South Australian regulatory authority signals a phased return to service visits
The South Australian regulatory authority, the Education Standards Board (ESB), has announced that assessment and rating (A&R) and monitoring visits will resume from mid-July, as part of a phased approach to returning to ‘business as usual’ having been suspended since mid March in deference to COVID-19 conditions.
In information shared about the change, ESB outlined that the decision had been made in consultation with SA Health, and that there will be some modifications to the typical A&R process to minimise risk to all involved.
A&R visits will be modified to reduce contact time at services, including a limit on the number of people present at end-of-day conversations. To support this, some discussions will be held by phone or video call instead.
Affected services will be contacted prior to any assessor visits to discuss the arrangements and to tailor ESBs approach, depending on individual service circumstances.
Authorised officers will maintain physical distance and strict hygiene during any visits. They will now be asking services about their risk-management practices and any special requirements for visitors to the service.
Monitoring visits, which will resume from 9 June, will now involve prior contact with services to arrange visits during the transition period.
Site visits to assess applications will also be modified to reduce contact time and the number of people involved. Photo evidence and telephone or video calls can be used as a way to gather evidence.
Compliance and investigation visits involving high risk situations have continued throughout the pandemic, and visits for less urgent investigations will also resume this month. Some tasks involved in investigation, such as gathering witness statements and conducting interviews, will continue to be conducted online by phone or video until mid July, ESB said.
“We expect that most aspects of our work will be back to normal, for the most part, by mid-July. However, this is dependent on health advice at the time. We are all working hard to safely resume activities that were temporarily suspended because of COVID-19. Thank you, in advance, for your cooperation as life begins returning to a new ‘normal’,” a statement from ESB read.
Services requiring further information are invited to contact ESB by phone on (08) 8226 0077