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Non-Government Schools Not-for-profit Advisory Committee
Interested in education and compliance? Join the Non-Government Schools Not-for-Profit Advisory Committee.
The NSW Department of Education is seeking expressions of interest from individuals interested in joining the Non-Government Schools Not-for-Profit Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee) as an independent member.
Established in October 2015 under the NSW Education Act 1990 (Act), the Advisory Committee provides advice to the Minister for Education on the compliance of non-government schools and their proprietors with the not-for-profit requirements of the Act.
We welcome applications from people with leadership experience in the areas of education, not-for-profit regulation, other areas of regulation and compliance, governance and / or risk management.
Primary purpose of the role
The functions of the Committee as listed in the Act are as follows:
• to provide advice to the Minister on compliance with this Division by schools and proprietors of schools,
• to make recommendations to the Minister for the making of for profit declarations or non-compliance declarations,
• to exercise any other function (not inconsistent with the Act) relating to financial assistance to schools that is conferred by this Division or that is agreed between the Minister and the Advisory Committee.
Including but not limited to:
• Prepare for and attend Committee meetings (meetings are generally held six (6) times each year with out of session meetings for time-sensitive matters where required)
• Make recommendations to the Minister regarding non-government schools compliance with s.83C of the Act
• Make strategic decisions about the work undertaken by the Committee in collaboration with other Committee members.
• Attend legal proceedings (i.e. NCAT hearings) as a representative of the Committee where required (note this is primarily undertaken by the Committee Chair but other members may be required from time to time)
• Represent the Committee and attend other education and awareness raising events as required.
• The Independent Member must be independent of the non-government schools sector and the NSW Government.
• Leadership experience in the areas of regulation and compliance, risk management and /or governance.
• Significant experience in education, particularly in a leading role.
• Experience and knowledge of not-for-profit regulation.
• Lobbyist or employees of a lobbyist are not eligible to be a member on this Committee.
Term and remuneration
The term of appointment is for three (3) from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2023.
This is a paid role and the remuneration amount is outlined in the NSW Government Public Service Commission remuneration guide under Committee classification (Group C, Level 3-iv). Current public sector employees are generally not eligible for remuneration for their role as a Committee member (some exemptions apply).
Non-Government Schools Not-for-Profit Advisory Committee (COMMITTEE)
The Committee was established in 2015 to advise the Minister for Education on the compliance of schools and their proprietors with the not-for-profit provisions of Education Act 1990 (NSW) (the Act). The Non-Government Schools unit, within the NSW Department of Education, provides secretariat support to the Committee, coordinates the audit program and internal/external review processes, and works with the independent auditors to gather appropriate evidence related to compliance of non-government schools.
The Committee also proactively engages with stakeholders to increase awareness and understanding of not-for-profit compliance requirements and minimise the risk of non-compliance. It does this by publishing guidelines, newsletters, tools and information sheets for non-government schools.
The Act (s83K(1)) specifies Committee membership: an independent chair; representatives from the Department of Education, NSW Education Standards Authority, Catholic Schools NSW and the Association of Independent Schools of NSW; and any other person the Minister appoints.
The Committee meets approximately 6 times a year. Out of session meetings are also scheduled on an as needed basis to approve and consider time-sensitive matters. Due to Covid-19 currently all meetings are being held online (under normal circumstances meetings are face to face with the location rotating but are mainly in Sydney CBD or Parramatta). Much of the work of the Committee is managed electronically, committee papers, minutes, internal reviews are available to Committee members through online software, and the Secretariat will contact members via email in the majority of instances.
Overview of Section 83C of the NSW Education Act
The not-for-profit requirements of the Act state that financial assistance must not be provided to any NSW non-government school that operates for profit. This was originally introduced in 2006 through section 21A of the Act and strengthened by section 83C in 2015.
This early legislation was found to be insufficient as it did not provide enough flexibility to the Minister in responding to compliance breaches nor provide an independent body to advise the Minister on exercising powers. There was a need to be firmer on transactions with related parties, payments to governing board members and ‘unreasonable’ expenses. Replacing section 21A, section 83C strengthened the not-for-profit provisions of the Act and introduced:
• For profit declarations and non-compliant declarations (s83D and s83F)
• Graduated responses to match the severity of non-compliance (s83E)
• An appeals avenue for schools (on decisions and sanctions) (s83G)
• Directions to a school (e.g. to provide information, to undertake an audit, to cease specific conduct) (s83I)
• A debt recovery process (s83J)
• The Non-Government Schools Not-for-profit Advisory Committee (the Committee) (s83K)
• Under section 83C, a school operates for profit if any part of its proprietor’s assets or income (arising from the school’s operation) are used for a purpose other than running the school. Any payments the school makes must be necessary for its operation and must not be above reasonable market value (or unreasonable in any other way). Schools are also not allowed to make payments to members of their governing bodies.
Schools that do not comply with section 83C of the Act may be declared by the Minister to be non-compliant or operating for profit. The Minister may then enact any of the following sanctions on the school’s funding: termination or suspension, reduction, imposition of conditions, or recovery.
Minister Adrian Piccoli’s second reading speech clarified that “[these] amendments are not a licence for unnecessary interference in schools’ operations, as long as the requirements of the Act are met … The three tests (market value, required to meet the running of the school, and are reasonable) work together to ensure that payments are genuinely required to meet the educational objectives and operational requirements of the school.”
Through the audit program of non-government schools a number of recurring themes have emerged, which indicate a need for improved:
• Strong and independent governance across a range of schools;
• Documentation for loan arrangements between schools/entities;
• Understanding of full range of related parties; and
• Recording in the Related Party Transaction registers of all relationships and transactions with related parties.
Information on non-government schools funding, policy and compliance from the Department’s website can be found here.
How To Apply
If you wish to apply for this role please submit your resume to NGS-Compliance@det.nsw.edu.au by 28th October 2020.
Natalie Stott at Natalie.Stott2@det.nsw.edu.au