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Information for Existing and Prospective Providers


The Role of the ACT Regulatory Authority

The ACT Regulatory Authority

Children’s Education and Care Assurance (CECA) is the ACT’s Regulatory Authority under the Education and Care Services National Law External Link. CECA operates within the Early Childhood Policy and Regulation Branch of the ACT Education Directorate.

CECA is responsible for administering the National Quality Framework External Link (NQF) across the ACT. CECA also regulates a small number of services under the Children and Young People Act 2008.

Key Functions of CECA

  • Assess and grant approvals, including provider and service approvals.
  • Conduct assessment and rating of services against the National Quality Standard External Link and the NQF.
  • Work with Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) to promote continuous quality improvement in education and care services.
  • Facilitate opportunities for the ACT education and care sector to engage with professional learning, networking and information in relation to the NQF.
  • Monitor and enforce compliance with the National Law and Regulations, through compliance and risk audits of services and by receiving and investigating serious incidents and complaints.
  • Work locally and nationally to advance early childhood policy and regulation.

Keep up to date with CECA

  • Opt-in to receive CECA’s alerts, notifications, updates and the Talking Quality publication via email. Please send a request in writing to CECA@act.gov.au to register.
  • Visit the Education Directorate website.
  • Attend CECA’s Education and Care Sector Meetings and annual Symposium. Contact CECA for event dates by phone (02) 6207 1114 or email CECA@act.gov.au
  • Follow CECA’s Facebook External Link page
Approved provider role and responsibilities

Approved providers

Approved providers must operate their approved services that meets the obligations in the Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations.

Approved providers must exercise effective leadership, governance and management to meet their legal obligations. Providers must also employ suitably qualified and experienced nominated supervisors, educational leaders, coordinators and educators.

The National Quality Standard External Link and supporting information can be found on the ACECQA External Link website. This includes resources governance, leadership, staffing arrangements and recruitment.

Persons with management and control

The National Law obliges approved providers remain ‘fit and proper’ to conduct early childhood services.

Under the National Law any person with management or control (PMC) of a provider must be a fit and proper person to be involved in the provision of an education and care service.

An approved provider has a legal responsibility to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children being educated and cared for at their service. Any PMC also has this legal responsibility.

Information about PMCs must be current and updated through the National Quality Agenda IT System External Link.

Nominated supervisors

As part of an application for service approval, approved providers must identify the nominated supervisor for the service. The nominated supervisor must be over 18 years old, have adequate knowledge and understanding of the provision of education and care to children; and have the ability to effectively supervise and manage an education and care service.

All nominated supervisors must give their written consent to the nomination by completing a Nominated Supervisor Consent Form External Link. Nominated supervisor information must be current and updated through the National Quality Agenda IT System External Link.

The NQF sets out the responsibilities for nominated supervisors. For more information read ACECQA’s Nominated Supervisor Factsheet External Link.

Person in day to day charge

The approved provider and/or nominated supervisor needs to designate a responsible person to be placed in day-to-day charge of a service if the approved provider and/or nominated supervisor is not present. The person in day to day charge must be over 18 years old, have adequate knowledge and understanding of the provision of education and care to children; and have the ability to effectively supervise and manage an education and care service.

The person nominated to be in day-to-day charge must accept this responsibility in writing. The nominated person must have adequate knowledge and understanding of the provision of education and care to children and be able to effectively manage a service.

A record that demonstrates who is the responsible person in day-to-day charge should be in place. Being in day-to-day charge of a service does not place any additional legal responsibilities on the person under the National Law. The responsibilities relevant to educators under the National Law continue to apply.

An approved provider does not have to appoint a person in day-to-day charge if a nominated supervisor(s) or an approved provider is to be the responsible person in attendance during service operational hours.

Educational leaders

The National Law requires approved providers to designate, in writing, a suitably qualified and experienced educator, coordinator or other individual as educational leader.

Educational leaders play a critical role in each education and care setting, by leading the development and implementation of an effective educational program.

ACECQA offers a suite of resources to support educational leaders in their role. These include the Educational Leader Resource External Link, The Role of the Educational Leader Factsheet External Link and the Educational Leader Resource videos External Link.

Obligations to notify

Approved providers and services have an obligation to notify CECA about incidents, complaints and changes to information about the approved provider or approved service.

This includes serious incidents, complaints and circumstances where the health, safety or wellbeing of children may have been put at risk. Details of notification types and timeframes External Link can be found on the ACECQA website.

Notifications and changes to information must be made within the required timeframes using the National Quality Agenda IT System External Link.

Comprehensive information about the National Quality Agenda IT System External Link can be found on the ACECQA website, this includes user guidelines and resources External Link.

The ACT’s child protection legislation also requires approved providers, educators and other education and care service staff to report on incidents or suspected incidents External Link involving children.

Quality improvement obligations

Approved provider must ensure a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) is in place for each service.

The QIP is for providers and services to self-assess their performance in delivering quality education and care and to improve that performance. The QIP should reflect the unique context of a service and be communicated in a way that is meaningful.

A QIP must demonstrate:

  • an assessment of the programs and practices at the service against the National Quality Standard and National Regulations;
  • identify areas for improvement; and
  • a statement about the service’s philosophy.

The QIP does not have to be provided in any specific format. An optional template External Link from the ACECQA website can be downloaded for use.

The QIP can prioritise areas for improvement against the 7 quality areas of the NQS and the related regulatory requirements. There is no requirement that all 15 standards and 40 elements are addressed in the QIP.

The QIP should include key areas for improvement. The Self-assessment Tool External Link from the ACECQA website is an optional tool suitable for all service types and can be adapted to meet the needs of the service context.

All new services are required to submit their QIP after 3 months of operation. CECA will contact the service directly with this request.

A QIP must be updated at least once a yearand be available on requestby CECA or families enrolling their child into the service.

Compliance obligations

The National Regulations detail the minimum operational requirements for services. Providers, service leaders and educators. There should be embedded processes in place to monitor compliance within each setting.

This Self-assessment of Compliance Tool MS Word File (332kb) has been developed by CECA to assist providers, service leaders and educators to gain a knowledge and application of the National Regulations. Services that use this tool to reflect on their operational requirements and are confident in understanding the National Regulations, provide better outcomes for children, and demonstrate compliance during their assessment and rating and compliance visits.

Child protection obligations in the ACT

Child protection: mandatory reporting

The Children and Young People Act 2008 External Link includes a legal obligation that individuals working in education and care services must report any suspected child abuse or neglect.

Keeping Children and Young People Safe External Linkis a guide to assist members of the public in making decisions about reporting concerns of child abuse or neglect in the ACT.

All staff working in education and care are encouraged to complete the Community Services Directorate’s free Keeping Children and Young People Safe Online Training External Link.

Child protection: Reportable Conduct Scheme

The Reportable Conduct Scheme External Linkaims to improve child protection within organisations in the ACT.

Reportable conduct covers allegations or convictions of child abuse or misconduct towards children.

Organisations must report allegations of reportable conduct by an employee or volunteer. This includes ill-treatment of a child (such as emotional abuse or use of force) neglect, psychological harm, misconduct of a sexual nature, sexual or physical offences and convictions where a child is a victim or is present and inappropriate discipline or not protecting children from harm.

Organisations must have policies and procedures to prevent and respond to child abuse.

The ACT’s Ombudsman provides support and practice guidelines External Link to help organisations meet their reportable conduct obligations.

If organisations suspect criminal conduct, they must also report the conduct to ACT Policing External Link.

More information about the reportable Conduct Scheme can be found on the ACT Ombudsman’s website External Link.

Child protection: regulating restrictive practices

Senior Practitioner Act 2018 External Link regulates the use of restrictive practices by a range of entities, including approved providers.

The Senior Practitioner works with the regulated communities to drive cultural change across all sectors where restrictive practices may be an issue. The legislation protects the rights of individuals in settings including children in education and care services.

More information about the Senior Practitioner and restrictive practices can be found in ACT Senior Practitioner Fact Sheet External Link and on the Community Services Directorate’s website External Link.

Child protection: Working with Vulnerable People checking

The Working with Vulnerable People (background Checking) Act 2011 External Link requires all individuals working and volunteering in education and care services to have a background check and to be registered.

Providers and educators are required to maintain up to date records of Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) Registration cards. This includes the obligation upon individuals to carry their WWVP card at all times while engaged in educating and caring for children in an education and care setting. For more information visit the Access Canberra’s website External Link.

Approval requirements and guidelines for ACT education and care sites

Children’s Education and Care Assurance (CECA) is the ACT’s Regulatory Authority who administers the legislation covering approved education and care services and licensed childcare services in the ACT. This includes the approvals of education and care services under the Education and Care Services National Law (the National Law).

Provider and service approvals

CECA assess provider and service approval applications submitted via the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQAITS) Portal.

Each section of the application is required to be completed, particularly the declarations. All relevant information requested in the application must be submitted.

Once an application is deemed complete by the Authority, the National Law requires CECA to assess a provider approval application within 60 days and to assess a service approval application within 90 days.

CECA may ask applicants to attend an interview and written assessment as part of the approval process. For more information visit the provider and service approval section.

Premises

When considering service approval applications, CECA must have regard to the National Quality Framework (NQF) External Link including the National Quality Standard (NQS) External Link and the suitability of the education and care service premises. Section 3 of the National Law External Link identifies the objectives and guiding principles of the NQF.

The National Law requires CECA to be satisfied that the approved provider has legal authority to use the proposed premises and that the premises meets the requirements specified in the National Law.

The approval process is in place to ensure that services meet operational requirements (Chapter 4 of the National Regulations External Link), including protecting children from harm and hazard (Section 167 of the National Law External Link ).

CECA recognises the significant role the physical environment has in the delivery of education and care programs for children at education and care services. The importance of outdoor learning environments is embedded within the requirements of the NQF. It is recommended that prospective education and care providers and developers read and understand the ACT Education Directorate’s Outdoor environment guidelines: requirements for approval of centre-based care services PDF File (711kb). These guidelines will assist in determining the suitability of a site during the concept and planning stages of an education and care service.

Fact sheets, forms and guidelines

Fact sheet for prospective education and care providers MS Word File (177kb)

Fact sheet for education and care service approvals MS Word File (175kb)

Compliance history statement MS Word File (112kb)

Physical audit template MS Word File (104kb)

ACT fire safety guidelines PDF File (382kb)

Outdoor environment guidelines: requirements for approval of centre-based care services in the ACT PDF File (711kb)