department's Specialist Allied Health and Behaviour Support Provider Scheme schools are not required to re-check a provider's insurance policies or completion of child protection training within the last year. These requirements are managed as part of the provider's contractual arrangement with the department.
Schedules to the External Provider Engagement Agreement for each student should be reviewed annually as part of the planning cycle for the student's personalised learning and support, and to reflect any changes to the provider's delivery arrangements within the school. Schools should also enter into a new External Provider Engagement Agreement where an existing agreement with an external provider has reached its end date (as specified on page 1 of the Agreement).
Schools are not required to re-check a provider's proof of identification documents if they are already on the department's Electronic Casual Pay Claims (eCPC) system, nor are schools required to conduct annual school induction sessions with individuals but may wish to update them of any changes to facilities or critical personnel.
If the student's health care requirements have changed from the previous year, the school principal may, if appropriate, ask the provider to submit evidence of relevant health care training. Schools should also alert the provider to any changes to a student's health condition which may require an emergency response.
All providers under the Scheme are contractually required to complete the department's Mandatory Child Protection Training or a suitable training program developed by the provider for its staff, within the last year. A school may choose to request evidence of completion from the pre-qualified provider prior to commencement of services however, this is not required.
The Speciatist Allied Health and Behaviour Support Provider Scheme is a pre-qualification scheme managed by the department for specialist allied health service providers.
The Scheme supports schools that wish to directly engage specialist allied health providers to provide services to students or staff. Allied health services procured via the Scheme are funded through the school's budget.
The Scheme aims to reduce the administrative burden of sourcing and engaging an allied health provider.
Pre-qualification of allied health providers means that the department has put successful providers through a procurement process which has reviewed:
- their experience, qualifications and training
- their business credentials, insurances and adherence to probity requirements
- the services they deliver and how they deliver them
- the areas of the State that they can service.
A range of tools and resources, including a searchable database of pre-qualified providers have been created to support schools when engaging service providers through the Scheme.
Engagement of a service provider via the Scheme is not compulsory.
For more information, please visit the department's Specialist Allied Health and Behaviour Support Provider Scheme webpage.
What is the difference between the Specialist Allied Health and Behaviour Support Provider Scheme and delivery by an externally funded provider?
The Specialist Allied Health and Behaviour Support Provider Scheme (the Scheme) is a panel of pre-qualified service providers for schools that wish to directly engage allied health services. Funding of these services is paid for through the school's existing budget.
Externally funded providers are providers that are directly engaged and funded by a party other than the school, such as parents/carers.
Despite both types of providers being considered as 'external', the legal relationship to the school in each scenario is very different. Where the school directly engages an external provider, the legal relationship is between the school and the external provider. If the external provider is engaged by a parent/carer for example, the legal relationship exists between the parent/carer and the provider.
Do providers on the Specialist Allied Health and Behaviour Support Provider Scheme (the Scheme) have to meet all the requirements that apply to external providers engaged by parents/carers or family?
External providers approved to deliver services through the Scheme will have met some organisational requirements for accessing schools as part of the pre-qualification process. These include:
- Working with Children Status and completion of Mandatory Child Protection Training
- business credentials and insurances
- organisational and staff experience and ability to deliver services to schools
- NDIS registration.
This panel of pre-qualified providers means less administrative burden for school staff and a more streamlined process for the engagement and management of providers in schools.
In cases where an externally funded provider is seeking to access a school, school staff should check whether the provider is also on the pre-qualification panel. This will help school staff to determine what probity and compliance requirements have already been met.
Schools must continue to do the following when a pre-qualified provider is delivering services:
- Review an individual staff member's Working with Children Check status on the department's Electronic Casual Pay Claims (eCPC) system to ensure they continue to have clearance to work with children as a contractor. The department has requested that contractors who are new have all relevant documents and proof of identity on hand, and that they complete a Declaration for Child-Related Workers prior to commencing their first school engagement.
- Follow any of the school's specific processes for induction of new visitors. Please refer to this induction checklist for external providers.
If provider details are not available on eCPC, standard screening requirements apply (for more information on screening requirements at first and subsequent schools, see previous FAQ: Does the school have to photocopy all external provider identification documents?).
All providers under the Scheme are contractually required to complete the department's Mandatory Child Protection Training or a suitable training program developed by the provider for its staff, within the last year. A school may choose to request evidence of completion from the pre-qualified provider prior to commencement of services, where appropriate.
Providers under the Scheme are not required to submit evidence of insurance to the school, as this documentation has been provided to the department through the pre-qualification process. This applies to all pre-qualified providers, including those that are externally funded. Evidence of insurance for all pre-qualified providers will now be managed and stored centrally by the department.
For more information, please visit the department's Specialist Allied Health and Behaviour Support Provider Scheme webpage.