In ACECQA Newsletter Issue 19 we featured an article on authorised officers. A key element of the National Quality Framework is the introduction of ‘authorised officers’ who fulfil the same role in all states and territories under the Education and Care Services National Law. Authorised officers may have different job titles and carry out a variety of functions from state to state.
This week’s blog post is from Kerry Gardner, an Acting Senior Assessment Officer for the Education and Care Regulatory Unit in Western Australia. In this post, Kerry writes about what it is like to carry out an assessment and rating visit to a service, and how impressed she has been by the efforts of services to meet the National Quality Standards.
I feel very privileged to have been involved in eight assessment and rating visits to services throughout Western Australia with one country service and one Outside School Hours Care service included in these visits.
My first Rating and Assessment visit was a bit daunting but due to the intense training and testing and my prior experience as a Licensing Officer I felt well prepared. I was accompanied by an equally experienced Assessor which provided the opportunity to discuss observations made, paperwork viewed and further information we required from the service. This visit was conducted over two days of intense observation and note taking to ensure we collected enough information about the service’s practices to make an informed decision regarding their meeting of the elements and standards of the National Quality Framework.
At the conclusion of the two day visit we came back to the office where we wrote the draft report for the service. This was completed over two days with many long discussions about what information, from all that was collected, was needed to justify the rating. These reports were then reviewed and moderated by the Assessment Team Leader and the Quality Manager before being sent to the services for review. Once reviewed by the service the report was finalised and a final rating given.
I have especially enjoyed the interactions with the children, educators and management at the services and some of the innovative ways services have found to meet the elements of the National Quality Framework. I am excited to be involved in this ground-breaking work in ensuring continued improvement in the care of children.
My position at the Education and Care Regulatory Unit also involves ensuring service compliance with the law and the associated regulations and occasionally investigating complaints.
All assessment officers are also responsible for assessing new service applications, amendments to service applications, notifications of serious incidents and other notifications, and answering phone calls from the general public and services.
About the author
Kerry Gardner is an Acting Senior Assessment Officer for the Education and Care Regulatory Unit in Western Australia. Previously, Kerry was employed by the Western Australian Child Care Licensing and Standards Unit as a Licensing Officer for six years. She has a child care background having been employed as a qualified Educator and Director of Child Care services over 16 years. She also has three grown children and four grandchildren.