ROGS 2019 ECEC report highlights funding, ratings and compliance as areas of focus

by Jason Roberts

February 01

The Productivity Commission has released the early childhood and care (ECEC) sector component of their annual Report on Government Services (ROGS).

 

The report is designed to provide information on the equity, effectiveness and efficiency of government services in Australia and focuses on childcare and preschool services.

 

As well as reporting on a range of key performance indicators the report also comments on funding, size and attendance details from the preceding year.

 

Of particular note this year was a contraction of overall funding reaching the sector of 3.2 per cent, a 4.5 per cent increase in centres achieving a quality rating of meeting or better at assessment and a sharp rise in the number of confirmed compliance breaches with New South Wales performing particularly poorly with an over 100 per cent increase in breaches confirmed per 100 approved services.

 

Overall key highlights of the report in 2019 are as follows:

 

  • Funding – Total funding to ECEC services fell marginally in the year from $9.5 billion in 2017 to $9.2 billion in 2018. The Australian Government contribution was $7.7 billion in 2017 falling to $7.5 billion in 2018.

 

  • Universal Access – A total of $425.8 million was allocated to State and Territory governments through the National Partnership. This compares to $418 million in 2016/17

 

  • Number of services – There was a 2.1 per cent increase in services of CCB approved centres in Australia to18,669.

 

  • Children using ECEC – There was an increase of 1.8 per cent of children using ECEC services in 2018 from 2017 with 31.4 per cent of all children in Australia now attending. The proportion of children attending care grew fractionally in 2018. The proportion of children attending preschool programs however fell in the period to 90.1 per cent of all children from 92.4 per cent in the previous period.

 

  • Special needs group participation childcare – Participation of children from low income families at ECEC services, although still above representative levels in the community, fell for the 5th year running to 20.2 per cent.

 

  • Special needs group participation preschool – Participation in this segment was more or less in line with the previous year with the exception of children not from an english speaking background which saw a jump of 10 per cent in total children attending and an increase to 17. 4 per cent of all children preschools.

 

  • Childcare costs – The median weekly cost for LDC rose to $460, up 3.8 per cent. The equivalent cost of FDC rose to $400 per week, up 3.1 per cent. The average cost as a percentage of disposable income were marginally higher than last year at both LDC and FDC and before and after subsidy application.

 

  • Achievement of National Quality Standard – 93.9 per cent of services had received a quality rating and 77.9 per cent of the rated services achieved a rating of meeting or better. This was up 4.5 per cent from last year. Quality area 1 was the worst performing segment with 83.1 per cent receiving meeting or above although this was 3.3 per cent better than last years result.

 

  • Confirmed breaches – Nationally in 2018 there were 125.7 breaches per NQF approved service, up from 97.9 in 2017. The highest rates were for FDC (295.9 per 100 services) and LDC (155.3 per 100 services). NSW saw a significant increase in breaches rising from 71 per 100 services in 2017 to 144.9 per 100 services in 2018.

 

  • Serious incidents – Serious incidents fell to 97.9 per 100 centres from 99.3 in 2017. That being said WA, TAS and NT all saw quite large rises in 2018.

 

Full details of the release including data sets can be found at the Productivity website or by clicking here.

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