Explore the DRIS

Based on findings from the 2019 NQF Review, Commonwealth, state and territory education ministers have agreed to changes to the National Quality Framework (NQF).

The 2019 NQF Review recommended changes to the Education and Care Services National Law and National Regulations, as well as additional guidance for the sector to enhance children’s health, safety and wellbeing. Regular reviews of the National Quality Framework ensure the regulatory system remains current, achieves its objectives and supports Australia’s approved services to provide high quality education and care to children and young people.

The review process included consultation with the education and care sector, families and the broader community on proposed options for change. A summary of the proposals and final decisions made by Ministers can be accessed in the table below and further information about the decisions is available in the Decision Regulation Impact Statement (DRIS) available below.


Decision Regulation Impact Statement (DRIS)


Key changes for services include

  • New safety requirements - introducing new policies, procedures and risk assessments to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children in education and care.
  • Improved oversight and compliance tools for Regulatory Authorities – increasing transparency and accountability in the sector
  • New workforce requirements - such as increasing mandatory minimum qualification requirements for family day care educators and alleviating staffing requirements during short-term absences
  • Improved regulatory guidance – improving educator knowledge of best practice through government developed resources, including the Guide to the National Quality Framework.


Most changes are expected to commence from mid-2023 in all states and territories

The majority of changes recommended from the 2019 NQF Review involve updating the National Law and Regulations so that regulatory changes can come into effect from mid-2023 in all states and territories.

With a number of recent incidents involving serious harm to children left on service vehicles (including buses), new regulatory requirements for services around regular transportation are expected to come into effect from early 2023. This emphasises the critical importance of ensuring children’s safety during transportation.

While the majority of legislative changes are not expected to commence before mid-2023, some guidance recommended by the 2019 NQF Review may be provided before mid-2023 to ensure an immediate benefit for education and care services. This will also ensure adequate lead time to assist providers and their services to improve their compliance.

ACECQA, working with and on behalf of all governments, will provide more detailed information to explain the changes over coming months, including notification about the commencement dates for each of the agreed changes.


Summary of the 2019 NQF Review outcomes

Decisions from the 2019 NQF Review have been made following two rounds of consultation with the education and care sector, families and the broader community.

Regular reviews of the NQF ensure the regulatory system remains current, achieves its objectives and supports Australia’s approved services to provide high quality education and care to children and young people.


Children’s health and safety

DRIS page

Description of Issue

Decision

102

3.1 — Safety of children during transitions between services (including school)

This proposal aims to reduce the number of incidents of ‘missing or unaccounted for’ children during transition periods.

Recommendation to state and territory school authorities and non-government school sector organisations to develop policies and procedures to safely transfer children between schools and education and care services.

Require services to have policies, procedures and risk assessment processes for the transition period between services. For example, between school and OSHC, or between OSHC and preschool.

Governments will publish guidance to help services develop policies and procedures on the delivery and collection of children, and to help families notify services when children are absent.

115

3.2 Sleep and rest requirements

This proposal aims to ensure services maintain a high level of knowledge about risk minimisation relating to sleep and rest to reduce infant deaths (SUDI) in education and care settings.

Governments will develop guidance to help providers develop policies and procedures for sleep and rest, and to provide information to families on safe sleeping practices.

Amend the National Regulations to specify what must be included in services' policies and procedures for sleep and rest.

Require a risk assessment be conducted in relation to sleep and rest, including what must be considered within that risk assessment.

Legislative change to require compulsory training on safe sleep practices for all FDC educators subject to governments undertaking further research, costing and impact analysis of any proposed training and implementation options.

125

3.3 — Improving children’s safety during regular transportation

This proposal aims to increase safety measures for children during periods of regular transportation.


A service staff member other than the driver must be present when children are embarking and disembarking from a vehicle at the education and care service premises.

Governments will develop guidance on ratios, qualifications and adequate supervision for transportation. Separate guidance will be developed for the FDC sector.

134

3.4 Improving children’s safety during emergency evacuations from multi-storey buildings

This proposal aims to improve children’s safety during emergency evacuations in multistorey buildings and to clarify approval requirements for multi-storey buildings proposed to be used for education and care purposes.

Require centre-based services located in multi-storey buildings to:

  • have emergency and evacuation procedures which include instructions for what must be done in an emergency and in staged evacuations and identify the person-in-charge and staff roles and responsibilities
  • review and/or conduct a risk assessment following certain events or time periods.
Require regulatory authorities to consider children’s direct access to safe evacuation areas when assessing service premises, particularly for very young children and children unable to walk.


Providers must consider this when conducting a risk assessment of a FDC residence or venue in a multi-storey building, before education and care is provided.

Amend service approval processes to require approved providers wishing to operate a centre-based service in a multi-storey building in Victoria or ACT to apply to the regulatory authority for pre-approval of development and building plans for the proposed premises prior to development and construction. (Victoria and ACT only).

Governments will develop guidance materials to improve understanding of centre-based multi-storey building service approvals, and to reinforce emergency and evacuation requirements, including for persons involved in third-party planning and building development processes.


Royal Commission

DRIS page

Description of proposal

Decision

143

4.1 Embedding the National Child Safe Principles

Issues 4.1 and 4.2 respond to recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

This proposal aims to increase awareness, foster positive cultural change, and promote and support child safe environments in education and care.

Governments will amend the NQF and prepare guidance to address identified gaps between the Child Safe Principles and the NQF.

In particular:

  • Volunteers must be aware of how to comply with all child protection law and any obligations held under them.
  • All FDC co-ordinators must complete pre-employment child protection training, and annual refresher training.
  • Working with vulnerable people/children check details must be included on volunteer staff records.
  • Services’ child safe environment policies and procedures must cover the creation of a child safe culture and the safe use of online environments
  • Services’ complaint handling policies must include policies and procedures for managing complaints about children exhibiting harmful sexual behaviours.
  • Services’ complaint handling policies and procedures must be child focussed, in accordance with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

151

4.2 Updating record keeping requirements

Issues 4.1 and 4.2 respond to recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

This proposal aims to improve the storage of records in education and care services.

Governments will prepare guidance to help providers improve their understanding of record keeping.

Guidance will incorporate existing best practice instructions developed by relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory Archive Authorities. For example, the National Archives of Australia General Records Authority 41.

Guidance will be developed as per Royal Commission Recommendations 8.3 and 8.4, with five high-level record keeping principles.


Family Day Care

DRIS Page

Description of proposal

Decision

159

5.1 FDC Register and notification requirements

This proposal aims to improve the timeliness of access to FDC register information by regulatory authorities, and to support risk-based proactive approaches to regulation.

Changes are expected to allow regulatory authorities to identify and provide time-critical support during emergency situations to ensure the safety of children.

Regulatory authorities must have timely access to accurate information about FDC services, including co-ordinators and educators. Currently, FDC providers have 24 hours to provide the register.

Governments will undertake further work to improve their access to this information, for example, the potential to create an online portal for FDC register information.

164

5.2 FDC exceptional circumstances

This proposal aims to support the health, safety and wellbeing of the children. It will allow the Regulatory Authority to have greater oversight of services that are operating with a greater number of children than stated in the National Regulations due to exceptional circumstances.

This will enable the Regulatory Authority to have efficient and effective monitoring and compliance checks.


Approved providers must include details of FDC educators operating with more than 7 children, or more than 4 children preschool age or under, due to exceptional circumstances, on the FDC register.



168

5.3 Safety around swimming pools in FDC residences

This proposal aims to improve the safety of children at FDC residences with swimming pools.

FDC residences with swimming pools can continue to operate with additional safeguards to ensure active supervision and regular review of risks. Approved providers must ensure that residences comply with fencing requirements and conduct monthly inspections of swimming pools and surrounds.

Governments will provide additional guidance materials in relation to water safety to FDC services and educators.

177

5.4 Safety of glass used by services in Family Day Care

Previous regulatory changes inadvertently lowered the height requirements for glass in some family day care services. This proposal seeks to establish a consistent height requirement for glass in family day care settings.

All FDC residences and venues must comply with 0.75m height requirement for safety glass.

Governments will provide additional guidance materials, including within the Guide to the NQF, in relation to glass safety requirements for FDC services.


OSHC

DRIS Page

Description of proposal

Decision

185

6.1 Assessment and Rating of OSHC services

Previous feedback from services and families has pointed to perceived discrepancies between the NQF assessment and rating process and the unique features of Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services compared to other centre-based services.

This proposal aims to ensure an appropriate assessment and rating process for OSHC services, including giving adequate consideration to the unique features of the service type and ensuring that ‘quality’ is measured in the context of an OSHC service.

Governments will review and consider changes to OSHC assessment and rating processes.


Workforce

DRIS Page

Description of proposal

Decision

191

7.1 Restrictions on short-term relief for early childhood educators

This proposal aims to provide flexibility for staffing arrangements for short-term absences of diploma and certificate III level staff, while reducing the need to apply for service waivers for staffing.

Primary teachers can replace certificate III or diploma qualified educators, for a period of up to 30 days.

In addition, regulation 135 will be amended to include resignation and practicum as allowable reasons for short term absences.

197

7.2 Educators who are ‘actively working towards’ a qualification

This proposal aims to ensure that all educators have the adequate knowledge to perform in their role as an early childhood educator, including identifying and reducing the likelihood of a child being put at risk.

Governments will develop guidance for providers to ensure staff who are ‘actively working towards’ qualifications are making satisfactory progress.

202

7.3 Minimum qualification requirements for educators in FDC

This proposal aims to ensure that all FDC educators are appropriately qualified to provide an adequate level of education and care for children, including adequate knowledge to ensure all children in an FDC residence are protected against risks impacting on safety, health and wellbeing.

FDC educators must hold an approved certificate III qualification prior to commencing their role in a FDC service. FDC educators can no longer be ‘actively working towards’ their qualification.


Quality ratings

DRIS Page

Description of proposal

Decision

209

8.1 The quality ratings system

This proposal seeks to improve families’ understanding of service quality and the quality ratings system, and support families in making informed decisions when choosing an education and care service.

Governments will review and consider changes to the quality rating terminology.

Governments will provide further guidance and advice to the community about the purpose of quality ratings, and the differentiation between a quality rating and minimum standards required under the National Law.


Changes in fees within the NQF system

DRIS Page

Description of proposal

Decision

214

9.1 Changes in fees for regulatory authorities

Issues 9.1 and 9.2 aim to recover a proportion of the costs associated with undertaking regulatory activities by governments, ensuring the financial viability of the NQF as a regulatory system.

This proposal aims to recover some of the costs of state and territory governments in undertaking regulatory activities, such as assessment and rating, guidance and advice, and risk-based compliance activities.

Introduce a new, separate fees category for centre-based services with 101 or more places and FDC services with 61 or more educators, which will be applied to applications/annual fee calculations.

Increase fees for the following:
1. Annual fees
2. Approved provider applications
3. Service approval applications
4. Transfer of service notifications.

Introduce a new fee for approval applications for amendment to service approval (which is currently free).

223

9.2 Changes in application fees for ACECQA functions

Issues 9.1 and 9.2 aim to recover a proportion of the costs associated with undertaking regulatory activities by governments, ensuring the financial viability of the NQF as a regulatory system.

This proposal seeks to recover some of the costs of ACECQA’s functions as the national authority.

Increase application fee for a Second Tier Review.

Increase application fee for assessment of a course to be included as an approved qualification.


Oversight and governance of services and providers

DRIS Page

Description of proposal

Decision

229

10.1 Assessing suitability of individuals to work directly or indirectly with children

This proposal aims to ensure that regulatory authorities are able to assess the suitability of people with management or control of education and care services.

The definition of ‘person with management or control’ (PMC) of a service in the National Law will align with the definition of PMC of an approved provider body in the Commonwealth Family Assistance Law.

This is designed to capture individuals who direct and/or have significant influence over managing the service (whether or not they are employed by the approved provider, for example people who work for third party management companies or who act as ‘shadow directors’ but have a large amount of influence over the control of service/s).

Introduce regulatory policies and streamlined business processes / IT solutions to enable a nationally consistent, risk-based approach to how regulatory authorities apply relevant discretionary aspects of fitness and propriety assessment.

Amend the National Law so that regulatory authorities can administer questions to an applicant in relation to their fitness and propriety in any format and undertake an assessment of their knowledge of the NQF. This will align with existing powers to ask the prospective applicant to provide further information and conduct further enquiries about their fitness and propriety.

FDC educators must notify the approved provider of circumstances arising that pose a risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of children and approved providers must use this information in a risk assessment

237

10.2 — Cancellation of provider approval under Family Assistance Law

This proposal aims to improve the responsiveness and efficiency of regulatory authorities to build a case for cancellation under the National Law, following a provider’s refusal or cancellation under the FAL.

Changes to the National Law so that refusal or cancellation of provider approval under the FAL is grounds for cancellation of provider approval under the NQF, if it relates to fitness and propriety and/or a breach of the NQF.

241

10.3 Arrangements to transfer a service to another approved provider

This proposal aims to address current issues with timeframes and notification requirements. It will help families learn more about service transfers that may affect them.

Governments will develop guidance about the service transfer process and how to best advise families about the transfer (for example, in relation to storage of children’s records).

Minor legislative changes will address challenges associated with timeframes, by:

  • increasing the notification period of the transfer to the regulatory authority to 60 days;
  • making it mandatory for transferring and receiving providers to notify the regulatory authority of any change or delay to the intended date of transfer
  • Increasing the notice period to families from two to seven days.

246

10.4 — Maintaining current information about service delivery

This proposal aims to ensure that care offered by services is appropriate to the age groups of children and does not pose a risk to the children’s safety, health and wellbeing.

Providers must notify the regulatory authority of changes to the ages of children being cared for and the nature of care. New offences will apply for failing to notify.

Governments will develop guidance materials, including the Guide to the NQF, to help services consider age-appropriate programs and facilities when making changes to children’s ages and nature of care provided.


Technical Amendments

DRIS Page

Description of proposal

Decision

252

11.1 Notice of transport in NQA ITS

Providers would be required to indicate on their NQA ITS service record whether regular transport is provided as part of their service(s).

Providers must notify the regulatory authority if regular transport is provided or arranged as part of their service.


254

11.2 Implementing physical activity guidelines

The number of hours a child participates in physical activities would be defined.

No change recommended as physical activity is already covered by NQS requirements.

255

11.3 FDC: Display in venue/residence

This amendment will require FDC services to display what areas of the venue or residence will be used to provide education and care. This extra information will help families choose an education and care service or FDC educator.

Require FDC educators to display a diagram showing the areas of the residence where the approved provider has conducted a risk assessment.


257

11.4 Tasmania specific amendment

Regulation 353 allows a small number of services to operate without meeting all NQF Physical Environment requirements (National Regulations - Part 4.3 Division 1) for fencing, indoor space, outdoor space, and shade.

Revoking regulation 353 will optimise the safety, health and wellbeing of children being educated and cared for by these services.

All Tasmanian services will be required to meet all NQF Physical Environment requirements.

259

11.5 Excellent rating

An extension of rating duration will ensure it remains efficient and effective, while incentivising recognition of high quality education and care practice.

The ‘Excellent’ rating will be valid for five calendar years. (Currently valid for three calendar years).


261

11.6 — Death of an approved provider

This aims to improve notification to families and reduce implications for the service.

No change recommended as there are current guidelines in place in the event of a death or incapacity of an approved provider.

262

11.7 Waivers for NQS Elements

This removes the ability for providers to apply for waivers for prescribed elements of the NQS.

Approved providers will not be able to apply for waivers for prescribed element/s of the NQS.

264

11.8 Program-level documentation for children over preschool age

This changes existing regulatory requirements for OSHC services in Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria. It will allow for program-level rather than individual child-level documentation of learning.

Services that educate and care for children over preschool age in Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria will no longer be required to keep documentation about individual children’s development. Instead, these services will keep documentation about the development of the educational program.

There is no change to existing requirements for services in other states and territories.

ACT has decided to maintain the current position, to ensure that the program reflects the individual needs of the specific community of children attending the service, proportionate to each individual child’s attendance rate.

266

11.9 Proposed modifications to the FOI Act for the purposes of the National Law

This amendment will emphasise that a determination relating to the publication of information made by the NCS FOI Commissioner is made by an instrument under State and Territory Law, rather than the Commonwealth Legislation Act 2003 (Cth).

Amend Regulation 209 (Miscellaneous Modifications of the ECS Regulations) and remove the word “legislative” in the phrase legislative instrument under sections 8(3) and 11C(2) of the FOI Act.


Other amendments to the National Law and Regulations outside the DRIS (as agreed to by Education Ministers).

Description of proposal

Decision

12.2 Penalties

This proposal aims to increase penalties in line with inflation, to encourage services to comply with the National Law and Regulations.

Increase the maximum penalties throughout the NQF by 14.9% (cumulative inflation since commencement of the scheme).

Rounding down of penalties will be to the nearest $100.

12.3 FDC Coordinator to educator ratio

This proposal aims to address workforce shortage issues and ensure adequate supervision of children in care.

Additional technical amendments to the National Regulations to state that one FTE FDC Co-ordinator must be employed when the number of educators ranges anywhere between

  • 1 and 15 (when there is a 1:15 ratio applied and the service has been operating for under 12 months) or
  • 1 and 25 (when there is a 1:25 ratio applied and the service has been operating for more than 12 months).

For FDC services that have operated over 12 months, adjusting the requirements after the initial 1 FDC Co-ordinator to 25 educators, so that an additional 0.2FTE FDC Co-ordinator is needed for every 5 additional educators.

12.4 Display of FDC ratings at FDC premises

This proposal aims to provide families with a visual representation of an FDC service’s rating. This information will help them choose an education and care service for their children.

Require a ratings certificate to be clearly visible at any FDC residence or venue used to provide education and care to children as part of a family day care service.

12.5 First Aid currency requirements

This proposal aims to ensure that staff have current qualifications and up to date training.

Prescribe currency periods for first aid qualifications and other health and safety training in the National Regulations. This will help providers and educators understand when qualifications and training are due for renewal.

12.6 Scope of assistance provided by FDC educator assistant

This proposal aims to clarify the duties of an FDC educator assistant during transportation.

Amendment to National Regulations to clarify that escorting children by walking is within the scope of regulation 144(4).

Based on findings from the 2019 NQF Review, Commonwealth, state and territory education ministers have agreed to changes to the National Quality Framework (NQF).

The 2019 NQF Review recommended changes to the Education and Care Services National Law and National Regulations, as well as additional guidance for the sector to enhance children’s health, safety and wellbeing. Regular reviews of the National Quality Framework ensure the regulatory system remains current, achieves its objectives and supports Australia’s approved services to provide high quality education and care to children and young people.

The review process included consultation with the education and care sector, families and the broader community on proposed options for change. A summary of the proposals and final decisions made by Ministers can be accessed in the table below and further information about the decisions is available in the Decision Regulation Impact Statement (DRIS) available below.


Decision Regulation Impact Statement (DRIS)


Key changes for services include

  • New safety requirements - introducing new policies, procedures and risk assessments to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children in education and care.
  • Improved oversight and compliance tools for Regulatory Authorities – increasing transparency and accountability in the sector
  • New workforce requirements - such as increasing mandatory minimum qualification requirements for family day care educators and alleviating staffing requirements during short-term absences
  • Improved regulatory guidance – improving educator knowledge of best practice through government developed resources, including the Guide to the National Quality Framework.


Most changes are expected to commence from mid-2023 in all states and territories

The majority of changes recommended from the 2019 NQF Review involve updating the National Law and Regulations so that regulatory changes can come into effect from mid-2023 in all states and territories.

With a number of recent incidents involving serious harm to children left on service vehicles (including buses), new regulatory requirements for services around regular transportation are expected to come into effect from early 2023. This emphasises the critical importance of ensuring children’s safety during transportation.

While the majority of legislative changes are not expected to commence before mid-2023, some guidance recommended by the 2019 NQF Review may be provided before mid-2023 to ensure an immediate benefit for education and care services. This will also ensure adequate lead time to assist providers and their services to improve their compliance.

ACECQA, working with and on behalf of all governments, will provide more detailed information to explain the changes over coming months, including notification about the commencement dates for each of the agreed changes.


Summary of the 2019 NQF Review outcomes

Decisions from the 2019 NQF Review have been made following two rounds of consultation with the education and care sector, families and the broader community.

Regular reviews of the NQF ensure the regulatory system remains current, achieves its objectives and supports Australia’s approved services to provide high quality education and care to children and young people.


Children’s health and safety

DRIS page

Description of Issue

Decision

102

3.1 — Safety of children during transitions between services (including school)

This proposal aims to reduce the number of incidents of ‘missing or unaccounted for’ children during transition periods.

Recommendation to state and territory school authorities and non-government school sector organisations to develop policies and procedures to safely transfer children between schools and education and care services.

Require services to have policies, procedures and risk assessment processes for the transition period between services. For example, between school and OSHC, or between OSHC and preschool.

Governments will publish guidance to help services develop policies and procedures on the delivery and collection of children, and to help families notify services when children are absent.

115

3.2 Sleep and rest requirements

This proposal aims to ensure services maintain a high level of knowledge about risk minimisation relating to sleep and rest to reduce infant deaths (SUDI) in education and care settings.

Governments will develop guidance to help providers develop policies and procedures for sleep and rest, and to provide information to families on safe sleeping practices.

Amend the National Regulations to specify what must be included in services' policies and procedures for sleep and rest.

Require a risk assessment be conducted in relation to sleep and rest, including what must be considered within that risk assessment.

Legislative change to require compulsory training on safe sleep practices for all FDC educators subject to governments undertaking further research, costing and impact analysis of any proposed training and implementation options.

125

3.3 — Improving children’s safety during regular transportation

This proposal aims to increase safety measures for children during periods of regular transportation.


A service staff member other than the driver must be present when children are embarking and disembarking from a vehicle at the education and care service premises.

Governments will develop guidance on ratios, qualifications and adequate supervision for transportation. Separate guidance will be developed for the FDC sector.

134

3.4 Improving children’s safety during emergency evacuations from multi-storey buildings

This proposal aims to improve children’s safety during emergency evacuations in multistorey buildings and to clarify approval requirements for multi-storey buildings proposed to be used for education and care purposes.

Require centre-based services located in multi-storey buildings to:

  • have emergency and evacuation procedures which include instructions for what must be done in an emergency and in staged evacuations and identify the person-in-charge and staff roles and responsibilities
  • review and/or conduct a risk assessment following certain events or time periods.
Require regulatory authorities to consider children’s direct access to safe evacuation areas when assessing service premises, particularly for very young children and children unable to walk.


Providers must consider this when conducting a risk assessment of a FDC residence or venue in a multi-storey building, before education and care is provided.

Amend service approval processes to require approved providers wishing to operate a centre-based service in a multi-storey building in Victoria or ACT to apply to the regulatory authority for pre-approval of development and building plans for the proposed premises prior to development and construction. (Victoria and ACT only).

Governments will develop guidance materials to improve understanding of centre-based multi-storey building service approvals, and to reinforce emergency and evacuation requirements, including for persons involved in third-party planning and building development processes.


Royal Commission

DRIS page

Description of proposal

Decision

143

4.1 Embedding the National Child Safe Principles

Issues 4.1 and 4.2 respond to recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

This proposal aims to increase awareness, foster positive cultural change, and promote and support child safe environments in education and care.

Governments will amend the NQF and prepare guidance to address identified gaps between the Child Safe Principles and the NQF.

In particular:

  • Volunteers must be aware of how to comply with all child protection law and any obligations held under them.
  • All FDC co-ordinators must complete pre-employment child protection training, and annual refresher training.
  • Working with vulnerable people/children check details must be included on volunteer staff records.
  • Services’ child safe environment policies and procedures must cover the creation of a child safe culture and the safe use of online environments
  • Services’ complaint handling policies must include policies and procedures for managing complaints about children exhibiting harmful sexual behaviours.
  • Services’ complaint handling policies and procedures must be child focussed, in accordance with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

151

4.2 Updating record keeping requirements

Issues 4.1 and 4.2 respond to recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

This proposal aims to improve the storage of records in education and care services.

Governments will prepare guidance to help providers improve their understanding of record keeping.

Guidance will incorporate existing best practice instructions developed by relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory Archive Authorities. For example, the National Archives of Australia General Records Authority 41.

Guidance will be developed as per Royal Commission Recommendations 8.3 and 8.4, with five high-level record keeping principles.


Family Day Care

DRIS Page

Description of proposal

Decision

159

5.1 FDC Register and notification requirements

This proposal aims to improve the timeliness of access to FDC register information by regulatory authorities, and to support risk-based proactive approaches to regulation.

Changes are expected to allow regulatory authorities to identify and provide time-critical support during emergency situations to ensure the safety of children.

Regulatory authorities must have timely access to accurate information about FDC services, including co-ordinators and educators. Currently, FDC providers have 24 hours to provide the register.

Governments will undertake further work to improve their access to this information, for example, the potential to create an online portal for FDC register information.

164

5.2 FDC exceptional circumstances

This proposal aims to support the health, safety and wellbeing of the children. It will allow the Regulatory Authority to have greater oversight of services that are operating with a greater number of children than stated in the National Regulations due to exceptional circumstances.

This will enable the Regulatory Authority to have efficient and effective monitoring and compliance checks.


Approved providers must include details of FDC educators operating with more than 7 children, or more than 4 children preschool age or under, due to exceptional circumstances, on the FDC register.



168

5.3 Safety around swimming pools in FDC residences

This proposal aims to improve the safety of children at FDC residences with swimming pools.

FDC residences with swimming pools can continue to operate with additional safeguards to ensure active supervision and regular review of risks. Approved providers must ensure that residences comply with fencing requirements and conduct monthly inspections of swimming pools and surrounds.

Governments will provide additional guidance materials in relation to water safety to FDC services and educators.

177

5.4 Safety of glass used by services in Family Day Care

Previous regulatory changes inadvertently lowered the height requirements for glass in some family day care services. This proposal seeks to establish a consistent height requirement for glass in family day care settings.

All FDC residences and venues must comply with 0.75m height requirement for safety glass.

Governments will provide additional guidance materials, including within the Guide to the NQF, in relation to glass safety requirements for FDC services.


OSHC

DRIS Page

Description of proposal

Decision

185

6.1 Assessment and Rating of OSHC services

Previous feedback from services and families has pointed to perceived discrepancies between the NQF assessment and rating process and the unique features of Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services compared to other centre-based services.

This proposal aims to ensure an appropriate assessment and rating process for OSHC services, including giving adequate consideration to the unique features of the service type and ensuring that ‘quality’ is measured in the context of an OSHC service.

Governments will review and consider changes to OSHC assessment and rating processes.


Workforce

DRIS Page

Description of proposal

Decision

191

7.1 Restrictions on short-term relief for early childhood educators

This proposal aims to provide flexibility for staffing arrangements for short-term absences of diploma and certificate III level staff, while reducing the need to apply for service waivers for staffing.

Primary teachers can replace certificate III or diploma qualified educators, for a period of up to 30 days.

In addition, regulation 135 will be amended to include resignation and practicum as allowable reasons for short term absences.

197

7.2 Educators who are ‘actively working towards’ a qualification

This proposal aims to ensure that all educators have the adequate knowledge to perform in their role as an early childhood educator, including identifying and reducing the likelihood of a child being put at risk.

Governments will develop guidance for providers to ensure staff who are ‘actively working towards’ qualifications are making satisfactory progress.

202

7.3 Minimum qualification requirements for educators in FDC

This proposal aims to ensure that all FDC educators are appropriately qualified to provide an adequate level of education and care for children, including adequate knowledge to ensure all children in an FDC residence are protected against risks impacting on safety, health and wellbeing.

FDC educators must hold an approved certificate III qualification prior to commencing their role in a FDC service. FDC educators can no longer be ‘actively working towards’ their qualification.


Quality ratings

DRIS Page

Description of proposal

Decision

209

8.1 The quality ratings system

This proposal seeks to improve families’ understanding of service quality and the quality ratings system, and support families in making informed decisions when choosing an education and care service.

Governments will review and consider changes to the quality rating terminology.

Governments will provide further guidance and advice to the community about the purpose of quality ratings, and the differentiation between a quality rating and minimum standards required under the National Law.


Changes in fees within the NQF system

DRIS Page

Description of proposal

Decision

214

9.1 Changes in fees for regulatory authorities

Issues 9.1 and 9.2 aim to recover a proportion of the costs associated with undertaking regulatory activities by governments, ensuring the financial viability of the NQF as a regulatory system.

This proposal aims to recover some of the costs of state and territory governments in undertaking regulatory activities, such as assessment and rating, guidance and advice, and risk-based compliance activities.

Introduce a new, separate fees category for centre-based services with 101 or more places and FDC services with 61 or more educators, which will be applied to applications/annual fee calculations.

Increase fees for the following:
1. Annual fees
2. Approved provider applications
3. Service approval applications
4. Transfer of service notifications.

Introduce a new fee for approval applications for amendment to service approval (which is currently free).

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9.2 Changes in application fees for ACECQA functions

Issues 9.1 and 9.2 aim to recover a proportion of the costs associated with undertaking regulatory activities by governments, ensuring the financial viability of the NQF as a regulatory system.

This proposal seeks to recover some of the costs of ACECQA’s functions as the national authority.

Increase application fee for a Second Tier Review.

Increase application fee for assessment of a course to be included as an approved qualification.


Oversight and governance of services and providers

DRIS Page

Description of proposal

Decision

229

10.1 Assessing suitability of individuals to work directly or indirectly with children

This proposal aims to ensure that regulatory authorities are able to assess the suitability of people with management or control of education and care services.

The definition of ‘person with management or control’ (PMC) of a service in the National Law will align with the definition of PMC of an approved provider body in the Commonwealth Family Assistance Law.

This is designed to capture individuals who direct and/or have significant influence over managing the service (whether or not they are employed by the approved provider, for example people who work for third party management companies or who act as ‘shadow directors’ but have a large amount of influence over the control of service/s).

Introduce regulatory policies and streamlined business processes / IT solutions to enable a nationally consistent, risk-based approach to how regulatory authorities apply relevant discretionary aspects of fitness and propriety assessment.

Amend the National Law so that regulatory authorities can administer questions to an applicant in relation to their fitness and propriety in any format and undertake an assessment of their knowledge of the NQF. This will align with existing powers to ask the prospective applicant to provide further information and conduct further enquiries about their fitness and propriety.

FDC educators must notify the approved provider of circumstances arising that pose a risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of children and approved providers must use this information in a risk assessment

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10.2 — Cancellation of provider approval under Family Assistance Law

This proposal aims to improve the responsiveness and efficiency of regulatory authorities to build a case for cancellation under the National Law, following a provider’s refusal or cancellation under the FAL.

Changes to the National Law so that refusal or cancellation of provider approval under the FAL is grounds for cancellation of provider approval under the NQF, if it relates to fitness and propriety and/or a breach of the NQF.

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10.3 Arrangements to transfer a service to another approved provider

This proposal aims to address current issues with timeframes and notification requirements. It will help families learn more about service transfers that may affect them.

Governments will develop guidance about the service transfer process and how to best advise families about the transfer (for example, in relation to storage of children’s records).

Minor legislative changes will address challenges associated with timeframes, by:

  • increasing the notification period of the transfer to the regulatory authority to 60 days;
  • making it mandatory for transferring and receiving providers to notify the regulatory authority of any change or delay to the intended date of transfer
  • Increasing the notice period to families from two to seven days.

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10.4 — Maintaining current information about service delivery

This proposal aims to ensure that care offered by services is appropriate to the age groups of children and does not pose a risk to the children’s safety, health and wellbeing.

Providers must notify the regulatory authority of changes to the ages of children being cared for and the nature of care. New offences will apply for failing to notify.

Governments will develop guidance materials, including the Guide to the NQF, to help services consider age-appropriate programs and facilities when making changes to children’s ages and nature of care provided.


Technical Amendments

DRIS Page

Description of proposal

Decision

252

11.1 Notice of transport in NQA ITS

Providers would be required to indicate on their NQA ITS service record whether regular transport is provided as part of their service(s).

Providers must notify the regulatory authority if regular transport is provided or arranged as part of their service.


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11.2 Implementing physical activity guidelines

The number of hours a child participates in physical activities would be defined.

No change recommended as physical activity is already covered by NQS requirements.

255

11.3 FDC: Display in venue/residence

This amendment will require FDC services to display what areas of the venue or residence will be used to provide education and care. This extra information will help families choose an education and care service or FDC educator.

Require FDC educators to display a diagram showing the areas of the residence where the approved provider has conducted a risk assessment.


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11.4 Tasmania specific amendment

Regulation 353 allows a small number of services to operate without meeting all NQF Physical Environment requirements (National Regulations - Part 4.3 Division 1) for fencing, indoor space, outdoor space, and shade.

Revoking regulation 353 will optimise the safety, health and wellbeing of children being educated and cared for by these services.

All Tasmanian services will be required to meet all NQF Physical Environment requirements.

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11.5 Excellent rating

An extension of rating duration will ensure it remains efficient and effective, while incentivising recognition of high quality education and care practice.

The ‘Excellent’ rating will be valid for five calendar years. (Currently valid for three calendar years).


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11.6 — Death of an approved provider

This aims to improve notification to families and reduce implications for the service.

No change recommended as there are current guidelines in place in the event of a death or incapacity of an approved provider.

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11.7 Waivers for NQS Elements

This removes the ability for providers to apply for waivers for prescribed elements of the NQS.

Approved providers will not be able to apply for waivers for prescribed element/s of the NQS.

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11.8 Program-level documentation for children over preschool age

This changes existing regulatory requirements for OSHC services in Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria. It will allow for program-level rather than individual child-level documentation of learning.

Services that educate and care for children over preschool age in Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria will no longer be required to keep documentation about individual children’s development. Instead, these services will keep documentation about the development of the educational program.

There is no change to existing requirements for services in other states and territories.

ACT has decided to maintain the current position, to ensure that the program reflects the individual needs of the specific community of children attending the service, proportionate to each individual child’s attendance rate.

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11.9 Proposed modifications to the FOI Act for the purposes of the National Law

This amendment will emphasise that a determination relating to the publication of information made by the NCS FOI Commissioner is made by an instrument under State and Territory Law, rather than the Commonwealth Legislation Act 2003 (Cth).

Amend Regulation 209 (Miscellaneous Modifications of the ECS Regulations) and remove the word “legislative” in the phrase legislative instrument under sections 8(3) and 11C(2) of the FOI Act.


Other amendments to the National Law and Regulations outside the DRIS (as agreed to by Education Ministers).

Description of proposal

Decision

12.2 Penalties

This proposal aims to increase penalties in line with inflation, to encourage services to comply with the National Law and Regulations.

Increase the maximum penalties throughout the NQF by 14.9% (cumulative inflation since commencement of the scheme).

Rounding down of penalties will be to the nearest $100.

12.3 FDC Coordinator to educator ratio

This proposal aims to address workforce shortage issues and ensure adequate supervision of children in care.

Additional technical amendments to the National Regulations to state that one FTE FDC Co-ordinator must be employed when the number of educators ranges anywhere between

  • 1 and 15 (when there is a 1:15 ratio applied and the service has been operating for under 12 months) or
  • 1 and 25 (when there is a 1:25 ratio applied and the service has been operating for more than 12 months).

For FDC services that have operated over 12 months, adjusting the requirements after the initial 1 FDC Co-ordinator to 25 educators, so that an additional 0.2FTE FDC Co-ordinator is needed for every 5 additional educators.

12.4 Display of FDC ratings at FDC premises

This proposal aims to provide families with a visual representation of an FDC service’s rating. This information will help them choose an education and care service for their children.

Require a ratings certificate to be clearly visible at any FDC residence or venue used to provide education and care to children as part of a family day care service.

12.5 First Aid currency requirements

This proposal aims to ensure that staff have current qualifications and up to date training.

Prescribe currency periods for first aid qualifications and other health and safety training in the National Regulations. This will help providers and educators understand when qualifications and training are due for renewal.

12.6 Scope of assistance provided by FDC educator assistant

This proposal aims to clarify the duties of an FDC educator assistant during transportation.

Amendment to National Regulations to clarify that escorting children by walking is within the scope of regulation 144(4).

Page last updated: 28 Jun 2022, 04:46 PM