Fact sheets – Regulatory Authority Activities
May | 2018
The Board has a compliance monitoring function under the National Law and as a consequence Authorised Officers regularly make unscheduled as well as scheduled visits to services. Monitoring activities are part of a range of regulatory tools to ensure compliance and promote continuous improvement in education and care services. Other regulatory tools include the provision of information and guidance and targeted campaigns, focused on specific issues of concern. Like all regulatory activity, monitoring activities are conducted with a view to minimising regulatory burden and take into account the individual circumstances of each service.
Purpose of visits
Visits provide an opportunity for Authorised Officers to monitor a service’s continuous improvement progress and address risks associated with the health, safety and wellbeing of children. Visits can provide an opportunity for Authorised Officers to provide information and guidance about requirements of the law and discuss best practice with a view to influencing improved outcomes for children.
Visits also enable Authorised Officers to monitor areas of concern emerging from incident reporting or for checking procedures and documents such as qualifications for declared approved supervisors or training accreditation. They may also use the opportunity to share information with services in response to specific questions from each service.
Some visits will be to follow up services rated at Working Towards National Quality Standard and to monitor their progress toward Meeting National Quality Standard before their next assessment. Less routine visits will be those made to some services about which a complaint has been made.
Scheduled and unscheduled visits are planned by the Board as part of an overall approach to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children; improve children’s educational and development outcomes; and promote continuous quality improvement in education and care services. The visits are a learning opportunity for both service staff and Authorised Officers.
Connection between unscheduled visits and the assessment and rating process
Authorised Officers may note observations about the service during a compliance monitoring visit which will inform the next assessment visit or subsequent monitoring visits.
Matters related to security and authorisation
All Authorised Officers have current criminal history assessments conducted by the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion; have completed Authorised Officer training; and carry Authority Cards. They will introduce themselves upon arrival at a service, ask that the site leader is advised of their presence and will have their Authority Card available to show you.
An Authorised Officer has the legislative authority to enter service premises, obtain information and documentation, and observe and inspect any matters relating to the law.
What happens during a compliance monitoring visit?
The majority of monitoring and compliance visits are unscheduled unless a person is required to be present at the visit for an interview or particular information is required for the investigation. Each monitoring and compliance visit will vary depending on the purpose of the visit. For example, a visit relating to the provision of education and information may provide an opportunity to discuss general information relating to the National Quality Framework or to discuss matters of a particular topic. A follow up visit from an assessment and rating may focus on any outcomes and improvements that have taken place since the assessment and rating visit.
What are the responsibilities of services during an unscheduled visit?
During unscheduled visits service educators and providers are asked to:
- focus on their responsibilities for children as the first priority
- cooperate with Authorised Officers and respond to questions that are asked or provide documentation as requested. For example, Authorised Officers may ask to sight documents as evidence of staff training or qualifications.
- if unable to attend to questions/requests of Authorised Officers at the time of the visit, nominated supervisors are asked to explain this to the Authorised Officers and make alternative arrangements to meet visit requirements so that there is minimal impact to service delivery
- take the opportunity to ask questions about aspects of the National Quality Framework.
What happens after the visit?
Depending on the type of compliance monitoring visit, services can expect a letter or report from the Board after the visit that will include a summary of the conversations that took place and observations of any matters requiring attention. Matters of non-compliance will be managed according to the nature of the matters identified.
The Operational Policy Manual for Regulatory Authorities available on the ACECQA website contains clear and detailed information about compliance monitoring. This is available at: http://acecqa.gov.au/operational-policymanual-for-regulatory-authorities.
Early Childhood Services
Phone: 08 8226 0077 or 1800 882 413
Email: EducationStandardsBoard [at] sa.gov.au