Victorian compliance crackdown highlights issues, cancels provider approvals

by Freya Lucas

March 21

The Victorian Department of Education and Training has released updated details of compliance actions taken against approved providers in the state, showing that six approved providers have had their provider approval cancelled under Section 33 of the Education and Care Services National Law for a variety of breaches related to inappropriate discipline, failure to ensure children are kept safe, and failure to protect the rights and dignity of children.

 

FDC

 

Family day care (FDC) services are heavily represented in the list, with all provider approval cancellations appearing on the 2019 list, bar one, being FDC providers. The prevalence of FDC providers on the list is consistent with observations from both sides of government in relation to FDC compliance. Seven FDC providers appear on the list, with five of them having their provider approval cancelled.

 

Of the five FDC providers who lost approved provider status, all were found to be in breach of some of the elements of Section 31 of the National Law including:

 

  • approved provider or a person with management or control not a fit and proper person to be involved in the provision of an education and care service;

 

  • approved provider breaching a condition of the provider approval;

 

  • unacceptable risk to the safety, health and wellbeing of children being educated and cared for by the service;

 

  • approved provider has been found guilty of an indictable offence or an offence that if committed in this jurisdiction would be an indictable offence; and,

 

  • approved provider has not operated any education and care service for a period of more than 12 months (including any period of suspension).

 

Of the FDC providers who retained their provider approval, the following sanctions were imposed:

 

An emergency action notice was issued to an FDC approved provider, on the grounds that there was an immediate risk to the safety, health and wellbeing of children, including breaches of:

 

  • Section 51 – failure to adequately monitor and support FDC educators;

 

  • Section 269 – failure to include the required information in the register of FDC educators;

 

  • Regulation 75 – information about educational program;

 

  • Regulation 100 – failure to conduct risk assessments before excursions;

 

  • Regulation 102 – authorisation for excursions; and,

 

  • Regulation 116 – assessment of FDC residences and venues.

 

The remaining FDC approved provider was issued with a compliance notice, due to the serious nature of failure to comply with:

 

  •    Section 51 – failure to adequately monitor and support FDC educators;

 

  •    Section 167 – protection of children from harm and hazards;

 

  •     Section 168 – delivery of educational program not based on an approved learning framework;

 

  •    Section 175 – failure to keep enrolment and other prescribed documents available for inspection;

 

  •    Section 269 – failure to include the required information in the register of FDC educators;

 

  •    Regulation 74 – failure to keep documentation of child assessments or evaluations for delivery of the educational program;

 

  •    Regulation 100 – failure to conduct risk assessments before excursions;

 

  •    Regulation 162 – failure to keep health information in the enrolment record; and,

 

  •    Regulation 170 – failure to ensure that an FDC educator followed the service policy and procedures.

 

LDC

 

Four long day care (LDC) approved providers appear on the list. All, bar one, retained their approved provider status, and were issued with amendments to their service approvals.

 

The LDC approved provider who had their provider approval cancelled drew the attention of the Department for failing to ensure that the approved provider or a person with management or control was a fit and proper person to be involved in the provision of an education and care service; for posing an unacceptable risk to the safety, health and wellbeing of children; and, for breaching a condition of provider approval – all of which fall under Section 31 of the National Law.

 

The remaining LDC services were issued with amendments for the following breaches, which the Department determined constituted serious non compliance with the National Law:

 

  •    Section 51- failure to operate in a way that ensures the safety, health and wellbeing of children;

 

  •    Section 167 – protection of children from harm and hazards;

 

  •     Section 168 – delivery of educational program not based on an approved learning framework;

 

  •     Regulation 92 – failure to ensure medication record is kept that includes all required details for each child to whom medication is administered;

 

  •     Regulation 93 – failure to administer medication in accordance with authorisation;

 

  •    Regulation 155 –interactions with children – failure to maintain dignity and rights;

 

  •    Regulation 170 – failure to follow policy and procedures;

 

  •    Section 165 – inadequate supervision;

 

  •    Regulation 75 – information about educational program;

 

  •    Regulation 77 – health hygiene and safe food practices;

 

  •    Regulation 78 – food and beverages;

 

  •    Regulation 90 – medical condition policy;

 

  •    Regulation 103 – premises, furniture and equipment not safe, clean and in good repair;

 

  •    Regulation 147 – failure to include the required information about staff members on staff record;

 

  •    Regulation 155 – interactions with children – failure to maintain dignity and rights; and,

 

  •    Regulation 170 – failure to follow e policy and procedures.

 

OSHC

 

One outside school hours care (OSHC) service appears on the list, due to the serious nature of their non-compliance in relation to Section 166 of the National Law, relating to inappropriate discipline by an approved provider and staff member. As a result, the service has had their service approval amended.

 

As a result of the breach of compliance, the approved provider must provide professional development to the area manager, nominated supervisor, and educational leader to ensure they gain knowledge to build their skills in leadership and service management by an agreed date, with proof of the completion of the professional development to be provided to the regulatory authority.

 

All educators within the service, alongside the nominated supervisor and educational leader must also be provided with professional development to ensure that they gain knowledge to build their skills to positively interact with children and give each child positive guidance and support towards acceptable behaviour as a condition of the service remaining operational, the regulatory authority said.

 

A further compliance element was added by the regulatory authority, who said that the approved provider of the service must ensure that the nominated supervisor, educational leader and all educators employed, appointed or engaged to work in the service attend an educative information forum conducted by the Department of Education and Training in relation to the application of the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 and the Education and Care Services National Regulations, including the requirements of the National Law  

 

The full list of compliance issues identified by the Victorian regulatory authority in 2019, thus far, is available here.

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