Enforce school enrolment: send an infringement notice

​This is the final stage in enforcing school enrolment: after you have assessed the response to an enrolment notice and found it inadequate.

These guidelines are for school attendance officers.​

Decide to issue an infringement notice

Issuing an infringement notice (a fine) or starting proceedings in court is a last resort.

Before proceeding, you should consider any other information about the circumstances of the parents involved.

Notices must comply with the Infringements Act 2006. You must know the provisions of the act, particularly in relation to special and exceptional circumstances.

The infringement regime recognises there are circumstances where a person's capacity to comply with a law or regulation is limited for reasons beyond their control. In these circumstances, it would be unfair to punish the person.

It may not be appropriate to issue an infringement notice if there are special or exceptional circumstances.

Special circumstances

Special circumstances are where a person should not be criminally liable for their conduct. They may be if the person suffers from:

  • a mental or intellectual disability, disorder, disease or illness resulting in the person being unable to understand or control the conduct that constitutes the offence
  • a serious addiction to drugs, alcohol or a volatile substance resulting in the person being unable to understand or control the conduct that constitutes the offence
  • homelessness, where this results in the person being unable to control the conduct that constitutes the offence
  • a victim of family violence within the meaning of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 resulting in the person being unable to control conduct that constitutes an offence.

Exceptional circumstances

Exceptional circumstances are less serious and enduring than special circumstances. They include cases where a person has enough awareness and self-control to be liable for their conduct, but has a good excuse.

This category can include other areas of disadvantage which do not fall within special circumstances.

You can consider the parent's situation and use discretion to decide when to issue an infringement notice. For example, if there's been a genuine attempt to comply or there are reasons beyond the person's control.

When to send an official warning

An official warning may be appropriate if it's the first time a parent has not complied, and there may be special or execeptional circumstances.​

You can send an official warning by using the official warning template. You must keep a record of the warning and the reasons for choosing this action.

When to send an infringement notice

You have discretion to issue an infringement notice. This would be appropriate when:

  • a parent has not responded to a school enrolment notice
  • a parent has responded giving an explanation that is not a reasonable excuse, and provided no further information about circumstances that may indicate special circumstances or exceptional circumstances
  • after an official warning has previously been issued to the parent.

You are required to operate within the code of conduct. You must also keep reliable records that document decisions, discretions and excuses provided by the parent.

Factors such as cultural or language background, economic conditions and social disadvantage should be part of considerations at this point.

To access the code of conduct see attendance resources for regions.

When not to issue an infringement notice

  • If you form the view that a parent with a mental or intellectual disability did not have the ability to understand the requirement to respond to the school enrolment notice.
  • If you form the view that there were circumstances that prevented the parent from responding adequately to the school enrolment notice, for example, the parent or a family member was ill or absent from home.
  • Where false information has been provided in response to an school enrolment notice. This offence should be the subject of court proceedings.

Legislation does not permit an infringement notice or legal proceedings to commence against these people:

  • The secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services carrying out their responsibilities under an order made under the Children Youth and Families Act 2005.
  • A person carrying out parental responsibilities for a child on behalf of the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services.

Send the infringement notice

Use the infringement notice templte.

The infringement notice should then mailed to the recipient using registered mail and to Fines Victoria, GPO Box 1916, Melbourne, 3001.

A copy of the infringement notice should also be provided to the Director, Wellbeing, Health and Engagement Division.

From this point on the Wellbeing, Health and Engagement Division and the Legal Division will manage proceedings. Forward all evidence recorded up to this point and any subsequent correspondence to the Director, Wellbeing, Health and Engagement Division.

Appeals

Any person receiving an infringement notice may apply to the Department for an internal review of the decision, on one or more of the following grounds:

  1. There was a defect or mistake made in the decision to serve the notice. This ground encompasses two possibilities:
    • the decision to issue the notice was contrary to law
    • there was a mistake of identity.
  2. There are special circumstances
  3. There are exceptional circumstances that justify excusing the conduct for which the notice was issued.

The Department will consider the appeal and make one or more of the following decisions:

  • confirm the decision to issue an infringement notice
  • withdraw the infringement notice and issue an official warning in place of the infringement notice
  • withdraw the infringement notice
  • withdraw the infringement notice and refer the matter to court
  • waive all or any of the prescribed costs that have been attached to the infringement notice
  • approve a payment plan.

Bring proceedings in court

If you form the view that court proceedings are the most appropriate course of action, you should refer the matter to the Wellbeing, Health and Engagement Division for a final decision.

You should ensure that:

  • you have evidence or reliable records of decisions that involved the exercise of some discretion
  • the consideration of information or excuses provided by the parent.