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Suspension and Expulsion

96. Can a financial member be suspended or expelled from the P&C?


Yes, there is a specific process detailed in Rule 9.0 that will require the Executive Committee to initiate suspension/expulsion proceedings, make a determination, and then forward it for approval to a General Meeting. If, after the process is followed, the P&C decides to suspend a member rather than expel then Rule 10.0 comes into effect. There is an interactive flowchart of the process here.




97. If a member is suspended or expelled from the P&C, can they challenge the decision?


Yes, but only after the process found in Rule 9.0 has been completed, not at anytime while it is being applied. If they wish to challenge the decision they will need to lodge a grievance as per Rule 28.0 and then the Disputes and Mediation process will begin. In this case, the Executive Committee will not be able to determine the dispute and a suitably qualified mediator will need to be secured. The costs of the mediation will need to be paid for by the member as they requested the mediation. It should be noted that a mediator is not permitted to determine the dispute, their job is to help the parties reach a mutually agreeable outcome..




98. What is the maximum term of suspension?


The maximum term for a suspension is up to the end of the current financial membership, which is until the next AGM.




99. If a member is expelled from the P&C can they join again at a later time?


There is a possibility they can join the P&C again if they lodge a grievance under Rule 28.0 and the expulsion is overturned.




100. For what actions could a member be expelled or suspended?


9.0 SUSPENSION OR EXPULSION OF MEMBERS OF THE ASSOCIATION

9.1 The Executive Committee may decide to suspend a member’s membership or to expel a member from the Association if the member:

  1. has persistently refused or neglected to comply with a provision of these Rules;
  2. has persistently and wilfully acted in a manner prejudicial to the interests and objects of the Association; or
  3. has been convicted of any offence deemed prejudicial to the interests of the Association.
As there is some subjectivity as to the interpretation of words such as 'persistently', 'neglected', 'wilfully', and 'deemed prejudicial', the Executive Committee will need to apply its own judgement. Please contact the WACSSO office on 08 9264 4000 if you require advice on these.




101. What is the meaning of "in the interests or objects of the Association"?


These are from the School Education Act (1999) and are stated in the P&C Constitution as:

2.0 OBJECTS

The objects of the Association are to promote the interests of the school, or group of schools, through:

2.1 Cooperation between parents, teachers, students and members of the general community;

2.2 Assisting in the provision of resources, facilities and amenities for the school or group of schools; and

2.3 The fostering of community interest in educational matters.




102. What is "convicted of any offence deemed prejudicial to the interests of the Association"?


These would generally be the offences as stated in Rule 14.3 (iii). iii. have a criminal conviction relating to; (a) offences against children (b) theft, fraud or dishonesty




104. Does the member have to attend the Executive Meeting where a recommendation of suspension or expulsion is being considered?


No, Rule 9.2.1 (iii), states that the member or member's representative can attend. However, it is highly advisable the member attends to state their case.




105. Can the Executive Committee suspend or expel a member?


No, the Executive Committee makes the recommendation to suspend or expel at an Executive Committee Meeting. They then call a General Meeting or Special General Meeting and have this recommendation on the agenda for that meeting. The recommendation/motion will be moved. If it is seconded then debate will begin on the motion. It is strongly recommended that the P&C uses formal Rules of Debate for this part of the meeting. After the debate, the motion is put and a vote is taken. This motion will need to be passed by Special Resolution which means it will require a three-quarters majority of members present to vote in favour for it to be carried. Voting will need to be carried out using a secret ballot (Rule 9.2.4).




106. What is the correct procedure for a secret ballot?


Any member of the P&C can motion for a vote to be a ballot vote. It only requires a 'second' for the vote to go ahead in this format. In the case of a ballot, the Chair should appoint *returning officers to distribute ballot papers, count the votes and advise the Chair of the result. If the debate has been vigorous with strong emotions roused, members may feel intimidated if they have to vote by show of hands. Some people find that they vote to appease the stronger personalities in the
group and not the way they would prefer to vote. A ballot can overcome this problem. Once the ballot is taken and the outcome is clear. The Chair should motion "that the ballot papers be destroyed". In effect, the only people that ever see the ballots are the returning officers. *it is best to appoint non-members to be returning officers. If this is not possible it is acceptable to use the Principal and an Office Bearer.




108. What is the time limit for appealing a suspension or expulsion?


This must be lodged within 14 days.

9.5 A member whose membership is suspended or who is expelled from the Association may, within fourteen (14) days after receiving notice of the Association’s decision, give written notice to the Honorary Secretary requesting the Disputes and Mediation Process in accordance with Rule 28.0




109. Why does this new P&C Constitution have a suspension/expulsion rule?


The P&C Constitution has been developed after extensive feedback and communication with affiliates. This rule is derived from a P&C driven resolution at WACSSO Annual Conference 2011.




110. As a member, I am finding it difficult to work with another member, can the Executive Committee look at suspending or expelling this member?


This is a possibility, however the Executive Committee should first ask you to lodge a grievance or dispute (Rule 28.0) so the issue can be resolved without having to suspend or expel anyone.




111. Can the Principal be suspended or expelled from the P&C?


No. There would be no reason that would warrant this action. The school Principal plays a vital part in the P&C and their position on the P&C is protected by legislation.




112. What happens if an Office Bearer or Executive Committee member is suspended or expelled from the P&C?


It is not advisable to enact Rule 9.0 straight away. Generally, the Office Bearer or Executive Committee member would be removed from their position on the Executive Committee as a first step (see Rule 14.3). After this has happened, the position would be filled by another financial member, through election at a General Meeting. When an Office Bearer has been stood down, the Executive must immediately:

  • Contact the bank immediately and have the relevant Office Bearer removed as a signatory.
  • Change any common passwords the P&C executive uses and request bank security tokens/code generators (email, bank etc) be returned.
  • Request all records and documents held by the Office Bearer be returned as required under the Associations Incorporation Act 2015 (Part 4, Div. 1)
  • Request any other P&C materials be returned e.g. badges, ID lanyards etc
  • If it is the President that has been removed, then nominate another member of the Executive (preferably the Treasurer) to be the primary contact for employees until the role is filled. The employees should be contacted and informed of the resignation and the interim arrangements.
  • If it is the President that has been removed, then nominate an Executive member to fulfil their ex-officio role on sub-committees.
  • Advise the Principal of the details of the newly elected Office Bearer.
  • Advise WACSSO of the details of the newly elected Office Bearer.
If, after this, the intention is then to take further action and remove or suspend the member from the P&C, the process outlined in Rule 9.0 would begin.




113. The decision to suspend or expel "takes immediate effect" (Rule 9.3). What does this mean?


At the point that a majority votes in favour and the resolution is announced as 'carried' by the Chair, the member in question is no longer a financial member of the P&C. At this point that person should be asked to leave the meeting. If this request is refused, the Principal (as site manager) may direct that person to leave. In rare cases, where disruption occurs, the Chair has the power to close the meeting.




114. If a person is suspended or expelled, can they attend future meetings as an observer?


This is not recommended. The Principal (as site manager) may be required to direct a person to leave the meeting.




115. Do we document actions and behaviours of members?


The Executive Committee will either observe or be informed of actions of a member that may lead to Rule 9.0 being invoked. They should document these behaviours (even retrospectively) and keep records of any written evidence. There is no set rule for when documentation should commence. Some Executives may put up with inappropriate behaviours for months or years, and some will instigate informal meetings to attempt to resolve the issues as soon as they appear. If the Executive wishes to push forward with suspension or expulsion, they must make sure there will be enough evidence for a General Meeting to endorse their recommendation.




116. I've been expelled from the P&C, can I rejoin?


An expulsion is for life, unless it is overturned during a Disputes and Mediation process. The P&C will keep a list of expelled members, so even future Executives will be aware of the background. It is possible that with changes in the composition of Executive Committees over the years, that a dispute process will be overturned.




117. Should we let WACSSO know if we suspend or expel a member?


Yes, WACSSO will store the record in their database, in case the member/ex-member makes contact with us.




103. What is the correct procedure for a secret ballot?


In the case of a ballot, the Chair should appoint *returning officers to distribute ballot papers, count the votes and advise the Chair of the result. If the debate has been vigorous with strong emotions roused, members may feel intimidated if they have to vote by show of hands. Some people find that they vote to appease the stronger personalities in the
group and not the way they would prefer to vote. A ballot can overcome this problem.
Once the ballot is taken and the outcome is clear. The Chair should motion "that the ballot papers be destroyed". In effect, the only people that ever see the ballots are the returning officers. *it is best to appoint non-members to be returning officers. If this is not possible it is acceptable to use the Principal and an Office Bearer.





The Principal

11. Has the P&C role of the school Principal changed?


The Principal is still ex officio of the P&C Executive and has the right to move motions, debate and vote. They have the right to vote at any meeting of the association without being a financial member. They can also be included in the quorum for any meeting of the P&C. The changes to the role in the 2019 P&C Constitution mean that the Principal can no longer be elected as an Office Bearer of the P&C (President, Vice President, Secretary or Treasurer) and is not permitted to be a signatory to accounts.




12. Can the Principal be suspended or expelled from the P&C?


No. There would be no reason to warrant this action. The school Principal plays a vital part in the P&C and their position on the P&C is protected by legislation.





The Executive Committee: Roles and Responsibilities

13. What are the major duties of the Executive Committee?


The Executive Committee members have individual duties, but as a collective they have a an overarching duty to manage the P&C responsibly as stated in Rule 14.2.

14.2 The duties of the Executive Committee will include:

  1. a duty of care and diligence;
  2. a duty to act in good faith in the best interests of the association and for a proper purpose;
  3. a duty not to misuse one’s position and a duty not to misuse information obtained through the position to gain advantage for self or someone else or to cause detriment to the association; and
  4. a duty to prevent the association trading when insolvent.




14. The Executive Committee has a "duty of care and diligence". What does this mean?


This includes, but is not limited to: • being prepared for meetings (reading any papers and the financial statements); • broadly understanding the financial position of the association; • following up on action items; • keeping themselves informed about the association’s operations and activities; • asking questions; and • taking steps to ensure that the association meets its obligations under other laws, for example occupational health and safety, taxation and employment. https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/atoms/files/assocdutiescomoff.pdf




15. What is "a duty to prevent the association trading when insolvent"?


A committee member has a duty to prevent an association incurring debts while it is insolvent or in situations where the debt would cause it to become insolvent. This duty is breached if: • an association incurs debt while it is insolvent or it becomes insolvent by incurring the debt; • before incurring the debt there were reasonable grounds to expect that the association was already or would become insolvent by incurring the debt; and • the person was a member of the committee at the time the debt was incurred. To fulfil their duty, committee members should all work to ensure that: • accurate accounts are kept of the transactions, financial position and performance of the association; and • the association’s solvency status is monitored on an ongoing basis. Allowing an association to operate while insolvent is a serious matter with significant penalties. However, it should be noted that a breach of this duty would not make a committee member personally liable for the association’s debts. https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/atoms/files/assocdutiescomoff.pdf




16. Can a person be removed from an Office Bearer position or from the Executive Committee?


Yes, as stated in Rule 14.3:

14.3 The Executive Committee shall have the power to declare vacant the seat of any of its members who:

  1. without leave or reasonable excuse, is absent from three (3) consecutive meetings of the Association. The Executive Committee in its absolute discretion shall determine what constitutes a reasonable excuse;
  2. without reasonable excuse, wilfully and persistently fails to perform the duties of the office as defined by these Rules;
  3. have a criminal conviction relating to;
    1. offences against children
    2. theft, fraud or dishonesty
  4. ceases to be a member of the Association
The process for this will require the moving of a motion, seconding and then debate to remove the member. It must then be put to a vote and passed by a simple majority. The minutes from the Executive Committe Meeting must then be tabled at the next General Meeting for ratification.




17. Is the process to expel/suspend a P&C member the same process involved in removing a person from an Executive Committee position?


No, the suspension/expulsion process (Rule 9.0) only applies to removing/suspending a person from the entire P&C Association. Removing a member from the Executive does not remove them from the P&C. They will continue to be a financial member of the P&C, but will not be on the Executive. To enact Rule 14.3, the Executive Committee will need to meet and resolve to remove the person through a normal motion/debate/vote process.




18. If an Executive Member leaves their position, is there a requirement to return any P&C documents or records they have in their possession?


Yes, all records must be returned. There are now financial penalties under the Associations Incorporation Act 2015 for members who do not return required records. The P&C should request the return of the documents in writing. It is a good idea to send a return-addressed postage pack by registered mail to the former executives postal address.




20. What happens if an Office Bearer or Executive Committee member is suspended or expelled from the P&C?


It is not advisable to enact Rule 9.0 straight away. Generally, the Office Bearer or Executive Committee member would be removed from their position on the Executive as a first step (see Rule 14.3). After this has happened, the position would be filled by another financial member, through election at a General Meeting. When an Office Bearer has been stood down, the Executive must immediately:

  • Contact the bank immediately and have the relevant Office Bearer removed as a signatory.
  • Change any common passwords the P&C executive uses and request bank security tokens/code generators (email, bank etc) be returned.
  • Request all records and documents held by the Office Bearer be returned as required under the Associations Incorporation Act 2015 (Part 4, Div. 1)
  • Request any other P&C materials be returned e.g. badges, ID lanyards etc
  • If it is the President that has resigned?, then nominate another member of the Executive (preferably the Treasurer) to be the primary contact for employees until the role is filled. The employees should be contacted and informed of the resignation and the interim arrangements.
  • If it is the President that has been removed, then nominate an Executive member to fulfill their ex-officio role on sub-committees.
  • Advise the Principal of the details of the newly elected Office Bearer.
  • Advise WACSSO of the details of the newly elected Office Bearer.
If, after this, the intention is then to take further action and remove or suspend the member from the P&C, the process outlined in Rule 9.0 would begin.




21. Can signatories who have a direct relationship co-sign financial transactions?


No, Rule 17.6.1 states, "Where there is a direct relationship between two authorised signatories, they shall not be permitted to co-sign any cheques of the Association". The Glossary attached to the P&C Constitution defines a direct relationship as "business, immediate or extended family, and marriage/de facto relationships."




19. The Executive Committee is required to make a Solvency Statement to be presented at every AGM. What is this?


At the AGM, the Executive Committee will be required to present a solvency statement, in respect of the Association and endorsed by the Executive Committee stating that the financial statement has been examined and whether or not in their opinion the P&C will be able to meet the Association’s debts and liabilities as and when they become due and payable (Rule 17.10.3).

A template for this statement can be found in the resources section of the WACSSO website.




22. An Executive Committee member has resigned and has documents and records that we require. How do we get them back?


Under the Associations Incorporation Act 2015, Executive Committee members are required to return all documents requested. This is also reflected a number of times in the P&C Constitution. For example, the role of the Treasurer, Rule 17.14 states, "On expiration of term of position, resignation, redundancy or death, returning all documents belonging to the Association to the Executive Committee." There are significant penalties for failing to comply with this requirement under the Act and these penalties should be mentioned in any correspondence sent to a former Executive member who has not returned documents. It is best practice to ensure the correspondence sent is by registered mail so it is known whether the relevant party received it.




23. When do new Executive Committee members take up their positions?


All changing positions take effect at the 'rise of the meeting'. This is the end of the meeting.




24. If a member resigns from the Executive or leaves the association, when is this resignation effective from?


Executive Committees should always ask members to put a resignation in writing that states the effective date of the resignation. Preferably, unless there are exceptional circumstances, the notice should state that the resignation is 'effectivel immediately'.




25. Can multiple Office Bearer roles be held by the same person?


The only time this is acceptable (without approval) is when the school is a small school or when it is a 'large school' (with approval) Rule 12.0 In both cases, it is only acceptable for the combination of Secretary and Treasurer. No other offices may be combined and held by the same person.




26. What is ratification?


Ratification is:

  • the approval of the minutes as a true and accurate record of what happened at the meeting; and
  • the signing of those approved minutes by the Chair.
This is not a chance for people to argue whether they agree or disagree with the resolutions passed in the minutes.




27. Can an aspect of an Office Bearer's role be delegated to another member?


Yes, as an example there may be times the Treasurer may not be able to do the banking because they are away on holidays(Rule 17.4). The P&C should foresee such occurences and resolve to delegate roles to financial members at one of the first meetings of the year. These resolutions should always be minuted so a pemanent record is kept of the arrangement.





P&C finances

52. Can the P&C set its own financial year?


Yes, Rule 3.8 gives the P&C power to set its own financial year and Rule 4.0 allows the P&C to make a sole change to the Constitution where they vote to set this financial year.

4.0 FINANCIAL YEAR

The financial year will be the period of 12 months commencing on __________.

Once a financial year has been set, it will take a special resolution to change it.

* ‘Special Resolution’ a motion at a General Meeting to amend the rules, change the name or objects, or to wind up an Association. A three quarter majority is required to carry the motion.




53. The Executive Committee is required to make a Solvency Statement to be presented at every AGM. What is this?


At the AGM, the Executive Committee will be required to present a solvency statement, in respect of the Association and endorsed by the Executive Committee stating that the financial statement has been examined and whether or not in their opinion the P&C will be able to meet the Association’s debts and liabilities as and when they become due and payable (Rule 17.10.3).

A template for this statement can be found here in the resources section of the WACSSO website.




55. Can signatories who have a direct relationship co-sign financial transactions?


No, Rule 17.6.1 states, "Where there is a direct relationship between two authorised signatories, they shall not be permitted to co-sign any cheques of the Association". The Glossary attached to the P&C Constitution defines a direct relationship as "business, immediate or extended family, and marriage/de facto relationships."




56. Who are the permitted signatories on P&C accounts?


Rule 17.6 states:

Ensuring all cheques on all accounts of the Association (including any committee of the Association) are signed by any two (2) of the following authorised signatories:

  1. President;
  2. Vice President;
  3. Honorary Secretary;
  4. Honorary Treasurer; or
  5. One (1) member of the Executive Committee where appointed for such purpose at the Annual General Meeting of the Association.
Simply put, there should be a minimum of four Office Bearers as signatories and then an optional fifth signatory to be elected from the Executive Committee. The Principal is not permitted to be a signatory (Rule 6.0).




58. Can our P&C use internet banking?


Rule 17.7 of the P&C Constitution allows for this, "Electronic Funds Transfer may be used where the financial institution’s software provides the required functionality and security, and can occur with two authorisations."

Just like any other financial transaction of the P&C, two authorised signatures are required.




59. What is the correct procedure for counting money?


P&C Constitution Rule 17.3 states: "Counting and signing off on all monies received with at least one other member of the Association."

As this rule comes under the duties of the Honorary Treausrer, this means that the Treasurer must count and sign off on all monies with one other member of the P&C.




60. Who does the P&C banking?


Under Rule 17.4, "Paying all monies received into such bank account or accounts as the Association may from time to time decide upon.", this is the duty of the Honorary Treasurer. However there will be times when due to work, family or other commitments, the Treasurer will be unable to bank money. In this case, it should be resolved at a General or Executive meeting that another person does this job. This should appear in the minutes of the meeting.




61. Does a Treasurer's Report need to be presented at every General Meeting?


Yes, refer to P&C Constitution Rule 17.11, "Presenting a written financial statement showing the current financial position of the Association to each General Meeting of the Association." This is a duty of the Honorary Treasurer.




62. How do we reimburse members who have spent their own funds for P&C business?


Rule 26.1 states: All decisions or actions must be endorsed by the Executive or General Committee. Individuals cannot act independently. For a P&C member to be reimbursed for personal funds spent, they must first have approval to spend the funds (must be minuted).

If a member has not heeded this process, the P&C has the right to refuse reimbursement.

If approval has been given, the member will be required to show receipts of expenditure prior to reimbursement. The P&C should provide reimbursement by EFT or cheque, not cash.




54. What do we do if the Executive Committee refuses to sign a solvency declaration?


If they have real concerns, it may be a case of the books not being in order because the Treasurer has not done their job properly. The P&C may need to hire a professional to do the books or a suitably qualified person to conduct a review/audit.




57. This question has been removed. See Q&As 50 and 72






Adopting the 2019 P&C Constitution

6. Does the P&C adopt the new Constitution at the AGM?


No, this is not advisable as the AGM is for AGM business only. The P&C should call a Special General Meeting or place it on the agenda for the next General Meeting.




7. Should the P&C send out the new Constitution to all members prior to the meeting at which it will be tabled?


Yes, preferably at least 7 days before the meeting. All financial members require the opportunity to read it and ask questions of the Executive and WACSSO before it is presented for adoption.




2. Is it mandatory for the P&C to adopt the new 2019 P&C Constitution?


If the P&C does not adopt the new P&C Constitution developed by WACSSO it will be unable to affiliate with WACSSO and receive the services that come with affiliation. The P&C will be unable to use the P&C Constitution they are currently using as it is non-compliant with the Associations Incorporation Act 2015.




5. What is the process for adopting the new Constitution?


The full process can be found here




4. When does the new Constitution have to be adopted by?


The deadline for P&Cs and other incorporated associations to update the rules (Constitution) to meet the Associations Incorporation Act 2015 requirements is 30 June 2019. However, WACSSO has a general extension that covers all affiliated P&Cs. P&Cs must adopt the new Constiution ASAP.




1. What is a Constitution?


A Constitution (also known as Rules of Association) is a set of rules that a P&C must abide by. P&Cs must be incorporated (School Education Act 1999) before they can operate and they are unable to be incorporated unless they have a Constitution (Associations Incorporation Act 2015). One of the advantages of being affiliated with WACSSO is that we write and update your P&C Constitution when required. The last minor update was in 2012 and the last major update was 2001. When writing your Constitution, WACSSO must makes sure that it complies with:

  • School Education Act 1999
  • School Education Regulations 2000
  • Associations Incorporation Act 2015
  • Associations Incorporation Regulations 2016
Before P&Cs can receive any revised Constitution it must be approved by the Minister of Education and DMIRS.




8. Why do we need a new P&C Constitution?


Recent major changes to the Associations Incorporation Act 2015 and Associations Incorporation Regulations 2016 required a new Constitution to be written. Over the years, WACSSO has also received requests from P&Cs requesting certain changes be made to make the Constitution easier to understand and to increase the effectiveness of P&Cs. The new Constitution takes into account these legislative changes and grass-roots submissions.




46. How many changes are in the new Constitution?


Compared to the P&C Constitution you have used until recently, there are 57 changes and new additions.




3. When we adopt the new Constitution, will it override what decisions were made at the AGM?


Yes, it will supersede some actions taken under the former Constitution that are no longer relevant. Please see the guide to compliance. Example:

  • At a P&C's AGM in March 2019, a canteen employee is elected to be the P&C Vice President.
  • The P&C then adopts the new Constitution in June 2019.
  • As Rule 19.1(i) of the new Constitution states that employees can't hold a position on the Executive Committee, a new Vice President will need to be appointed.





Financial statements, reviews and audits

63. Does our P&C have to do an audit?


It will depend on the annual revenue of your P&C. Associations are now classed in one of three tiers:

  • Tier 1 - revenue of less than $250 000
  • Tier 2 - revenue of $250 000 to $1 000 000
  • Tier 3 - revenue of more than $1 000 000
Tier 1 associations

Tier 1 associations must prepare financial statements, using either the cash or accrual methods of accounting, for presentation to members at the Annual General Meeting.

A tier 1 association using the cash method of accounting must prepare:

  • a statement of receipts and payments;
  • a reconciled statement of bank account balances; and
  • a statement of assets and liabilities.

A tier 1 association using the accrual method of accounting must prepare:

  • a statement of income and expenditure; and
  • a balance sheet.

The financial statements must give a true and fair view of the financial position and performance of the association, but are not required to comply with the Australian accounting standards.

The financial statements need not be reviewed or audited unless members make a resolution to that effect or if the Commissioner directs a review or audit.

Tier 2 and tier 3 associations

Tier 2 associations must have their financial reports reviewed and Tier 3 associations must have their financial reports audited.

The new law requires tier 2 and tier 3 associations to prepare financial statements for presentation to members that give a true and fair view of the financial position and performance of the association and comply with Australian Accounting Standards.

Pursuant to the accounting standards, the financial statements must include:

  • a statement of financial position (i.e. a balance sheet);
  • a statement of comprehensive income (i.e. income statement/profit & loss);
  • a statement of changes in equity; and
  • a statement of cash flows for the period.

These statements, together with the notes to the statements and the management committee’s declaration (as to solvency and compliance with Part 5) together form the financial report of a tier 2 or tier 3 association.

Review and audit

The regulations require that a review must be undertaken by a member of professional accounting body and an audit must be undertaken by a member of a professional accounting body holding a public practice certificate.




65. What is WACSSO's recommendation when it comes to reviews and audits?


The legislation is clear and all P&C's must abide by the financial accountability measures of the tier their P&C falls within. For Tier 1 associations, the financial statements need not be reviewed or audited unless members make a resolution to that effect or if the Commissioner directs a review or audit. WACSSO recommends that all Tier 1 P&Cs conduct a review as a minimum.




67. Our Tier 1 P&C has chosen to complete a review. Who can do this?


Before the P&C appoints the reviewer or auditor they must make sure they meet the qualification requirements under the Associations Incorporation Act.

For reviewers - a review must be conducted by an independent person who is:

  • a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA or FCA), CPA Australia (CPA or FCPA) or Institute of Public Accountants (MIPA or FIPA);
  • a registered company auditor; or
  • approved by the Commissioner.
For auditors - an audit must be conducted by an independent person who is:
  • a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA or FCA) who holds a current Certificate of Public Practice; or
  • a member of CPA Australia (CPA or FCPA) or Institute of Public Accountants (MIPA or FIPA) who holds a Public Practice Certificate; or
  • a registered company auditor; or
  • approved by the Commissioner.
If you are unsure whether the qualifications or affiliations are up to date the association can always make enquiries with the relevant peak organisation before engaging the auditor or reviewer. The association should consider whether the services of the auditor or reviewer will be required on a regular basis or only for the purpose of reviewing or auditing the report to be presented at the AGM. If the association wants to engage the regular services of the auditor or reviewer arrangements should be made for a general meeting to be called and the appointment voted on by the membership. In the event the auditor or reviewer resigns ensure Consumer Protection is notified within 14 days. The association should submit a Notification of resignation of auditor or reviewer form. source: https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/publications/working-reviewers-and-auditors-tier-2-and-3-associations




66. What are Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 associations?


An association is classified into one of three tiers for the purposes of determining its financial reporting obligations:

  • Tier 1 - revenue of less than $250 000
  • Tier 2 - revenue of $250 000 to $1 000 000
  • Tier 3 - revenue of more than $1 000 000
Revenue is income which arises in the course of the ordinary activities of an incorporated association and is to be calculated in accordance with the Australian Accounting Standards. Examples of revenue include: government and other grants, donations, bequests or legacies, sales of goods or inflows from other fundraising activities, fees and charges for the provision of services, interest earned and dividends. source: https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/publications/financial-reporting-under-new-associations-law




64. What is annual revenue?


Revenue is income which arises in the course of the ordinary activities of an incorporated association and is to be calculated in accordance with the Australian Accounting Standards. Examples of revenue include: government and other grants, donations, bequests or legacies, sales of goods or inflows from other fundraising activities, fees and charges for the provision of services, interest earned and dividends. source: https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/publications/financial-reporting-under-new-associations-law




69. The School Education Act 1999 says our P&C must complete an audit. Is this true?


The School Education Act 1999 states the P&C must: give to the principal of the school, or of each of the schools, a copy of the audited annual financial statements of the association as soon as is practicable after those statements have been approved by the association. s.147 (b) This part of the Act is to be interpreted with the 2019 P&C Constitution and Associations Incorporation Act 2015 in mind (see Q&A 63). All P&Cs, regardless of being Tier 1, 2 or 3 must give the Principal a copy of their Annual Financial Statements whether they are reviewed, audited or otherwise.




70. Can our appointed auditor or reviewer be honorary?


Yes, but they must still have the appropriate qualifications.




71. Our P&C doesn't have to do an audit. Do we still give the Principal a copy of the approved Annual Financial Statements?


Yes. It is important that ALL approved* Annual Financial Statements (audited, reviewed or otherwise) be forwarded to:

  1. WACSSO Inc.;
  2. the Principal of the school, or the Principal of each of the schools where an Association is formed for a group of schools; and
  3. any other body such as the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety or the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) as required.
*approved means they have been tabled and approved by a majority vote at the AGM.




72. Can an Executive Meeting make decisions to spend the funds of the P&C


Yes, but this should be done with caution and only in urgent situations. P&Cs do not want to fall into the trap of allowing the Executive Committee to spend large amounts of money. The P&C can introduce a by-law that limits the maximum amount of money the Executive can allocate for spending at a meeting.




68. Our P&C is a Tier 2 or 3 association and must complete a review (Tier 2) or an audit (Tier 3). Who can do this?


Before the P&C appoints the reviewer or auditor they must make sure they meet the qualification requirements under the Associations Incorporation Act.

For reviewers - a review must be conducted by an independent person who is:

  • a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA or FCA), CPA Australia (CPA or FCPA) or Institute of Public Accountants (MIPA or FIPA);
  • a registered company auditor; or
  • approved by the Commissioner.
For auditors - an audit must be conducted by an independent person who is:
  • a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA or FCA) who holds a current Certificate of Public Practice; or
  • a member of CPA Australia (CPA or FCPA) or Institute of Public Accountants (MIPA or FIPA) who holds a Public Practice Certificate; or
  • a registered company auditor; or
  • approved by the Commissioner.
If you are unsure whether the qualifications or affiliations are up to date the association can always make enquiries with the relevant peak organisation before engaging the auditor or reviewer. The association should consider whether the services of the auditor or reviewer will be required on a regular basis or only for the purpose of reviewing or auditing the report to be presented at the AGM. If the association wants to engage the regular services of the auditor or reviewer arrangements should be made for a general meeting to be called and the appointment voted on by the membership. In the event the auditor or reviewer resigns ensure Consumer Protection is notified within 14 days. The association should submit a Notification of resignation of auditor or reviewer form. source: https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/publications/working-reviewers-and-auditors-tier-2-and-3-associations




73. An audit or review is required. How do we find someone to do this?


As defined under the Associations Incorporation Act (2015), a person qualified to conduct a review or audit must be:

(2) A person is qualified for appointment as a reviewer or auditor if
the person is —
(a) a member of a professional accounting body who has a
designation in respect of that membership that is
prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this
paragraph; or
(b) a registered company auditor under the Corporations
Act; or
(c) a person the Commissioner considers has appropriate
qualifications or experience and approves for the
purposes of this section.

AIA2015 s.88

There are many professionals out there that fit these criteria.

Here are some links that will help you:

(You can search by postcode)

It is a good idea to ask:

  • Are you qualified under the Associations Incorporation Act 2015 to conduct an audit or review for an incorporated association?
  • What is the cost of this service? (you will find they will vary greatly, so seek different quotes)
  • How long will it take and what will you need from us?




74. Our P&C is a Tier 1 Association, what financial statements do we need to present at meetings?


Tier 1 associations must prepare financial statements, using either the cash or accrual methods of accounting, for presentation to members at the *annual general meeting.

A tier 1 association using the cash method of accounting must prepare:

  • a statement of receipts and payments;
  • a reconciled statement of bank account balances; and
  • a statement of assets and liabilities.

A tier 1 association using the accrual method of accounting must prepare:

  • a statement of income and expenditure; and
  • a balance sheet.

The financial statements must give a true and fair view of the financial position and performance of the association, but are not required to comply with the Australian accounting standards.

https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/publications/financial-reporting-under-new-associations-law

* The same reports must be presented at every General Meeting of the P&C, but they only need to cover the period between General Meetings.




75. We are a Tier 1 Association who previously had our audit done by a person who does not meet the current requirements of an auditor/reviewer under the AIA2015. Can they still conduct an audit or review?


No, unless approved by the Commissioner through application. If a Tier 1 Association wishes to have someone independent of the P&C look over their books at EOFY they can resolve to do this, however they are not permitted to call it an audit or review as these now have official definitions and set criteria under the AIA2015. Using a name such as 'Annual Financial Health Check' with assessment criteria set down by your P&C may suffice. Please check with the person completing the task what their liability is. If a Tier 1 Association resolves to have a review or audit (official) completed, they must use people qualified to complete the task. This is the option that is recommended by WACSSO.





Sub-committees of the P&C

118. Is a P&C required to have Sub-committees?


No, but Sub-committees are useful when you have the active membership to support them. Sub-committees take responsibility for an area of the P&Cs work (e.g. Canteen Sub-committee), and can have certain powers delegated to them. This allows interested and relevantly skilled members to get involved and for work to be outsourced from the General Meeting.




119. How is a Sub-committee formed?


1. At a General Meeting of the P&C or AGM, a motion is passed That a Sub-committee be formed consisting of ….. members to be known as the …………………... School Parents & Citizens’ Association ……………………Sub- Committee.

Terms of Reference are adopted, and the members (including at least one Executive Committee member) are elected.

The number of members on the Sub-committee can be changed at any time by resolution of the P&C. Membership of the Sub-committee is open to all financial and ex officio members of the P&C.

2. Terms of Reference

All Sub-committees require Terms of Reference to enable them to function. Terms of Reference are instructions from the P&C outlining how the committee is to operate. WACSSO has developed sample Terms of Reference for many Sub-committees, which can be found on the WACSSO website

3. After the Terms of Reference have been adopted and the required number of Sub-committee members have been elected, these members decide the date and place of the first meeting. At the first meeting of the Sub-committee a Convener is elected. As this is only a Sub-committee of the main P&C Association the Sub-committee does not elect a President, there is only one President of a P&C Association.

4. The Sub-committee meets at a time and place determined by the members. The Sub-committee must produce a written report to each meeting of the P&C. This report will include any recommendations (motions) to be approved by the General Meeting. All members can attend P&C meetings, as they are all financial or ex officio members of the P&C.

Issues to be observed:

  • Where the P&C has given approval for a Sub-committee to operate a bank account the name of the account of the Sub-committee account must be: ...........................................................................School Parents and .......................................Primary School Parents and Citizens' Association Inc. (…………………… Account)
  • Signatories on all bank accounts operated by a Sub-committee must be authorised signatories only (P&C Constitution Rule 17.6). A Sub-committee can’t use its own signatories.

5. Sub-committees of P&C Associations do not have Annual General Meetings. All positions on all Sub-committees are declared vacant at the Annual General Meeting of the P&C, at which time these positions are again filled by election.

6. The Public Liability Insurance cover included in the affiliation fee paid by the P&C to WACSSO extends to cover all Sub-committees of the P&C, except for the Safety House Committee. Sub-committees must ensure that any planned activities are approved by a P&C General Meeting to ensure there are no complications with insurance claims. A P&C’s incorporation status extends to include all Sub-committees of the P&C. To enable this to occur the establishment of the Sub-committee and adoption of Terms of Reference must appear in the P&Cs minutes.




120. Who can be on a Sub-committee?


Sub-committee members must nominate or be elected on to the Sub-committee (Rule 18.3). This can be done at any General Meeting. It is crucial that members of that Sub-committee are financial members of the P&C (Rule 18.4). There must be at least one Executive Committee member on every Sub-committee (Rule 18.5) in addition to the P&C President who is an automatic member (ex officio) of every Sub-committee (Rule 18.6). The Principal has the right to be a member of Sub-committees.




121. What is a Terms of Reference and are we required to have one?


A Terms of Reference is a document that outlines, among other things, the composition, rules and powers of a P&C Sub-committee. A Terms of Reference can never contradict or diminish the power of the P&C Constitution. A P&C Sub-committee must have a Terms of Reference (18.2) and it must be approved at a General Meeting of the P&C. WACSSO has many Terms of Reference templates on the WACSSO website ( wacsso.wa.edu.au) that a P&C can edit to suit their Sub-committee.




122. Should we have a member of the Executive on a Sub-committee?


Yes, Rule 18.5 requires this. It should also be noted that the President of the P&C is an ex officio of all Sub-committees and therefore has the right to attend and have input at every Sub-committee meeting (Rule 18.6). They do not have to be voted on to the Sub-committee.




123. One of our Sub-committees demands they keep all money they raise. Is this right?


No, the funds of all Sub-committees belong to the P&C. Spending these funds should be approved by a General Meeting of the P&C (or an Executive Meeting if a decision is required between General Meetings). (Rule 18.8)




124. Can a Sub-committee spend P&C funds?


Spending of P&C funds must be approved by a General or Executive Meeting of the P&C. A Sub-committee may have a Terms of Reference that allows them to spend money on administrative purposes. This should be restricted by amount and time period and should be clearly stated in the Terms of Reference. Example : "The Fundraising Sub-committee has approval to expend up to $200 per term for administrative purposes" The Sub-committee Treasurer will need to keep all receipts for the P&C Treasurer.





P&C Employees

125. Can the P&C employ people?


Yes, it is common for P&Cs to do this so they can operate a canteen or uniform shop. It is the responsibility of the P&C to research correct entitlements and awards.




126. Our Canteen supervisor is currently the Vice President of the P&C. Is this permitted under the new Constitution?


No. Due to the Executive Committee (not the whole P&C) being the official employer of any staff, WACSSO has deemed it a conflict of interest for P&C staff to be an employer and employee simultaneously and have always recommended this does not occur. This has now been upgraded from a recommendation to a rule:

19.1 Employees of the Association:

  1. are not eligible to hold a position on the Executive Committee;




127. Can our Canteen Supervisor pay suppliers from P&C accounts using cheques or EFT?


No, as they are not permitted to be a signatory on accounts.

19.1 Employees of the Association:

2. are not eligible to be a signatory to any bank accounts held by the Association;




128. Our Canteen employee is part of our P&C. Is that ok?


Yes (Rule 19.1, iv), they can be part of the P&C, but if matters arise that deal with their area of employment they must declare an interest and act accordingly as below:

26.4 A member of the Association who has a relevant ‘financial or non-financial’ interest in a matter before the Association must as soon as the member becomes aware of the interest disclose the nature and extent of the interest to the Association. The member must not be present while the matter is being considered at the meeting or vote on the matter.

Pease ensure the Secretary records in the minutes that the member has declared an interest.




129. Our Canteen employee wishes to be part of the Canteen Sub-committee, but we think there is a possible conflict of interest there. What do we do?


The employee can be part of the sub-committee that deals with their area of employment, but it must be in a non-voting capacity only. This means they can give advice and take part in discussions, but must not be present when voting on any matters takes place.




130. Who is the employer of P&C employees?


The employer is the Executive Committee of the P&C with the President as the Principal Employer. Employee business or information should never be discussed at a General Meeting of the P&C.




131. Can we delegate the duty of employing additional canteen staff to our Canteen Supervisor?


No, the employers are the P&C Executive Committee. Rule 19.1,states, Employees of the Association: iii. do not have the authority to employ staff;





Books and Documents

76. If I request it, does the P&C have to give me a copy of the all the financial records of the  P&C?


The answer to this question only applies to current financial members of the P&C. If a person is not a member, they do not have access to any records of the P&C. Rule 20.1 allows for books and documents of the P&C to be inspected at any time on such terms and conditions established by the Executive Committee. It is at the discretion of the Executive whether to prepare copies of the records for the member




77. How long do the minutes of the P&C need to be kept for?


Minutes need to be kept in perpetuity (Rule 20.2). This means they must be kept forever. Even if the P&C closes, the minutes must be held by the school or forwarded to WACSSO.




78. Do minutes need to be kept in hardcopy or can we keep a digital record of them.


Minutes should be kept in hardcopy with a digital copy back-up.




79. How long do we need to keep our financial records for?


True and accurate financial records of your P&C must be kept for seven (7) years from the date of the last transaction (Rule 20.4). Employment records must also be kept during a person’s employment and then for seven (7) years after their employment ceases (Rule 20.5).




80. What is correspondence and how long does it need to be kept for?


Correspondence is any received or sent written communication to/from an individual or organisation external to the P&C that is part of the core business of the association. Correspondence can be in hard or soft copy. Correspondence should only be kept for 12 months (Rule 20.3) unless it is ongoing business (keep for time required), or financial (7 years), or employment records (term of employment plus 7 years).




82. Can any person see our Register of Members?


No, the Register of Members can only be inspected by a financial member of the P&C and only upon request to the Secretary. If a member requires a copy of the Register of Members, the Executive Committee may require the member to provide a statutory declaration setting out the purpose for which the copy or extract is required and declaring that the purpose is connected with the affairs of the Association. It is an offence under the Associations Incorporation Act 2015 for a member to disclose or use the information obtained from the Register of Members or record of office holders for a purpose that is not directly connected with the affairs of the Association (Rule 20.1.1).




81. What information needs to be recorded in the Register of Members?


A Register of Members is a living document that is continually updated and edited and kept while the P&C is incorporated. All changes in membership must be recorded within 28 days of the change being made.

When a person joins the P&C at a General Meeting and pays the appropriate fee, their details must be added to the Register of Members. As any member has the legal right to make application to access the Register of Members, the personal details placed on the Register must be limited.

The Register of Members must show for each member:

  • Full name;

  • Date joined, date left or date membership expired;

  • Email address OR residential address OR PO Box address (only one required); and

  • Class of membership (financial or ex officio)

  • And If applicable, date suspension started and finished

Phone numbers must not be listed in the Register of Members.

In the P&C Handbook there is a Membership Form that new members fill out. This document contains many more personal details. This document is confidential and is NOT the Register of Members and is accessible ONLY by the Office Bearers of the P&C.




83. Should we give P&C members a copy of the Constitution?


Yes, as soon as a member joins. It is acceptable for the association to provide a copy of the Constitution to new members by electronic transmission or providing the details for the website where the rules may be downloaded. A hard copy must be provided if the member requests that the rules be provided in that manner.




84. Who can view Membership forms?


Potential members should always fill out a membership form (available in the P&C Handbook). This document is confidential and it should only ever be viewed by the Office Bearers of the P&C. This form is not the Register of Members, which other members may have access to. The membership form should be destroyed after the next AGM.




85. Where do we store the records of the Association


It is always best that records of the P&C are stored at the school in a safe place. Many P&Cs use a filing cabinet in the canteen or school office area. Records can be taken home by the responsible Office Bearer, but it is a good idea to have a policy that they are returned when not being used.





DMIRS

134. Does our P&C have to share information with DMIRS?


Yes, you will need to submit an information statement to Consumer Protection (DMIRS) every year (online). This statement confirms the association is still active, eligible to be incorporated and has held its Annual General Meeting. Information statements must be lodged within six (6) months after the end of an association’s financial year. Make sure you have the following information ready when you complete your association’s statement:

  • The association’s current address for service (this can be a street address or a PO Box);
  • The date of the most recent annual general meeting; and
  • The total revenue for the last financial year.
Please visit AssociationsOnline for more information.





P&C Meetings, Quorums and Membership

28. When do we have to hold our AGM?


The Annual General Meeting of the Association must be held within four months of the end of the financial year within which the Association reports (Rule 23.1.1).

Minutes will be taken at the AGM and need to be ratified at the next scheduled General Meeting (Rule 23.1.3).




29. How often do we have to hold a General Meeting?


This has not changed from the previous Constitution. The P&C must hold at least one General Meeting per term (Rule 23.2.1).




30. Have the requirements of Special General Meetings changed since the previous Constitution?


No, the requirements are the same and can be found in Rule 23.3.




31. Do we need to give notice if we want to spend the P&Cs funds?


Yes, this is an important change. Rules 24.1 & 24.2 state that motions for approval to expend the P&C’s funds (financial motions) must be given in writing to the membership at least 7 days prior (General Meeting) or 48 hours prior (Executive Meeting).

Financial motions can be raised at a P&C meeting and discussed, but the P&C is unable to put them to a vote and approve them at that meeting.

It is likely that this will make a significant change to how your P&C operates.

Some tips:

1) Create a fundraising calendar at the beginning of each year. Fopr each planned event estimate an amount you will need to spend to run the event successfully (include a buffer for contingencies). Present this calendar and anticipated spending at the first General Meeting of the year for approval. A motion for each event could be phrased as (an example): "that the P&C spend up to $500 on consumables and equipment for a sausage sizzle fundraiser in Term 2, 2020". 2) Make sure these rules are well ‘advertised’ – school/Principal; 3) Be firm with the rule (don't bend it); 4) Request a ‘wish list’ from school at the start/end of year and pass that spending in the same way as decsribed in point 1;
5) In financial motions use the term ‘up to’ (a dollar amount), and allow a buffer for contingencies; and 6) Sub-committee ToRs to have spending permissions, with restrictions e.g. “the Sub-committee has the power to spend up to $100 per term on consumable items directly aligned with the operations of the Sub-committee”

Non-financial motions may still be proposed at a General Meeting or Executive Meeting without prior notice (Rule 24.3)




32. What is the definition of a ‘small school’?


In the glossary of the new Constitution a ‘small school’ is defined as a school with an average daily attendance of two hundred (200) or less students recorded at the start of the school year. This is a change from the 2001 Constitution that used the figure of one hundred (100) students.

This change has come about due to the struggle some regional schools and smaller metropolitan schools have in attaining quorum.




33. What is ‘not a small school’?


‘Not a small school’ is also sometimes referred to in WACSSO guides as a ‘large school’. This means that the student population of the school is over two hundred (200) students.




34. What are the meeting quorums for a 'small school'?


For any General Meeting (Annual General Meeting, Special General meeting included), the quorum is five (5) financial members. For an Executive Committee Meeting, the quorum is three (3) of the Executive (Rules 25.1 & 25.2).




35. What are the meeting quorums for 'not a small school' (large school)?


For any General Meeting (Annual General Meeting, Special General meeting included), the quorum is eight (8) financial members. For an Executive Committee Meeting, the quorum is five (5) of the Executive (Rules 25.1 & 25.2).




36. What happens if we can’t make quorum before the meeting starts?


If this happens the meeting may:

  1. lapse;
  2. be reconvened at another date; or
  3. converted to an Executive Meeting, if there is a quorum of Executive Members.

If a quorum lapses during a General Meeting, then the meeting will end. All unfinished business will be placed on the agenda for the next General Meeting.

(Rule 25.3)




37. Can a member attend a meeting by phone?


Yes, or by any other means of real-time technology (Skype, video-conference etc), however it must be a form of technology that allows for their identification (voice, face). The Secretary should record in the minutes; time they joined, form of technology, and time they left the meeting.

It is not permitted for a person to become a member of the P&C by this form of communication. They must be a financial member of the P&C prior to the meeting they join by real-time technology.




38. Can a person become a member of the P&C over the phone at a meeting?


No, please see the previous question.




39. Can a member of the P&C make a decision without approval of the P&C?


No, all decisions or actions must be endorsed by the Executive or General Committee. Individuals cannot act independently. (Rule 26.1)




40. What is a Special Resolution?


A Special Resolution is a resolution that makes a major change to the P&C such as changing the rules, changing the name or cancelling incorporation. Because these are significant changes that will require lodgement with DMIRS, three-quarters of members present must vote in favour. The resolution must also be recorded in the minutes as a Special Resolution.

If a Special Resolution is to be presented to members, they must be given 7 days’ notice of the motion (Rule 26.3).




41. Can we pass a Special Resolution at an Executive Committee Meeting?


No, Special Resolutions are for significant changes and must be passed at a General Meeting (AGM, Special General Meeting included) where every P&C member has the chance to take part in debate and vote (Rule 26.3).




42. What is a conflict of interest and do I need to disclose this?


The Associations Incorporations Act 2015 refers to these as ‘matters of material personal interest’. If there is a matter for consideration before an Executive or General Meeting that a member is likely to gain from financially or personally, they must declare an interest in the matter, ask the Secretary to record this declaration in the minutes, and then leave the venue while that matter is being debated and voted on (Rule 26.4).




43. How many votes are needed to pass/carry a motion?


For any motion that is not a Special Resolution, a simple majority is required to carry a motion. A simple majority is 50% + 1 of the members present at the meeting. For example, if there were 12 members at the meeting, then a simple majority is 7. (Rule 27.2)




44. I can’t get to the meeting, but really need to vote on an item. Can I get someone to vote on my behalf?


No, this is called proxy voting and is not permitted in P&Cs. If you can’t make it to the meeting consider joining by a form of real-time communication (phone, Skype etc). (Rule 27.4)




45. Who can vote at a meeting?


Financial members (including the chair of the meeting) and ex-officio members present at the meeting can exercise a deliberative vote on:

  1. any motion at the meeting,
  2. any proposal before the meeting; or
  3. any election held at the meeting.
No other person shall be entitled to vote at any meeting of the Association.

A deliberative vote is a vote given to a financial member of the Association. It is an equal vote. No financial member has a more powerful vote than any other member.

(Rule 27.1)




47. Can a member of the school staff be an Office Bearer of the P&C?


Yes, school staff can be financial members of the P&C, Executive Committee members and Office Bearers. The only exception is a Principal, who can't be an Office Bearer or signatory.




48. Should we have copies of the Constitution at our meetings?


Yes, weven though members are entilted to have a copy, the P&C should have half-a-dozen re-usable copies laminated to keep on the table at every meeting.




49. If the President wishes to participate in debate should they vacate the Chair?


Yes, so they are not in the position to 'lead from the chair', they should vacate the position and have another Office Bearer fill the position for the duration of the debate. This action should be minuted.




50. Why do P&Cs now need to give notice of intention to spend funds?


There are a number of reasons for this:

  • It is simply good practice and enhances financial governance;
  • it allows members to complete due diligence;
  • it gives time for members to formulate questions for the meeting;
  • it reduces the possibility of bias, real or perceived; and
  • it reduces the chances of 'judgement' or 'intimidation', real or perceived.
If there is a significant* amount of P&C funds included in the motion, the P&C may wish to use a (secret) ballot to further reduce the worry that members are being 'judged' on their vote. *significant - this will vary according to the revenue of each P&C.




51. We've called two General Meetings this term, but have failed to make quorum at both and so have converted them to Executive Committee Meetings. Is this sufficient?


Rule 22.2.1 states that a P&C will have at least one General Meeting per term, so the P&C will still need to hold an official General Meeting.





Disputes and Mediation

86. There is an ongoing conflict between members. How can the Executive Committee deal with this?


First, it is important to differentiate between the conflict being a personal issue between members with its source external to the P&C or being a conflict that has its source within the P&C.

Conflicts on personal issues can be difficult for the P&C to deal with, however the members should be reminded that when working for the P&C they should always be seeking to put aside their differences and do what is best for the children and the school. This is why they joined the P&C in the first place.

The same reasoning can be applied for issues that derive from within the P&C, however your Constitution now has a process that allows the Executive to handle these disputes in a formal manner (Rule 28.0).

The Disputes and Mediation process is for disputes between:

  1. A member and another member; or
  2. A member and the Association; or
  3. Non-members who receive services from the Association, and the Association.

The parties to the dispute should always try to resolve the dispute before commencing this process.




87. Is it up to the Executive Committee to decide whether the Disputes and Mediation process should commence?


No, any member can force the start of the process by giving notice to the P&C Secretary. The Executive Committee must then follow proper process.




88. Is there an easy to follow flowchart for this process?


Yes, an interactive flowchart that will play on any device can be found here.




89. Can someone other than the Executive Committee determine the outcome of the dispute I am involved in?


No. While a mediator can be appointed, their job is to help the parties to the dispute arrive at their own mutually agreeable outcome. A mediator is not to determine the outcome of the dispute. Associations Incorporation Regulations 2016 r.24 (4)

Application may be made to the State Administrative Tribunal to have a dispute determined if the dispute has not been resolved through Rule 28.0 of the P&C Constitution.




90. If I am involved in the dispute, do I get the chance to represent myself?


Yes. The Executive Committee will allow each party to make an oral or written submission. You can also nominate someone else to represent you.




91. Who pays for mediation?


The party/ies that requested the appointment of a mediator will be responsible for the associated costs.

In the case of this process being invoked by a member/former member that has been suspended/expelled, then the Executive Committee must not determine the dispute and a mediator must be appointed. As stated previously, the mediator is not to determine the dispute, but must only attempt to help the parties come to an agreement.

As it was initially the member that requested the mediation, they are responsible for the costs associated with mediation.

View the information document here




92. Who can be a mediator?


A mediator must be a person that acts as a mediator for another not-for-profit body. They can be a member or former member of the Executive Committee, but must not:

(a) have a personal interest in the matter that is the subject of the mediation; or

(b) be biased in favour of or against any party to the mediation. (Rule 28.8)




93. Is the Disputes and Mediation process confidential?


Yes. If the Executive Committee is appointed to determine the dispute, any information gathered is confidential and must be destroyed when the dispute is resolved. Mediation is confidential by nature.




94. If the dispute is unresolved, what happens?


Application may be made to the State Administrative Tribunal to have a dispute determined if the dispute has not been resolved through Rule 28.0 of the P&C Constitution.




95. What is natural justice?


Natural justice is a set procedure that is fair and free from bias.





Common Seal

132. What is a Common Seal?


“A common seal is the official stamp or ‘signature’ of an association. As a body corporate an association is entitled to a common seal. The association must have a common seal if its rules require it to have one, and maintain a list of those office bearers who are authorised to use it. The Act also requires the association’s rules to provide for the ‘custody and use of a common seal’. Common seals are not expensive to purchase and can be obtained from most stationery shops or rubber stamp suppliers.

The Act specifies that a common seal is only required for contracts which, if made between natural persons, would be required to be made in writing and under seal. In Western Australia it is not necessary for an incorporated association to use a common seal to execute contracts made between natural persons.

An incorporated association may decide to use the seal to execute contracts and other formal documents as the official signature of the association. It is good practice to limit the use of the common seal through the association’s rules by requiring that the stamp only be used if the committee formally resolves to ‘affix’ it to a document.

The rules should clearly indicate whether or not the association must use the common seal when executing contracts. The fixing of the seal should be witnessed only by those who are authorised in the rules to witness the sealing of the document. Association rules usually require the sealing of a document to be witnessed by more than one officer bearer.”

https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/book/export/html/5422




133. Is our P&C required to have a common seal?


No, the P&C Constitution states, “The Association may have a Common Seal”. (Rule 29.0)





Interpretation and Alteration of Constitution

135. Can we interpret this Constitution ourselves?


No. This is Constitution has been developed to eliminate ‘grey areas’ and ambiguities in the previous Constitution. Rule 30.1 requires P&Cs to contact WACSSO if they have questions regarding interpretation of these rules.




136. Can we change the Constitution?


P&Cs can propose changes to their own Constitution through a Special Resolution. Any proposal must be forwarded to WACSSO, DMIRS and Department of Education for approval. (Rule 31.0)

It is rare for these proposals to be approved.





Financial Year

9. What is our current financial year?


Most P&Cs have a financial year that runs from January 1 – December 31. This means they will have their AGM before April 30 each year (within four months of the end of the financial year). This is the default financial year for all P&Cs. If yours has changed there should be documentation in your archives and it should have been lodged with WACSSO.

Some P&Cs have changed their financial year to align with the tax year (ends June 30). Larger P&Cs with multiple employees may have made this change.




10. How do we set our financial year when we adopt the new Constitution?


The Executive Committee will meet and set the financial year of the P&C prior to the Special General Meeting (SGM) at which the constitution is adopted. When they send out a copy of the new Constitution to the membership, prior to the SGM, the financial year will be included in the text.

You must use your current financial year. Do not attempt to change your current financial year at this stage.

This can be done by filling in the blank under rule 4.0:

4.0 FINANCIAL YEAR

The financial year will be the period of 12 months commencing on __________.





Spending P&C funds

137. What can we spend P&C funds on?


The School Education Act 1999 states in s.43 (3): An association is not to expend its funds that are in excess of administrative costs otherwise than for the benefit of students at a government school. and; P&C Constitution Rule 5.1: The property and income of the Association must be applied solely towards the promotion of the objects or purposes of the Association and no part of that property or income may be paid or otherwise distributed, directly or indirectly, to any member, except in good faith in the promotion of those objects or purposes. To comply with this legislation and rules, WACSSO recommends that P&C funds are not spent on the following:

  • teachers’ morning teas, tea funds, allowances;
  • items for the staff room, such as tablecloths, dishes, microwaves for example;
  • staff or administrative computers and equipment;
  • gifts, presentations, flowers, newspaper notices;
  • wine and cheese for Annual General Meetings, cartons of beer for ‘busy bees’;
  • donations to outside organisations, such as charities, service clubs, non-government schools and private individuals.




138. Should the P&C be holding large amounts of money in the bank account?


Parents have every right to expect that the money they help raise during the school year will be spent to benefit their children during the time they are at school, so the P&C should be doing its best to spend its funds as they are raised. The P&C should always be leaving contingency funds in the bank account for possible unforeseen future expenses as well as reserve funds for employee entitlements. A P&C may have substantial funds saved if they are saving for a 'big-ticket' item that was approved at a meeting.




139. What is the process for the P&C to approve spending?


Please use the Spending Funds flowchart




140. How do we reimburse members who have spent their own funds for P&C business?


Rule 26.1 states: All decisions or actions must be endorsed by the Executive or General Committee. Individuals cannot act independently. For a P&C member to be reimbursed for personal funds spent, they must first have approval to spend the funds (must be minuted).

If a member has not heeded this process, the P&C has the right to refuse reimbursement.

If approval has been given, the member will be required to show receipts of expenditure prior to reimbursement. The P&C should provide reimbursement by EFT or cheque, not cash.





Powers of the P&C

141. Does the P&C have the power to sign contracts for the supply of uniforms?


Contracts for uniform supply should be arranged by the school, not the P&C. Please visit https://www.contractswa.finance.wa.gov.au/index.jsp





Income and property

142. Can an Office Bearer such as the Treasurer be paid for their work?


Though Rules 5.1 and 5.2 state that members may be paid in good faith for services provided, this does not extend to constitutional responsibilities under the P&C Constitution. Office Bearers of the P&C are 'honorary' offices, which means 'unpaid'.





Membership

143. Can school staff be Executive members and Office Bearers of the P&C?


There is no rule within the P&C Constitution that restricts this, except for the Principal. The school may have its own policy on this. This policy sits outside the purview of the P&C and its Constiution.




144. Can a membership be rejected?


No, as long as the person is over the age of eighteen and they support the objects or purposes of the Association.




145. Does a person have to be physically present at an AGM to nominate for a position on the P&C?


Yes, but with one exception as outlined below. These instructions must be followed in full for the membership to be valid.

  1. The person interested in becoming a member and nominating for a position fills out the membership form and Executive Committee Nomination form and submits it to the Secretary prior to the meeting;
  2. they then pay (prior to the meeting) the subscription fee (generally, $1.00) to the Treasurer and receive a receipt;
  3. They then inform the Chair they will be joining the meeting by a form of live, real-time communication;
  4. They attend the meeting by this form of real-time communication.
  5. Their membership, nomination, input and vote is valid at this meeting if all criteria set out here is fulfilled.
This means a person can nominate for any position on the P&C if they can't attend the AGM - physically, in person. They must give written notice to the Secretary of their intent to nominate prior to the meeting.





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