Have you been struggling to understand the ‘Simplified School Budget’ (SSB)? - Public Service Association

Have you been struggling to understand the ‘Simplified School Budget’ (SSB)?

Our school-based delegates have been collecting evidence of the problems experienced by our members who work with budgeting in the eFPT, including:

  • Too many moving parts (eFPT, Scout, SBAR, OMSEE, SOR…)
  • Misalignment of data, figures changing daily with no apparent input
  • Additional workload, checking data and adding lines to the staff plan in eFPT
  • Questioning whether this work and level of responsibility falls within the SAM role
  • Confusing and contradictory resources, hard to locate
  • Training not tailored to members’ roles and specific school settings
  • Moving goalposts (tracking vs no tracking; fortnightly checks vs dashboard view, SOR vs eFPT…)
  • Staff wellbeing, as many of our members are feeling unable to perform their job adequately, given the difficulties with the system we are required to use

PSA industrial staff and delegates have had meetings with a number of departmental personnel who have carriage of this program, highlighting the concerns of our members and their inability to obtain accurate information about schools’ financial positions, so important as we come to the end of our funding year.

Recently, delegates participated in a whole-day workshop with the key drivers of SSB, led by Vanessa Felton (Director Finance Strategy & Performance) and including the Directors of Shared Services Finance, Schools Planning, Budgeting and Reporting, as well as managers of communications, training, business programs, etc.

The DoE delegation acknowledged and identified a number of areas for improvement (release timeline, communications, PL delivery, data integrations, etc) and are now working closely with us to assimilate our feedback and ensure a smoother start for 2024 with reduced admin around budgeting.

Some of the assurances and promised improvements are:

  • The % figure you see on your eFPT dashboard (in the dark blue banner at the top) includes BOTH entitlement and flexible funds combined, and that if you have ‘overspent’ on the flexible side it will balance out with unused entitlement (this year only, unspent staffing can be used for Teaching and Learning).
  • Step-by-step walk-throughs and links to other resources have been made available in the live eFPT environment, reducing the need to search for online support.
  • All changes, updates and improvements will be highlighted within the program (banner announcements), as well as communicated via Staff Noticeboard.
  • DoE Finance experts have been monitoring all school budgets, and have made contact with those that looked like they were likely to track into the red this year (approx. 400 schools).
  • In 2024, a new Reason Code will be available for timesheets, for all ‘non-billable’ entries, such as casuals employed against unfilled vacancies, extended leave, etc.  This will then align directly with the entitlement plan in the eFPT and not impact on flexible $$.

During our consultation, DoE advised they are preparing communications to schools; these should be released soon. There is a commitment from them to restore faith in their system and confidence moving into 2024.  We have expressed the need for concise, timely and role-specific information.  Once this is available, your PSA delegates will determine whether the tasks fit within your role and do not place unreasonable demands on your workload.

In the meantime, know that you’re not alone in your frustration with the tool!   If you need help on how to calculate your carry-forward allowance, or how much money your school has left at this point in time (excluding planned salaries), we encourage you to log a call with EdConnect for assistance.  DoE sees those schools who have not reached out for help as managing well, so let’s ensure the department is fully aware of the breadth of this problem.

Good luck, take care and remember this is your job, not your life and holidays are just a few weeks away!

PSA Industrial staff

Julie-Ann Bond Industrial Manager
Greg Shaw Senior Industrial Officer
Sharny Chalmers Industrial Officer
Ann Attwater Organiser
Marisa Bosco Organiser
Susan Chee Quee Organiser
Alison Crittenden Organiser
Peta Noke GA Organiser

Schools DC Executive delegates
Juliette Sizer, Chair, 
Sandra Burgin, Vice Chair,
Joanne Nieass, Secretary,
Tanyiea Pople, Assistant Secretary,

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