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Frequently asked questions

Parent Clubs are not part of School Councils. Neither the Principal nor the School Council President has the authority to dissolve or remodel the Parent Club. 

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Is the Parent Club operation information on the DET website compulsory for schools?

Yes. Schools are required to follow the Department’s policy regarding the establishment, operation and dissolution of Victorian government school Parent Clubs. Schools can find this information in the School Policy and Advisory Guide.

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Why do Parent Clubs have to be constituted if they are not recognised as a public entity?

Regulation 51 of the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017 requires that a Parent Club for a Victorian government school must be formed in accordance with Part 4, Division 7 of the Regulations. This means that a Parent Club can only be formed in accordance with the Regulations. The Model Constitution for Parent Clubs provides a sound governance framework for a Parent Club to operate and function efficiently and effectively, by setting out clear and transparent procedures for matters such as financial management, elections, meetings, record keeping and removing members from office. This plays a valuable role in managing potential issues (such as conflicts or disputes) within the club. It also ensures that funds are dealt with appropriately and transparently. Part 4, Division 7 sets out specific requirements for the establishment of a Parent Club, including the club’s Constitution. In particular, regulation 53(1)(4) requires that the constitution for a Parent Club must be consistent with the model constitution published by the Secretary from time to time.

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Where can I get more information about the Model Constitution?

The Education Department has published some useful resources and advice about the Model Constitution:

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How often and in what format are schools expected to report (i.e. financial statement) to Parent Clubs?

Principals and Business Managers are encouraged to work closely with Parent Clubs and on request (usually once per month), provide the club with a copy of the sub-program’s CASES21 Variance Report and Transaction Report.

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If my school is not complying with DET policy re Parent Club operations after I have raised it with them directly, whom do I contact?

Parent clubs are encouraged to first raise any issues with the school’s Principal.
If the Parent Club is not satisfied that the issues have been resolved, the club is encouraged to contact the School Operations and Governance Unit, Department of Education and Training on 9637 3124 or via email.

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What happens if the school refuses to discuss with the parent club re the spending of the parent group raised funds?

If the Principal has indicated they are unable to provide the Parent Club with a copy of the CASES21 Variance Report and Transaction Report and/or the school council has indicated they are unable to discuss with the club the spending of the club’s funds, the club can contact the School Operations and Governance Unit on 9637 3124 or via email.

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Can a former Parent Club member (e.g. past President) chair the election of our office bearers?

The Education Department references a Principal, teacher or SRO chairing the election. Why not a past PC President?

Under regulation 53(4) of the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017, the constitution of a Parent Club must be consistent with the model constitution published by the Secretary from time to time. Section 5 of the Model Constitution sets out requirements for the election of office bearers. It states that

“Elections shall be conducted by an independent person, such as the Principal, a teacher at the school or a senior regional officer of the Department of Education and Training. The person who conducts the election of office bearers must not be a current Club/Association member or nominated for an office in that election."

The purpose of this requirement is to protect the integrity of the election process, by ensuring that elections are conducted fairly and without the risk of actual or apprehended bias. Generally speaking, a past President of a Parent Club would not be an “independent person” as required under the model constitution. This is because a past President would have direct previous involvement with the Parent Club, and may have personal knowledge of or opinions about the members nominated for election, or particular issues affecting the club. 

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Do we need a Treasurer, or can the school just supply the Parent Club with the financial reports?

Parent Clubs are no longer permitted to operate an ‘Option B bank’ account. It is mandatory for all Parent Club to operate under ‘Option A’, i.e. funds must be held in the school’s financial management system, CASES21. However, under the current Model Constitution, a Parent Club must still have a Treasurer. All Parent Clubs must comply with this requirement.

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Can our Parent Club be incorporated?

No, Parent Clubs in Victorian government schools cannot be incorporated. Under regulation 51, a Parent Club at a Victorian government school may only be formed in accordance with the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017. The Regulations do not provide for Parent Clubs to incorporate.

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How much money can be held in a parent club account?

The regulations do not limit the amount of money that can be held in a Parent Club/school account. However, all funds in a Parent Club subprogram must be managed strictly in accordance with the regulations. The Department does not consider it best practice for large unallocated sums of money to sit in a club’s sub-program. If funds are raised for a particular purpose, they should be allocated and expended for that purpose. If funds were raised under Section 58(1)(a) of the Regulations, ("the establishment or augmentation of school funds"), the use of these funds is at the discretion of the council. The Department considers it best practice that the council discuss early on with the club what the funds will be used for, thus allocating the money to a particular project and detailing this as a line item in CASES21. While a Club may have a large balance sitting in its sub-program, the majority of this money should be allocated against the purpose which was agreed upon by both the club and the council (Section 58(1)(b) of the Regulations) and not for any undisclosed and undecided “future project”.  For further information, please see regulation 54 (general requirements regarding funds) and regulations 58 and 59 (fundraising).

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How should a school allow Parent Club volunteers to access petty cash funds?

The Department notes that there is nothing which precludes the operation of petty cash for a Parent Club. Schools are required to establish and operate a petty cash advance under the conditions outlined in Section 11.10 the Finance Manual for Victorian Government Schools. The limit on any one payment through petty cash is $200.

For more information on petty cash requirements, see the "Frequently Asked Finance Questions" sheet from the Education Department.

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Do club members have to pay a membership fee?

A membership fee is no longer mandatory. The new (2019) Model Constitution requires club members to complete and sign a Registration Form annually, but does not require a membership fee to be paid. A Registration Form template can be found on the last page of the Model Constitution.

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What should happen if a School Council rejects a Parent Club’s request for prior approval to expend funds raised on a particular item/s?

The school council must not reject any proposed fundraising activity until it has considered a recommendation by a committee consisting of:

• the president of the school council or the president’s nominee, who must be the chairperson

• one other representative of the school council elected for the purpose by the school council

• two representatives of the club

• the principal.

See the Education Department Parent Clubs page for more information (Search for 'fundraising activities').

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Can a Parent Club still have its own bank account?

Under the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017, parent clubs are no longer permitted to operate a bank account. It is mandatory for all Parent Club to operate under ‘Option A’. For more information, see the Education Department Parent Clubs page (search for 'financial management').

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Do we need to have our books audited?

No, the club’s finances will be audited along with those of the school.

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If we raise in excess of $10,000 per year, do we need to register with Consumer Affairs Victoria?

No. Due to the removal of 'Option B' financial arrangement there is no longer a requirement.

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What are the rules around raffles?

If a club plans to raise funds by means of a raffle or bingo or other minor gambling activities, permission and instructions must be obtained from the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation. For more information, see Community and Charitable Gaming Application Process and Requirements on the VCGLR website.

More answers from the Education Department

Download a "Frequently Asked Finance Questions" sheet from the Education Department




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