WA Regulatory authority issues reminder to all services after another child is left in a bus

WA Regulatory authority issues reminder to all services after another child is left in a bus

by Freya Lucas

May 11, 2021

A Department of Communities investigation recently found that a four-year-old child was found left alone unsupervised in a locked service vehicle, after being transported from school to the service premises, resulting in a breach of Section 165 (1) of the National Law for the approved provider, and a financial penalty of $15,000 plus $1,000 in costs.


The approved provider who was licenced to manage an outside school hours care (OSHC) service in Leederville was found to have breached the law in relation to the incident, which saw the child left unsupervised, and educators being unaware that he had been left in the vehicle until the child’s father arrived to collect him. The child was inside the locked vehicle unsupervised for about 11 minutes, according to the CCTV footage obtained.    


The maximum temperature on the day was 31.6°C and the vehicle was parked in direct sun.


This outcome should “serve as a warning” to providers in the sector, Catherine Stoddart, Deputy Director General, Governance Integrity and Reform said.


“Being approved to operate an education and care service in Western Australia carries significant responsibilities and obligations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children enrolled at the education and care service.”


“It is important that service providers review their transportation policies, procedures, risk assessments and practices to ensure they are adequate, and that staff – including casual and relief staff- are frequently trained in following these policies and procedures.  


Transportation practices put in place, she continued, “must be robust to protect against human error” and to ensure thorough vehicle checks are undertaken every time.  


“Operators must also have systems in place to monitor that the staff follow the service policies and procedures,” she added. 


For further information about the safe transportation of children in an early childhood education and care (ECEC) context, please see here