Inappropriate discipline and drug use issues uncovered in QLD
The Queensland Regulatory Authority has updated its list of published enforceable actions, in line with their commitments under Section 270, Regulation 227 of the National Laws and Regulations.
Section 270, Regulation 227 states:
Regulatory authorities may publish prescribed information about the following enforcement actions taken under the National Law:
- compliance notices
- emergency action notices
- enforceable undertakings
- suspension or cancellation of approvals or certificates (other than voluntary suspension or surrender)
- amendments to approvals or certificates for enforcement purposes.
Three enforceable undertakings have been made available in the latest update, two relating to educators, and one to a nominated supervisor, and relate to drug use, inappropriate discipline, and attention to undertaking the role of nominated supervisor.
Whilst ACECQA has provision within the National Laws and Regulations for States and Territories to list the name and provider approval number of the approved provider subject to the enforcement action, and information that identifies a person with management or control of an education and care service (if the regulatory authority is satisfied that it is in the public interest to do so), the Queensland Regulatory Authority have omitted these details in the update, identifying the individuals involved only as centre based educators and a nominated supervisor.
The breaches in question occurred between May 2018 and January 2019. In the first instance, the Queensland Regulatory Authority undertook enforcement action after noting a breach of Section 3 (2) (a) of the Education and Care Services National Law, forming a reasonable belief that the educator was in contravention of “the paramount objective of the National Law, which is to ensure the safety, health and well being of children attending education and care services”.
In response, the Regulatory Authority imposed the following enforceable undertaking, which was accepted by the educator concerned:
The educator will advise the Regulatory Authority of:
- the educator’s current employment details including the name, location and contact details of the educator’s employer and the role held by the educator.
- any changes to the educator’s employment details within 72 hours of the change.
- any changes to the educator’s contact information including residential address, postal address, email address and phone number within 72 hours of the change.
The educator will abstain from using illicit drugs
- The educator will submit to random drug tests with a pathology laboratory, at the Regulatory Authority’s direction, for a period of six consecutive months. These drug tests will be conducted at the educator’s own expense.
- The educator will submit the drug test results to the Regulatory Authority via email within 72 hours of the Regulatory Authority’s direction to take a drug test.
- The educator will submit the original drug test results within seven days of the Regulatory Authority’s direction to take a drug test via post to the Regulatory Authority.
In the second instance, a breach of Section 166(3) of the National Law – Offence to use inappropriate discipline was identified by the Regulatory Authority, with the following enforceable actions, accepted by the educator, proposed: The person agrees that within three months of acceptance of the undertaking, the educator will, at their own cost, enrol in and complete three modules delivered by Early Childhood Australia as follows:
- Teaching young children to manage their emotions in early childhood education and care settings;
- Being an intentional educator; and
- Acting ethically, exploring the ECA code of ethics.
The person also agrees to completion of the three modules prior to engaging in the education and care sector.
In the third instance, the Regulatory Authority determined that a nominated supervisor breached Section 165(2) of the National Law – Offence to inadequately supervise children. In response, the Regulatory Authority undertook the following action, accepted by the nominated supervisor in question:
- The person agrees not to hold a supervisory position at a centre-based service or work as a family day care educator without first obtaining permission from the Regulatory Authority, for a period of 12 months from the acceptance of the undertaking.
- The person agrees that within 90 days of acceptance of the undertaking, the educator will, at their own cost, enrol in and complete two modules delivered by Early Childhood Australia as follows:
- Duty of care for managers and supervisors; and
- Using critical reflection.
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