New compliance data from NSW
The Sector > Quality > Compliance > NSW Regulatory Authority outlines findings from compliance data review

NSW Regulatory Authority outlines findings from compliance data review

by Freya Lucas

March 13, 2024

The NSW Department of Education, which serves as the regulatory authority in the state, has released compliance data gathered from compliance and monitoring visits, assessment and rating, and via service notifications, sharing its five key regulatory areas that early childhood education and care (ECEC) services should consider as they reflect on ways to enhance their practice throughout the year ahead. 


The data analysis can be used for a number of purposes including to understand service behaviours and practices in relation to the National Quality Framework (NQF), and support operational planning and decision-making within the NSW Regulatory Authority.


The Department also uses the data to develop tailored guidance and resources to support services to better understand their regulatory requirements and drive quality improvement across the sector.


Identified regulatory areas for improvement in 2024 


The Department has identified five aspects of the National Law and Regulations which warrant additional attention from services in 2024, based on experiences in 2023. 


Section 167 (National Law) – Offence relating to protection of children from harm and hazards


Regulation 97 – Emergency and evacuation procedures


Regulation 103 – Premises, furniture and equipment to be safe, clean and in good repair


Regulation 170 – Policies and procedures to be followed


Section 165 (National Law) – Offence to inadequately supervise children


Harm and hazards


  • Section 167 Offence relating to protection of children from harm and hazards.
  • Regulation 103 Premises, furniture and equipment to be safe, clean and in good repair.


“Developing effective and robust risk management processes is essential to creating a culture of children’s safety and wellbeing within your service,” the Department notes. 


“Reflecting on your policies and procedures with service staff is also critical and will help ensure they are current, fit for purpose and in line with requirements under the NQF.”


“Risks in ECEC services are dynamic and require a proactive, coordinated approach. All ECEC professionals play a vital role in identifying, minimising and managing potential risks and hazards in service settings to ensure everyone’s safety.”


The Department has asked services to consider the following questions in reflecting on protecting children from harm and hazard: 

  • How do you engage children in conversations about potential risks or hazards? How are they supported to be proactive in caring for themselves and each other?
  • How have you made your policies and procedures easy to understand, concise, and accessible to staff at all times?
  • How are actions taken resulting from daily safety checks of buildings, equipment and the general service environment communicated with staff?


Emergency preparedness


Having clear emergency management procedures is key to ensuring the health and safety of children, families and staff should an emergency occur.


In NSW, all ECEC services are required to have an emergency management plan (EMP). A well-developed EMP will help service leaders and educators identify possible emergencies that may occur in their setting, the potential impacts, and how to prepare for and respond to these events.


An EMP should detail a service’s emergency response and evacuation procedures and contain a site-specific risk assessment, clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and other critical information staff need to effectively manage emergency incidents and safeguard children, their colleagues and others from harm.


The Department offers the following reflective questions to guide services in this space: 

  • How do you ensure your EMP is up to date (e.g. include updated key contact details)
  • Is your service located in a multistorey building? If so, do your emergency and evacuation procedures meet the updated requirements for multi storey buildings?
  • How are children involved in conversations in preparing for emergencies?
  • How are staff made aware of their roles, responsibilities and required actions during an emergency event? Does this consider all potential emergencies relevant to your service?


Policies and procedures


Under the Education and Care Services National Regulations, approved providers must ensure policies and procedures relating to a range of areas are in place at their service.


Policies and procedures establish a clear understanding of what is expected of staff and standard processes and practices they should implement to support service operations. They ensure consistency in behaviours, practice and quality. When policies and procedures are not followed, risks of harm and hazard may increase.


To be successful in this space, however, services should consider reflecting on policies and procedures with their staff to ensure they are implemented effectively. 


Supervision of children


Effective supervision is pivotal to creating environments where children are safe and supported while in the care of a service, the Department notes. 


Observing and assessing children’s behaviour and the physical and social environment for risks and hazards is just one aspect of effective supervision. It also involves carefully planning rosters to ensure educator ratios are maintained at all times and being responsive to and actively engaging with children to support their learning, agency and wellbeing, among other strategies.


The Department offers the following reflective questions to support: 


  • What are your service’s processes to inform new or relieving educators of the service’s supervision arrangements?


  • How do your educators balance both observing and engaging with children in your service?


  • How do your practices allow educators to complete administrative work, programming tasks or education while maintaining effective supervision?


  • How and when are your supervision practices reviewed, discussed and adjusted to meet changing needs?


To access this coverage in its original format please see here

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