ACECQA and NSW DEC regional forums
ACECQA and the NSW Department of Education and Communities have been hosting a series of regional forums in NSW. The forums provide an opportunity to discuss the National Quality Framework. ACECQA is sharing some questions from these forums that may be of interest to others.
Q: When do you expect all services to be assessed under the new National Quality Framework?
A: Regulatory Authorities plan for all services to have had at least one quality assessment and rating visit completed by mid-2015.
With around eight weeks between the visit occurring and services receiving their report and rating, it is expected the quality rating of all services will be determined within months of this date.
New services will be assessed as they enter the system.
Q: What happens if a service is assessed as being below the standard?
A: This will depend on the degree to which the service is assessed as below the National Quality Standard (NQS), and the approach of the provider. The two levels below ‘Meeting the National Quality Standard’ are ‘Working Towards the National Quality Standard’ and ‘Significant Improvement Required’.
Working Towards the National Quality Standard
‘Working Towards National Quality Standard’ will be the overall rating if one or more of the seven Quality Areas is rated ‘Working Towards’. This means some services will receive an overall ‘Working Towards’ rating for receiving ‘Working Towards’ in every Quality Area, while others may only have ‘Working Towards’ in one Quality Area.
In either scenario, the service can use the information in its detailed ratings report to update its Quality Improvement Plan and focus on areas to improve over time.
Significant Improvement Required
If a service is assessed at the lowest rating level – ‘Significant Improvement Required’ – the Regulatory Authority has found that it fails to meet a Quality Area or a regulation in a way that constitutes an ‘unacceptable risk to the safety, health and wellbeing of children’.
In this case the authority will most likely take some formal enforcement action to require the provider to urgently rectify the problem.
The type of enforcement action will vary and might range from a written direction to comply or the suspension of approval to operate.
In general, the higher the quality rating, the less often a service will be reassessed. If a service is assessed as ‘Working Towards National Quality Standard’, then another assessment is likely to occur within a year. A service rated ‘Exceeding the National Quality Standard’ might not be assessed for another three years. Read more.
Q: What kind of complaints from parents does a service need to report?
A: A parent complaint needs to be reported if:
- a complaint alleges the safety, health or wellbeing of a child was or is being compromised or
- a complaint alleges the Law has been breached
For example, a complaint about pasta being on the menu every week would not need to be reported to the regulatory authority. A complaint about a child not being offered an alternative meal when they have a food intolerance should be reported.
If you need to report a parent complaint to your regulatory authority, use form NL01 Notification of complaints and incidents (other than serious incidents).
This form is also to be used for:
- incident that requires/required the Approved Provider to close, or reduce the number of children attending the service for a period
- a circumstance that poses a significant risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of a child attending the service.
If you have a question for ACECQA you can post it here on the blog, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 4 ACECQA (1300 422 327)