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Updates for Licensing Changes and the Move Towards a National Quality Framework

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During the week I attended a meeting held by the Office for Early Childhood Education and Care which is overseen by the Department of Education and Training. They are responsible for:

  • Regulating and licensing ECEC services in Queensland
  • Leading Queensland’s  input into the national early childhood reform agenda through the Council of Australian Governments(COAG)
  • Working to ensure all Queensland can access a high quality kindergarten programme in the year before they start Prep – by 2014

Regulatory role of the Office

  • Responsible for regulating and licensing early childhood education and care services in Queensland
  • Administers the Child Care Act 2002 (the Act) and Child Care Regulation 2003
  • The Act sets minimum legislative standards with which licensees of  services are required to comply
  • Currently 2,591 licensed services regulated by the Office in the state of Queensland:
    • 1,905 Child Care Centres (including long day care, limited hours care and kindergartens)
    • 601 School Age Care Services
    • 85 Family Day Care Services

From 1 July 2010, amendments to the Child Care Act 2002 allow a licensee to apply to the Office for Early Childhood Education and Care for the internal review of a decision to issue a minor compliance notice. These notices relate to contraventions that pose a minor risk to the safety and wellbeing of children being provided care in a licensed early childhood education and care service.

The amendments follow the introduction of the compliance publication scheme which commenced on 2 February 2010. Then amendments are part of the commitment made by the Queensland Government to improve the quality of early childhood services.

Changes to Legislation

  • Parliament passed further amendments to the Child Care Act 2002 that relate to compliance
  • Stage 2 amendments take effect 1 July 2010
  • In addition to the stage 1 amendments which commenced on 1 February 2010
  • Stage 1 amendments apply to:
    • Licensed centre based child care services – long day care, kindergartens and limited hours care
    • Licensed home based services – family day care
    • Individual child care professionals: Stand-alone care (care for no more than six children, of which no more than four children are not yet school age children)

Changes to Compliance Correspondence

  • Since 1 February 2010, the risk level that each contravention presents to the safety and wellbeing of children is assessed
  • Contraventions are described as minor or more than minor
  • These factors have changed the way in which contraventions are recorded on compliance correspondence – in both pre-notice letters and compliance notices.

Changes to Compliance Correspondence

Pre 1 February 2010

  • Level of risk of the contravention was not assessed
  • Multiple contraventions of the same provision of the Act were grouped together as one contravention
  • For example – 6 contraventions of the maintenance standards, were grouped together as one contravention


  • Level of risk is assessed for each contravention
  • Each contravention is recorded individually
  • Details of each of the contraventions is recorded in a table, providing the licensee with clear information to assist with compliance.

High Level of Compliance within the Sector

  • Majority of service providers work with us to comply with child care legislation
  • To date no compliance information has been published on the Department of Education and Training website
  • The office made 8,729 visits to services across the state in 2009
  • From 1 February to 10 May 2010 – 2,271 service visits

From 1 February – 30 April 2010

  • Out of 3257 contraventions 3203 were remedied
  • 0.6 per cent of the total number of services received a compliance notice

Changes to the Child Care Act 2002

Stage 1 – compliance publication scheme 1 February 2010

–          Information published on the Department’s website about serious and repeated non-compliance, right of external review – state wide

Stage 2 – Compliance history log book and internal review 1 July 2010

–          Services required to keep a compliance history log book to record minor, more than minor or serious con-compliance – (Local)

–          Right of internal review (by chief Executive) for compliance notices for minor contraventions

Stage 3 – Investigate the inclusion of school age care and non-compliance with the building Act

–          Possible inclusion in the publication scheme and compliance history log book

Stage 2 Amendments – 1 July 2010

–          Compliance history log book

–          Internal review

Enforcement and compliance policy

–          Pre-notice letter

–          Compliance notices

–          Serious enforcement

Stage 2 Amendments

Apply to:

–          Licensed centre based child care services – long day care, kindergartens and limited hours care

–          Licensed home based services – family day care

Compliance History Log Book – 1 July 2010

–          Recorded to be kept and maintained by a licensee, containing the licensee’s compliance history for the service

–          One log book is required for each licensed premises

–          Electronic or paper based

The log book must be kept at:

–          The child care centre – for centre-based service

–          The address stated on the license – for home-based service

The licensee must not enter personal information in the log book.

Compliance History Log Book

–          Must be available for inspection

–          Information (in writing) about the log book must be given to parents within 7 days from the time when a child first receives care

–          A copy of part of a log book must be given when requested


Information to be Entered in the Log Book

The following information would be entered in the licensee’s log book:

–          Address of centre or home based care service

–           Name by which cenre or home based service is known

Information about a compliance notice given under the Act (not pre-notice letters):

–          Compliance notice – minor and more than minor contraventions

–          License amendment /urgent amendment

–          License suspension/urgent suspension

When to Enter Information in the Log Book

–          No review sought – 14 days after the 28 day review period ends

–          Review is sought and the notice is confirmed – 14 days after the review decision is made

–          Update information already entered in log book – 14 days after contravention is remedied

–          Change of licensee

Internal Review

A licensee may apply to the Chief Executive for a review of an authorized Officer’s decision to issue a compliance notice, for a contravention that presents a minor risk to the wellbeing and safety of children being provided with care at the service.

–          Licensee has 28 days within which an application may be lodged for a review of a minor compliance notice

–          The review will be decided by the Chief Executive within 30 days of the receipt of the application (wherever practicable)

–          The minor compliance notice will either be revoked or confirmed

Right of Review by Independent Body

–          Service provider can apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a review of a decision to:

  • Issue a compliance notice – more than minor contraventions
  • Amend/urgently amend a license
  • Suspend/urgently suspend a license
  • Revoke a license, or
  • Refuse to renew a license

Collaboration with the Sector

The Office will continue to support the ECEC services to meet legislated minimum standards

–          Regional Service Centres will engage, work cooperatively and continue to support services to achieve amd maintain compliance – this may include issuing a pre-notice letter

–          A consistent approach to issuing compliance notices will be maintained

–          Publication scheme – transparent processes for publishing certain compliance information on website

–          Log book – transparent processes for implementation and monitoring at a local level

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