Are you ready for changes to the National Quality Framework?

19 September 2017

From 1 October 2017 changes to the Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations (as implemented across Australia) will take effect in all States and Territories, except in Western Australia where the changes will take effect from 1 October 2018.

A revised National Quality Standard will also take effect in all jurisdictions from 1 February 2018.

With the current National Quality Framework now five years old, the changes are intended to clarify expectations, reinforce policy intent and streamline and reduce regulatory burden.

Key changes to the NQF include:

  • A revised National Quality Standard that removes conceptual overlap between elements and standards, clarifies language and reduces the number of standards from 18 to 15, with the elements reduced from 58 to 40.
  • The removal of supervisor certificate requirements to allow decisions about the responsible person to be made by approved providers. The amendments also allow for the appointment of more than one nominated supervisor at a time in a service. Approved providers will be responsible for appointing a nominated supervisor and/or person in day-to-day charge who is over 18 years old, a fit and proper person, has suitable skills and who has undertaken child protection training.
  • Services will be required to have policies and procedures in place about sleep and rest for children and infants.
  • The introduction of a national educator to child ratio of 1:15 for Outside of School Hours Care providing education and care to school age children. This will only impact NSW services as this ratio (at least) is required already in all other States and Territories.
  • Measures to increase oversight and support of family day care services, including a requirement for family day care approved providers to hold a service approval in each jurisdiction in which they operate and changes to prescribed ratios.
  • Changes to notification requirements:
    • clarification that an approved provider must notify the Department of Education and Training of a serious illness, injury or trauma for which a child attended, or should have attended, a hospital, and not where a child attends a general practitioner and is not hospitalised;
    • the definition of “serious incident” will be amended to require notification to the Department where emergency services attended a service as a result of an emergency and not, for example, as a precautionary measure;
    • services will be required to notify the Department in relation to:
      • any incident where the approved provider reasonably believes that physical and/or sexual abuse of a child has occurred, or is occurring, while a child is being educated and cared for at a service; or
      • an allegation that sexual or physical abuse of a child has occured, or is occuring, while a child is being educated or cared for at a service.

Gadens can assist childcare services to understand the impact of the changes to the National Quality Framework and review policies and procedures for regulatory compliance.

This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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