Compliance and Enforcement

CECA is the ACT’s Regulatory Authority for the education and care sector. CECA exercise the powers of the ACT Regulatory Authority under the Education and Care Services National Law (the National Law).

The National Law works to protect a particularly vulnerable part of our society - children - when they are in the care of people other than their parents or guardians.

The National Law sets out what the regulator is supposed to do, what tools are available, and fundamental obligations.

Section 260 of the National Law specifies the functions of the Regulatory Authority.

They are:

  • to assess services against the National Quality Standard and determine the ratings of those services;
  • to monitor and enforce compliance;
  • to receive and investigate complaints arising under the Law;
  • to educate and inform education and care services and the community about the National Quality Framework (NQF);
  • to work in collaboration with Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) to support and promote continuous quality improvements

Section 3 of the National Law then sets out objectives and guiding principles that apply to these functions.

Objectives significant to CECA’s functions include:

  • to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children attending education and care services;
  • to improve the educational and developmental outcomes for children attending education and care services; and
  • to promote continuous improvement in the provision of quality education and care services.

Guiding principles significant to CECA’s function include:

  • that the rights and best interests of the child are paramount; and
  • that best practice is expected in the provision of education and care services

The Compliance Framework

CECA is made up of three interconnected teams each contributing to the unit’s functions under the National Law. The teams are: Quality Assurance Team, Audit and Risk Management Team and Investigation Team.

CECA’s regulatory strategy is to:

  1. Use formal processes and informal education to persuade everyone in the sector to abide by the National Law.
  2. Create opportunities and forums for the sector to develop best practice and manage risk.
  3. Use assessment and rating, education and auditing to maximise best practice;
  4. Use auditing and risk rating methodology to prevent, manage and reduce harm;
  5. Use the powers of the National Law to protect children from harm and hazard.

Educate and Engage

CECA engages in educational development for the sector. CECA convenes the Education and Care Sector Forum at least three times a year. The aim of the sector forum is to expand best practice and improve risk management. Newsletters are regularly published to advise the sector on latest information or inform their rights and responsibilities under the National Law.

The Quality Assurance team undertake the Assessment and Rating (A&R) process. The key objective of quality assurance is to assist providers and services in their journey of continuous improvement. The National Quality Framework (NQF) requires each service to be assessed and rated against the standard. A stated objective of the NQF is to ‘improve the educational and developmental outcomes for children attending education and care services’.

Enforcement

The Audit and Risk Management team undertake compliance audits and risk assessment audits of services. Compliance audits help to ensure that services are meeting their minimum requirements as set under the National Law.

The investigation team’s focus is on the information that becomes known to the Authority of risk or the potential for risk to the safety, health and well-being of children. The National Law provides regulatory authorities with a wide range of powers to protect children from harm and hazards or address unlawful conduct. The investigations team may require individuals to appear and give evidence or produce documents to an authorised officer.

Where breaches of the National Law are identified, compliance action includes:

Compliance directions
Compliance notices
Notice to suspend education and care by a family day care educator
Emergency action notices
Prohibition notices
Emergency removal of children
Powers of Entry
Enforceable undertakings

CECA Education and Engage Compliance Framework pdf icon (311kb)