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Before applying to be an approved provider, it is important to be aware of the software and systems used to progress that application.
Figure 1: IT systems used by an approved provider
Flow diagram showing the IT systems used by an approved provider, including PRODA, PEP and child care software.
What is the Child Care Subsidy System?
The Child Care Subsidy System is the information technology system used by the Department of Human Services to administer payments of Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy and support a range of management functions.
This system holds the necessary records, including details of providers, their staff and children using each service, and uses enrolment and session data to calculate and make payments.
What is the Provider Entry Point?
The Provider Entry Point (PEP) is the online interface that providers can use to sign in and access the Child Care Subsidy System.
Providers can use the PEP to do a range of things, including:
- access Provider Digital Access (PRODA) to register or create an account
- obtain child care software activation codes
- add, update or remove relevant staff details
- view, add and update session reports
- create a certificate for Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing)
- view entitlements and payments
- apply for a determination on Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing)
- view and update organisation details
- create, view and update the Family Day Care Exceptions Register
- update organisation details in the Child Care Finder.
Applicants seeking approval will use the PEP to submit their application and supporting documents.
Once approved, providers may choose to continue using the PEP to submit child care data and retrieve payment information. However, they may also choose to use one of the approved child care software products for these purposes.
Approved child care software may offer additional functionality to the basic functions supported by the PEP, such as rostering and room management, invoicing, vacancy management, payroll management and advanced reporting and statements.
The decision to use an approved child care software product is a business decision for each provider. See a list of registered child care software.
Families do not use the PEP. Instead, they access the Child Care Subsidy System through their Centrelink online account. Using this account, they can see and review the information being given by providers about their entitlements and will receive periodic notifications so they can check if information relating to their children’s care is correct.
What is PRODA?
PRODA is the online system used to verify a person’s digital identity.
Once a person’s identity has been verified through PRODA, they can interact online with the Australian Government for a range of purposes without needing to verify their identity each time.
Each person can only register one PRODA account in their name. When someone accesses PRODA they must:
- use their own personal and contact information to set up their account
- keep their PRODA account secure and never share details with anyone
- comply with the PRODA terms and conditions.
PRODA accounts do not expire and, if a provider takes on a new employee who already has a PRODA account, they keep the same PRODA account because it belongs to them as an individual.
Every individual who needs to interact with the Child Care Subsidy System must:
- register an account and receive a Registration Authority Number
- undergo identity verification using identification documents, such as a Medicare card, passport or birth certificate.
PRODA also requires an individual who is listed as an associate of an organisation—in this case the provider— on the Australian Business Register to create an organisation account for the provider (once they have registered as an individual). During the registration process, PRODA checks that the entity information for the organisation is consistent with its record on the Australian Business Register and checks that the person creating the organisation record is authorised to do so by asking them to complete some verification questions about the organisation.
Once registration is complete, the organisation has a unique PRODA Registration Authority Number used to identify it in government provider systems, including the Child Care Subsidy System. Other PRODA-registered individuals may also be linked to the PRODA organisation. A child care provider cannot be approved unless they have a verified organisation account in PRODA.
What software and systems are required?
There are no specified requirements—providers will need whatever systems they consider necessary to allow them to interact with the Child Care Subsidy System and to meet their obligations under Family Assistance Law.
However, providers will typically need to have systems in place to:
- record attendance and absences
- provide Statements of Entitlement, invoices and receipts
- action employee background checks, complaints and other matters.
A list of registered child care software that providers can use to interact with the Child Care Subsidy System is available.
Based on an assessment of testing results, the Department of Education is satisfied that these software products enable child care services to interact with the Child Care Subsidy System. However, the department has not done any independent testing of the products and does not formally endorse or approve any of them or accept any liability for these products.
Some child care software products will manage the types of records listed above and interact with the Child Care Subsidy System. The type of software and system a provider uses for service management and record keeping is a business decision. Providers will need to decide what kind of software and system works best for the type and size of child care service they operate.
Providers may wish to wait until their application for provider approval has been approved before buying child care software.