WA updates highlight the need for services to promptly address compliance notices
Recent updates from the Western Australian Regulatory Authority have highlighted the importance of services promptly responding to compliance notices, with two services failing to comply with notices in line with the specified deadline.
The first service, a long day care provider, received an initial compliance notice relating to:
- A ratio monitoring tool that only covered morning and afternoon, making no provision for children arriving or departing between 10am and 2pm
- Inadequate supervision, with concerns noted about children being “blocked from educator view”, indoor/outdoor free movement, and yard checks not being carried out before and after using an outdoor space
- Procedures relating to headcounts, including documents to indicate names and numbers of children present, and details of the staff member responsible for conducting the head count.
- The need to review policies and procedures of who, how and when the routine tasks and non-contact duties are to be performed, ensuring correct ratios at all times
- Hand-over processes between lunch cover staff and room
- A review of induction processes with a particular emphasis on supervision.
The approved provider was given approximately four weeks to provide a response to the compliance notice, indicating the measures requested by the Regulatory Authority had been enacted. The approved provider failed to do so. All required evidence was put forward within seven days of the breach, and the service is now deemed to have satisfied the requirements of the notice.
The second service, which provides both early learning and outside school hours care to its local community, received a compliance notice in relation to a number of contraventions of the National Laws and Regulations:
- Section 165: Offence to inadequately supervise children
- Section 167: Offence relating to protection of children from harm and hazard
- Section 175: Offence relating to requirement to keep enrolment and other documents
- Regulation 103: Premises, furniture and equipment to be safe, clean and in good repair
- Regulation 114: Outdoor space – shade
- Regulation 117A: Placing a person in day-to-day charge
- Regulation 117B: Minimum requirements for a person in day to day charge
- Regulation 177(2): Prescribed enrolment and other documents to be kept by approved provider
- Regulation 180: Evidence of prescribed insurance.
In this instance, whilst the service complied with the notice in line with the timeframe expectations as outlined by the Regulatory Authority, the evidence provided did not satisfy the requirements of the Compliance Notice, and subsequent information was requested, which the approved provider submitted, satisfying the requirements of the compliance notice.
While approved providers hold responsibility for compliance with the National Quality Framework (NQF), the task of ensuring day-to-day compliance rests with the leader or manager of the service. The leader then relies on educators to carry out their duties in a manner that does not result in non compliance.
Working as a team to understand the NQF, and its requirements and obligations is considered the best way to prevent compliance breaches from occurring. To learn more about supporting a team to understand their compliance obligations, please see here.