WA calls for services to pay more attention to risk assessment after child is left behind
A five-year-old child who was left behind on school grounds has sparked calls from the Western Australian Regulatory Authority for early childhood education and care (ECEC) services to conduct regular risk assessments to prevent the likelihood of such incidents occurring.
The incident that initiated the calls took place in October 2022, when a child was left behind at the school grounds after initially being collected from his classroom by an ECEC service.
The five-year-old boy returned to his classroom where he was discovered approximately 45 minutes later. The school then informed the service the child was still at school.
The service only became aware that the child was missing after receiving a call from the child’s school, informing them of the matter.
The approved provider, who is an individual sole trader, was ordered to pay $5,000 by the State Administrative Tribunal for contravening section 165(1) of the Education and Care Services National Law (WA) Act 2012 (the National Law), for an offense relating to the inadequate supervision of a child.
The investigation also found the service did not conduct a risk assessment, as required by the regulations, prior to collecting the children. The service also failed to notify the Regulatory Authority within the required timeframe that a serious incident had occurred.
The approved provider has been ordered to pay $1,000 for contravening Section 174(2) of the National Law, for their failure to notify the Regulatory Authority that a serious incident had occurred within the required timeframe. They must also pay a penalty of $1,000 for failing to conduct risk assessments in accordance with regulation 102B(1) and pay a penalty of $1,000 for failing to obtain written authorisation from parents to transport children in accordance with regulation 102D(1) of the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2012.
In response to this original incident and investigation, the Regulatory Authority issued the approved provider with a compliance notice with 30 days to provide evidence of compliance.
The approved provider failed to comply with the compliance notice within the prescribed timeframe and the State Administrative Tribunal ordered the provider to pay a penalty of $3,500 for contravention of section 177(3) of the National Law for failing to comply with a compliance notice.
“Approved providers are reminded of the need for strong governance and to ensure they are compliant with all aspects of the National Law and Regulations,” said Phil Payne, Executive Director, Regulation and Quality, Department of Communities.
“In this case, the provider faced disciplinary action for multiple contraventions of the National Law, and it serves as a reminder to the sector and highlights the importance of strong governance by approved providers.”
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