by Dinuki, 05 April, 2019

This section considers how the operation of providers and services should be regulated and the ongoing approach to regulation under the NQF. There are six issues being considered under this section.

2.1 Sustainability of the NQF

This issue is most relevant for service providers

This section focuses on how the NQF can be sustained following the cessation of the NP NQA with governments currently reviewing the governance arrangements for the administration of the NQF and considering fees for providers and their service in context to the Australia Government Charging Framework. Fees are an important component of supporting an effective regulatory system. The National Law and National Regulations prescribe fees for certain applications from providers. The issue asks what kinds of fee models are appropriate for ensuring the continued operation of the NQF and improving outcomes for children and families by encouraging improvement in service quality.

View annual and transaction fees for the education and care sector.

View the Australian Government Charging Framework.

2.2 Regulatory Approach

This issue is most relevant for service providers and educators

The section seeks to align the approach of regulatory authorities under the NQF with best practice principles of regulation. It focuses on how the approach of regulators can influence continuous improvement in service quality. This could include through mechanisms such as providing increased autonomy for consistently high quality services in order to encourage quality service provision. It could also include assessing quality on a provider basis rather than just at the service level.

To find out more about the Regulatory Authority powers please view page 493 of the Guide to the NQF.

2.3 Qualification Requirements

This issue is most relevant for service providers and educators

This section focus on educators who are deemed to be ‘actively working towards’ a qualification and if this status of qualification promotes positive educational outcomes for children. This is particularly in instances where the qualification is not completed in a timely manner. The recognition of educators ‘actively working towards’ a qualification as holding that qualification was intended to:

· encourage the development of a highly qualified workforce

· support existing educators to upskill

· recognise that the supply of qualified educators may not meet demand in all areas.

The review is exploring whether this provision promotes a staffing standard that is a consistent and transparent input to educational and developmental outcomes for children

To find out more about when an individual can be counted as actively working towards an approved qualification please view page 414 of the Guide to the NQF.

2.4 Protecting children and staff in an emergency

This issue is most relevant for service providers and educators

Emergency and evacuation procedures are a common element ‘not met’ during assessment and rating visits. Quality Area 2 Standard 2.2 of the NQS outlines the requirements for emergency procedures, including the development of plans in consultation with relevant authorities and that these plans must be implemented and practiced. Feedback from the education and care sector has identified that clarity is required regarding the exact requirements for emergency and evacuation procedures.

To find out more about current emergency and evacuation procedures please view pages 381 – 382 of the Guide to the NQF.

2.5 Education and care in OSHC

This issue is relevant for service providers, educators, families and communities

Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) is regulated as ‘centre based’ care under the NQF. There are some differences to how these services are regulated based on the age of the children in attendance. Some regulatory requirements for OSHC are at the jurisdictional level, with differences between jurisdictions including programming, premises requirements and qualification requirements. Currently the National Law and Regulations for OSHC are based around the age of the children in attendance. This can cause legislative confusion for providers on how to comply where there could be preschool age children and children above preschool age in attendance.

This issue considers how the requirements of the National Quality Framework could better reflect the unique operating context of OSHC service.

2.6 Education and Care in FDC.

This issue is relevant for service providers, educators, families and communities

FDC services have distinct regulatory requirements in recognition of the different context under which they operate, regular review of these requirements is needed to ensure the continuing safety, health and wellbeing of children attending these services.

This issue looks at two particular elements of FDC services. Firstly, the approved provider of an FDC service can approve an educator to operate over educator to child ratios in exceptional circumstances. There is no defined timeframe for the over ratio placement and no requirement to notify the Regulatory Authority if this exception is being used. There are potential risks to this practice based on timeframe of care, whether the exceptional circumstances are appropriate and whether the support offered to the educator is sufficient.

Secondly, the FDC co-ordinator holds an important role within an FDC service and the issues paper considers what further guidance is needed to support this role. It also considers whether the position an FDC co-ordinator holds warrants a requirement for particular child protection training.

Resources to support family day care educators and providers can be found on the ACECQA website.

To find out more about FDC educators please view page 420 of the Guide to the NQF.

To find out more about FDC co-ordinators please view page 425 of the Guide to the NQF.

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