Application processing timeframes – stopping the clock

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Application processing timeframes – stopping the clock

29 April 2024

In continuing our series on providing education and guidance on applications, this month’s article focuses on the ESB’s application processing timeframes.

In 2022-23, the ESB received 1,019 applications and 95% were determined within legislative timeframes. 

The timeframe for assessing the application begins when the application is ‘valid’, meaning complete with all prescribed information under the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011. 

When does an application become ‘valid’? 

When an application is received, an Intake and Assessment Officer performs an initial assessment and contacts the applicant if prescribed information is incomplete or missing. 

If all prescribed information has been received, the application will be ‘valid’ and the legislative timeframe begins. 

If the required information has not been received, the ESB may treat the application as invalid, and either close the application, or request the missing information within a set timeframe. 

What happens if further information is required once validated? 

Once an application has been validated, it progresses to the assessment stage. During this stage, the ESB is identifying and assessing any risks and associated mitigation strategies arising from the application. Further information may be required from the service, such as a risk assessment or mitigation strategies to reduce risks identified, during this process. 

If this is the case, the application can be put on hold, in accordance with the Education and Care Services National Law (South Australia) Act 2010, essentially stopping the clock while the ESB seeks further information from the applicant.  

In preparation for seeking further information the ESB will consider the amount and complexity of the information requested, as well as engage with the service to determine the time it may take to receive the required information.

When the additional information is received, the legislative due date will be extended, to reflect the number of days that the clock was stopped. 

What improvements is the ESB making to its practices? 

The ESB is implementing service standards to ensure that applications are processed effectively and efficiently and that applicants are aware of the timeframes for each application. 

This includes: 

  • A communication being sent on receipt of the application to outline that the validation process will commence within three business days and that the legislative timeframe has not commenced.
  • Applications being initially assessed within three business days to either validate or seek further information. 
  • Once the application has been validated, ESB will communicate with the applicant that the validation process is complete and the clock has started, providing the applicant with the legislative timeframe for completion. 
  • If a valid application is assigned to a different team member for assessment and determination, the team member will contact the applicant within three business days of the application being validated. 
  • If the clock is stopped on an application, ESB will inform the applicant of the revised legislative due date.