Compliance and monitoring

As the state’s Regulatory Authority for children’s services in NSW, the Department of Education monitors services and providers’ compliance with legislation and approval conditions.

Our first priority is the safety, health and wellbeing of children attending early childhood education and care services across NSW. We aim to address non-compliance swiftly and ensure that appropriate remediation action is taken.

The majority of early childhood education and care services voluntarily operate in compliance with their regulatory requirements however for a small proportion who do not, the Regulatory Authority will intervene.

The Regulatory Authority employs authorised officers to undertake compliance and monitoring – their powers are established in the National Law.

For more information on compliance and monitoring, read the regulatory authority powers section of ACECQA’s Guide to the NQF.

Compliance is monitored through various means that may be proactive or reactive.

Proactive Compliance Monitoring

The Department of Education undertakes proactive compliance monitoring of services to assess whether these services are complying with the National Law. We aim to visit every service every year.

We also use data analysis to identify emerging issues and this informs our approach to proactive monitoring.

Complaints and notifications

The Department of Education receives notifications from service providers and complaints directly from the public. All complaints and notifications are reviewed and, where necessary, followed up with a visit or full investigation.

You can read more about complaints handling, as well as how to submit a complaint on our Feedback and Complaints page.

Monitoring compliance as part of quality ratings assessments

Assessments conducted for quality assessment and rating purposes are also used by authorised officers to identify areas of potential non-compliance.

Officers provide advice to service providers on matters that need to be addressed to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. They will also issue compliance actions when needed. Officers will also work with service providers to examine opportunities for quality improvements at the service.

Investigations following identification of compliance matters

The Department’s authorised officers investigate reported or detected breaches of legislation to determine further compliance and enforcement action.

During an investigation, authorised officers gather evidence of the incident or alleged breach to establish whether an offence has occurred, the severity of the offence, and the identity of those who may be responsible.

Investigative powers are conducted in line with the Children (Education and Care Services) National Law (NSW), Education and Care Services National Regulations and Regulatory Authority policies. For more information, go to Investigation process.

Addressing non-compliance

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to non-compliance. When an instance of non-compliance is identified, it is evaluated to determine the most appropriate response. This involves assessing the level of risk to children as a result of the non-compliance as well as other factors such as the provider’s attitude to compliance, history of non-compliance, and whether the breach is intentional or not. If appropriate and where possible, on the spot guided compliance will be undertaken to support the service to rectify the matter immediately.

Taking into account these factors, and in keeping with our guiding principles, appropriate and proportionate compliance action may be taken.

These include but are not limited to:

  • cautions
  • compliance directions
  • compliance notices
  • emergency action notices
  • show cause notices to cancel a service or provider approval, for the most serious cases.

Any action taken by the Regulatory Authority will aim to ensure that, where possible, the non-compliance is rectified and any resulting impacts or risk to children are minimised. The sanction applied will reflect the seriousness of the incident and act as a deterrent to the service/provider involved, as well as more broadly to the sector.

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